Top Pentagon official in Iraq to discuss US troop presence

The top Pentagon official arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday to consult with American army commanders and Iraqi authorities leaders on the longer term U.S. troop presence in Iraq.

Pat Shanahan, the appearing secretary defense, stated before his unannounced journey that he needed to listen to first-hand concerning the state of Iraq’s struggle towards remnants of the Islamic State group. Shanahan, who is on his first visit to Iraq, can also be to satisfy with Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

In remarks to reporters after leaving Washington on Sunday, Shanahan declined to say whether or not he would propose that further U.S. special operations troops be delivered to Iraq to, in effect, compensate for a pullout from Syria to start inside weeks.

The U.S. has about 5,200 troops in Iraq to train and advise its safety forces, 16 years after the U.S. invaded to topple Saddam Hussein.

President Donald Trump upset Iraqis by saying earlier this month that U.S. forces should use their Iraqi positions to regulate neighboring Iran. That isn’t the said U.S. mission in Iraq, and Iraqi officials have stated Trump’s proposal would violate the Iraqi constitution.

Trump also has angered Iraqi politicians by arguing that he would maintain U.S. troops in Iraq and use the country as a base from which to strike extremists in Syria if mandatory, after the two,000 troops now in Syria depart in coming weeks.

Curbing overseas affect has grow to be successful-button problem in Iraq after parliamentary elections final yr by which Shiite politicians backed by Iran made vital positive factors. In the meantime, Shiite militias that fought alongside U.S.-backed Iraqi government troops towards IS in recent times, gained outsized influence along the best way.

This political rigidity shaped the backdrop to Shanahan’s go to, which marks his first time in Iraq. He took over because the appearing Pentagon chief after Jim Mattis resigned as defense secretary in December. It is unclear whether or not Trump will nominate Shanahan for Senate affirmation.

On Monday, Shanahan was in Afghanistan, the place he met with U.S. troops and President Ashraf Ghani amid a U.S. push for peace talks with the Taliban. Trump has indicated he want to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan after 18 years of conflict, but Shanahan stated he has no orders for a troop drawdown.

Although Afghanistan is America’s longest warfare, preventing in Iraq has taken a heavier toll on American lives. President Barack Obama pulled troops out of Iraq in December 2011 however sent them again in smaller numbers in 2014 after the Islamic State group swept throughout the border from Syria and took management of much of western and northern Iraq.

Because the peak of its self-proclaimed caliphate that included a third of both Iraq and Syria, IS-held territory has now shrunk to a sliver of territory in japanese Syria where remaining Islamic State militants are preventing back.

Trump has not publicly referred to as for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, though he typically calls the 2003 invasion a colossal mistake and has stated the U.S. ought to have taken Iraq’s oil as compensation for eliminating Saddam.

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