Portuguese / Spanish / English

Middle East Near You

US forces return to Baghdad

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) and his wife Susan (R) are welcomed by US ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman (2nd-L) as they arrive in Baghdad, during a Middle East tour, on 9 January 2019. [ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images]
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) and his wife Susan (R) are welcomed by US ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman (2nd-L) as they arrive in Baghdad, during a Middle East tour, on 9 January 2019. [ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images]

Iraqis in the capital Baghdad said US army forces have been walking around the city accompanied by the Iraqi army, Al-Khaleej Online reported.

US forces withdrew from the country in 2011 following an agreement with the Iraqi government, but maintained specific forces in special military positions.

The developments come after US President Donald Trump visited a US military base in western Iraq in December last year.

Hussein Al-Fadhli, who lives east of Baghdad, said a US army force accompanied by units of the Iraqi army toured the region, stressing that the American force “was looking for militia leaders”.

US forces invaded Iraq in 2003, and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein.

READ: Shia leader threatens of ‘expelling US troops by force’ from Iraq 

Yesterday, US President Donald Trump said it was important to keep a US military presence in Iraq so that Washington can keep a close eye on Iran, according to a CBS interview.

Trump said the United States spent a fortune on a base in Iraq. “We might as well keep it. One of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem,” he said.

In response, Iraqi President Barham Salih said today that Trump did not ask Iraq’s permission for US troops stationed there to “watch Iran”.

US troops in Iraq are there as part of an agreement between the two countries with a specific mission of combating terrorism, Salih said, and that they should stick to that.

“Don’t overburden Iraq with your own issues,” Salih said. “The US is a major power … but do not pursue your own policy priorities, we live here.”

“It is of fundamental interest for Iraq to have good relations with Iran” and other neighbouring countries, Salih said.

Categories
IranIraqMiddle EastNewsUS
Show Comments
Show Comments