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Performing Pentagon chief visits Baghdad to assist Iraq, talk about Syria withdrawal

Acting Pentagon chief visits Baghdad to support Iraq, discuss Syria withdrawal


Performing Pentagon chief visits Baghdad to assist Iraq, talk about Syria withdrawal

© Reuters/IDREES ALI
Performing U.S. protection secretary Patrick Shanahan arrives in Kabul

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Performing U.S. Protection Secretary Patrick Shanahan arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday for an unannounced go to throughout which he stated he would stress the significance of Iraqi sovereignty and broach the problem of the way forward for U.S. troops there.

President Donald Trump stated this month {that a} U.S. presence was wanted to watch Iran, which might overstep the U.S.-led coalition’s acknowledged mission in Iraq and Syria of defeating Islamic State.

“We’re in Iraq on the invitation of the federal government and our pursuits are to construct Iraqi safety functionality,” Shanahan informed reporters touring with him on his first journey to Iraq.

“I need to hear first-hand from them about issues, the political dynamics that they’re going through after which primarily based on that we are going to clearly issue that into our planning.”

Shanahan is to fulfill leaders together with Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and also will talk about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria with U.S. commanders.

Trump prompted anger in Baghdad this month when he stated it was vital to maintain a U.S. army presence in Iraq in order that Washington might hold an in depth eye on Iran “as a result of Iran is an actual drawback.”

Iraq is in a troublesome place as tensions between its two largest allies, the US and Iran, improve.

Trump’s feedback prompted nearly common criticism from Iraq’s leaders together with Abdul Mahdi and raised questions in regards to the long-term presence of some 5,200 U.S. troops within the nation 16 years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The troops are there as a part of an settlement with Baghdad with a selected mission of combating terrorism, and they need to stick with that, Iraqi President Barham Salih stated after Trump’s feedback.

Iran-aligned politicians in Iraq’s parliament used the uproar to reiterate their demand that the U.S. mission in Iraq be restricted and troop numbers decreased.

Requested whether or not U.S. troops in Syria may very well be moved to Iraq, Shanahan stated he could be having conversations on these matters throughout his go to.

U.S. Military Common Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Central Command, stated on Monday he didn’t consider Washington would broadly improve general troop numbers in Iraq.


Throughout a visit to Iraq in December, through which he didn’t meet any Iraqi leaders, Trump stated the US had spent a “fortune” on the Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq and will maintain on to it.

He had earlier introduced he was pulling all 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria, a choice that surprised allies and partially led to the resignation of former protection secretary James Mattis.

Trump additionally stated he anticipated a proper announcement as early as this week that the coalition preventing Islamic State had reclaimed all of the territory the militant group had held in Syria.

Shanahan stayed away from predicting a timeline as a result of climate and the presence of civilians might have an effect on it.

U.S.-led coalition warplanes hit a few of Islamic State’s final positions in jap Syria on Monday as U.S.-backed fighters launched into pressed an offensive.

Like most senior U.S. intelligence and army officers, Shanahan stated an Islamic State resurgence was a danger except there was a sustained effort.

“The observe on, the assist to safety, that is the place we actually look to the coalition companions,” he stated.

The group was declared defeated in Iraq in 2017, however continues to wage small-scale rebel assaults in some areas.

The U.S. army has already began withdrawing gear from Syria.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali; enhancing by John Stonestreet)

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