Trump Says He'll Keep Base in Iraq to 'Watch Iran'

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ISIS militants have lost territory since Trump's surprise announcement in December that he was pulling US forces out of Syria, but a Defence Department watchdog report released Monday warns the fighters could regroup within six months to a year after the Americans leave. "Our boys, our young women, our men, they're all coming back and they're coming back now".

"There's a difference. When President Obama pulled out of Iraq, in theory, we had Iraq".

A number of lawmakers, including Republicans, opposed the president's decision.

'I was not consulted, ' Votel said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

U.S.is seeking to broker an agreement that prevents Turkey from following through on its threats to launch a full-scale military offensive against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria.

"Certainly we are aware that he has expressed a desire and an intent in the past to depart Syria", he said, adding that "I was not consulted".

The Pentagon is now wrestling with questions on how the pullout can be handled, including what the USA can do to help protect its Kurdish partners and maintain the 79-member global coalition aimed at eradicating ISIS.

"A broad consensus about American leadership in the world exists in this body".

The Islamic State group "remains a potent force of battle-hardened and well-disciplined fighters that "could likely resurge in Syria" absent continued counterterrorism pressure", the report from the inspector general said. Previously, the group was in control of vast swathes of Iraq and Syria, an area roughly the size of Britain.

Trump is in an ongoing feud with the USA intelligence community, which last week warned IS can quickly rebuild into a cohesive force in any vacuum left in the war-torn country. But figures from the US military and a United Nations agency have ranged between 20,000 and 32,000 - though officials have acknowledged lacking confidence in their estimates.

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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 United States and Iran. "So we never had Syria", Trump said in the interview.

We've been there for 19 years, almost, we are fighting very well.

If the SDF strikes a deal with Damascus following the United States withdrawal, Shoebridge said, "the Syrian government could fill that vacuum, and continue with their very successful campaign against ISIS themselves".

For the first time since he became U.S. president nearly two years ago, Trump paid a surprise visit to American troops in Iraq on December 26. I mean, I was there recently, and I couldn't believe the money that was spent on these massive runways.

"So when my intelligence people tell me how wonderful Iran is - if you don't mind, I'm going to just go by my own counsel". "And it's there. And we'll be there".

It is unclear whether Trump's triumphant tone will echo the warnings coming from different parts of his administration, including Votel's Central Command and the USA military. There are few USA troops on the ground actually fighting or providing targeting information.

Trump cited the high cost in blood and money after years of fighting in Afghanistan, in arguing for a USA withdrawal from the place where the 9/11 attacks were hatched. US forces train and advise the group.

But U.S. troops have no right to do that, said Iraqi President Barham Salih, adding that Trump's comments were "surprising".

The report debunked the widely circulated estimate - from June 2018 - that IS had up to 17,000 fighters in Iraq and up to 14,000 in Syria, calling it questionable even at the time.

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