Saturday, 23 February, 2019

CENTCOM chief says Trump did not consult him on Syria withdrawal declaration

Donald Trump will keep troops in Iraq to 'watch Iran' Walking back Syria withdrawal, Trump cites need to watch Iran, 'protect' Israel
Andrew Cummings | 06 February, 2019, 02:48

Kurdish MP Sarkawt Shams tweeted that the mission of United States troops in Iraq was "to help Iraqi security forces against terrorism, not "watching" others".

"All I want to do is be able to watch", Trump told "Face the Nation" anchor Margaret Brennan.

Iraq's constitution stipulates that its territory will not be used to commit transgressions against any other nation, deputy parliament speaker Hassan Karim al-Kaabi pointed out, adding that the parliament will work on legislation to kick USA troops out.

U.S. forces, whose exact numbers and locations in Iraq are not publicised, have also had run-ins with Iranian-backed Shia militias in the country, including over the weekend, and pro-Iran militias have threatened to target American forces in Iraq if they do not pull out soon.

The top commander of USA forces in the Middle East, General Joseph Votel, told a Senate committee on Tuesday that he was not asked for his advice about a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria before President Donald Trump announced his decision.

"I want to be able to watch Iran", the President said in response to a question about whether the troops will be kept in Iraq in view of a potential military strike against Iran.

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".

The U.S. began the process of pulling out earlier this month, when it hauled vehicles and equipment from northeast Syria into neighboring Iraq. "We won", the president said in a video posted on Twitter.

A top USA general warned on Tuesday that Islamic State would pose an enduring threat following a planned US withdrawal from Syria, saying the militant group retained leaders, fighters, facilitators and resources that will fuel a menacing insurgency.

More Rain This Week, Icy Wednesday
To the south, rain showers will wind down, with a chance of snow showers on the back edge of the precipitation before ending. Tuesday , however, is expected to see sunny skies and a forecast high of 5 C - eight degrees warmer than on Monday.

European Union nations get behind Venezuela's Juan Guaido as acting president
Over the weekend, he called on the army to allow in humanitarian aid from the United States via neighboring Colombia and Brazil. Most Lima Group members have said Maduro should quit in favour of Guaido and have called for a new election.

Eden Hazard full of praise for Gonzalo Higuain
When Kovacic got ready to come on in the 70th minute, most inside Stamford Bridge thought the same thing - "Barkley will be off". He's a bit less of a target man than [Olivier] Giroud, but he can hold the ball, he can play one touches.

Of U.S. troop activities, Votel said they are focused on liberating remaining ISIS territory in Syria, along the Iraq border-but affirmed U.S. troops are not "kicking in doors", but supplying artillery and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support.

"I was not consulted", the general said.

Qais al-Khazali, a powerful PMF leader known for his anti-American sentiment, told Associated Press last week that he expects the Iraqi parliament to vote in favor of USA troops withdrawal in coming months.

The president defended his decision in December to withdraw troops from Syria but refused to provide a timetable for the pullout, which drew criticism from members of his own Republican Party and concerns among some allies. And I think that they will- I think they're exhausted and, I think everybody's exhausted.

General Joseph Votel, the four-star Army commander who heads U.S. Central Command, made the disclosure Tuesday during an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the withdrawal orders. "We can come back very quickly".

The United States could rely heavily on intelligence work in Afghanistan, he said, and respond to developments in Syria from USA bases in neighbouring Iraq.

According to Sky News, Salih said, "Don't overburden Iraq with your own issues".

"We spent a fortune on building this incredible base", Trump said.

A variety of Iraqi lawmakers used Trump's visit to the al-Asad base in December to call on USA forces to leave the country. Iran has been deepening its influence in Iraq since the U.S.'s 2003 invasion.

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