USA general 'not consulted' before Trump's Syria pull-out decision

USA general 'not consulted' before Trump's Syria pull-out decision

USA general 'not consulted' before Trump's Syria pull-out decision

Votel said he was not under pressure to withdraw us troops from Syria "by a specific date" and had not "had any specific conditions" placed on him.

"Memories of occupation are still fresh, and we're rubbing salt on that", Douglas Ollivant, a former National Security Council director for Iraq, told Al-Monitor.

United States President Donald Trump says he wants American forces to stay in Iraq in order to keep an eye on Iran.

Trump is under pressure from his allies and critics to walk back his decision to pull out of Syria because of the threat it leaves Kurdish allies exposed to and because of the need to ensure ISIS is fully defeated before easing up the military pressure.

Iraq's president on Monday criticized Donald Trump for saying he wants to keep USA troops in Iraq "to watch Iran", saying the US leader did not ask Iraq's permission to do so.

President Trump's plans to pull United States troops out of Syria were dealt another blow by the Senate last night after it voted overwhelmingly to oppose the withdrawal.

"He didn't ask Iraq about this", Salih said Monday.

Trump last month claimed the Islamic State jihadist group had been defeated in Syria and said all U.S. troops were "coming back now".

Mr Saleh noted that under 2008 US-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement, Washington had agreed not to use Iraq "as a launching or transit point for attacks against other countries".

Trump's December decision to leave Syria, shocked USA allies and led to the resignations of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Brett McGurk, the top envoy to the anti-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) coalition.

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On Monday, several Iraqi officials and politicians said the effort to expel the USA forces is gaining momentum following Trump's comments during a CBS interview.

US President Donald Trump speaks at a hanger rally at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, on December 26, 2018.

The proposed bill also enoys the support of Iranian-backed blocs in the parliament, The New Arab reported in December but pressure from the prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has so far blocked it, as he tries to balance Baghdad's relations with its two rival allies, the USA and Iran.

Iraqi President Barham Salih said on Monday that President Donald Trump did not ask Iraq's permission for USA troops stationed there to "watch Iran". "It's perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up", he added.

He appeared to be referring to the Al-Asad air base in western Iraq, where he paid a brief visit to US forces in December.

Opponents included every senator considering a 2020 presidential run, and four Republicans, who said US foreign policy needs a rethink.

Pro-Iran politicians with strong Shiite militia backing have pledged to push out US forces through legislation passed by Iraq's parliament, but they have increasingly expressed a willingness for armed confrontation.

"We are adjusting our military posture in Syria, planning and executing a deliberate, safe and professional withdrawal of personnel and equipment while preserving sufficient power in the region", Votel said.

American forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011, but returned in 2014 to help tackle the Daesh terror group, which had taken control of a significant portion of the country. A US -led coalition provided crucial air support as Iraqi forces regrouped and drove IS out in a costly three-year campaign.

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