USA to stay in Iraq to 'watch Iran'

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"We won", the president said in a video posted on Twitter.

"I was not aware of the specific announcement", Central Command commander Gen. Joseph Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The resolution was sponsored by the Republican leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell, who said last week the measure "would acknowledge the plain fact that Al-Qaeda, ISIS and their affiliates in Syria and Afghanistan continue to pose a serious threat to our nation".

"Talking about US military bases in Iraq for the purposes of confrontation complicates the relationship with neighboring countries", he said in a statement, adding that it also undermines Iraq's independence.

"I'll leave intelligence there and if I see nests forming, I'll do something about it", he said.

Sabah al-Saadi, a member of parliament in the bloc led by influential anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, has proposed a bill demanding a US pullout.


The US has been leading a coalition to crush the Islamic State group which grabbed swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, and multiple offensives have since ousted the militants from all but a sliver of territory in eastern Syria. But ISIS has expanded and established cells around the world, and routinely mounts attacks in Syria, such as the January 16 suicide bombing that killed four Americans at a restaurant in Manbij.

He added that territory under Isis control had been reduced to less than 20 sq miles (5,180 hectares) and would be recaptured by US-backed forces prior to the U.S. withdrawal, which he said would be carried out in a "deliberate and coordinated manner".

"ISIS remains an active insurgent group in both Iraq and Syria", the command wrote.

"The fight against ISIS and violent extremists is not over and our mission has not changed", Votel said.

"The Iraqi constitution rejects the use of Iraq as a base for hitting or attacking a neighbouring country", President Barham Saleh said. A United Nations report published that same month made a similar assessment. But figures from the USA military and a United Nations agency have ranged between 20,000 and 32,000 - though officials have acknowledged lacking confidence in their estimates.

'We do have to keep pressure on this network.


The highly respected Votel, former head of the Joint Special Operations Command, also appears to be at odds with Trump on the resiliency of ISIS and the terror group's ability to surge again once US troops leave.

Trump's comments come in the face of warnings by USA intelligence chiefs that a precipitous United States withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria could allow a resurgence by Al-Qaeda and IS.

We've been there for 19 years, almost, we are fighting very well. "We can come back very quickly".

"If the Americans try to bring more troops to Iraq, there will be an escalation in the opposition to them", Jawad al-Musawi, a member of Iraq's Parliament, told The New York Times. I mean, I was there recently, and I couldn't believe the money that was spent on these massive runways.

He told CBS he would be open to keeping a small number of troops there as well as intelligence operations to monitor for "nests" of militant activity, according to the interview taped on Friday. "And it's there. And we'll be there".

"There is no USA base in Iraq", he said.


Ridwan al-Anzi, the deputy head of PMF's Nineveh Operations, claimed the US troops ended their survey operation after the PMF warned them and blocked the road leading into the Presidential Palace area.

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