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article imageTrump wants to make a substantial withdrawal of troops from Iraq

By Ken Hanly     Aug 20, 2020 in Politics
On Thursday :President Trump said to reporters that he intended to withdraw substantial US troops from Iraq as soon as possible saying that the US will leave shortly.
Not likely that all troops will be withdrawn soon
Trump claimed he never liked the Iraq War and said that Iraq had to run its own country. However, unlike the comments of some reporters many officials want at least a small number of troops to remain as is planned in Afghanistan although a Taliban US agreement requires all US and allied troops be withdrawn by next May 1.
Mike Pompeo the US Secretary of State wants the lowest level of US troops in Iraq as soon as possible. The US has been helping fight ISIS but also wants to have a presence in Iraq to counter Iran.
Trump's comments come as Iraqi PM visits the US
The Iraqi parliament some time ago passed a motion that US and allied troops should withdraw from the country. At the time Trump had objected to the demand and even threatened sanctions against Iraq should the US be forced to leave. However, it seems that the US is now realizing that ISIS is almost defeated and there is little sense in a large US troop presence in the country.
CENTCOM commander meets with Iraqi PM
Marine General Frank McKenzie, the commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) Met on Tuesday with the new Iraqi PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi. He said after the meeting that he believes the Iraqis welcome the US and coalition troops especially in the fight against Islamic State militants (ISIS). This view conflicts with the Iraqi parliament's motion that the US and allied troops should withdraw.. McKenzie said to a small group of reporters: "I believe that going forward, they're going to want us to be with them. I don't sense there's a mood right now for us to depart precipitously. And I'm pretty confident of that."
McKenzie also said: "Certainly we need some foreign presence in Iraq. I don't know that it needs to be as big as it is now, because ultimately that's going to be a political, not a military, decision. But I think the Iraqis know, welcome and value what we do for them now."
Background
The U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, but troops left in 2011. American forces returned to Iraq in 2014, after ISIS began taking over large areas of the country, At present there are between 5,000 and 6,000 US troops still in Iraq.
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