Iraqi president says Trump did not ask permission to 'watch Iran'

Trump wants to keep US military in Iraq to 'watch' Iran

In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, President Donald Trump specifically signalled his readiness to keep U.S. troops in Iraq in order to monitor Iran.

The Iraqi leader, speaking at a forum in Baghdad, said usa troops in the country are there as part of an agreement between the two countries with a specific mission of combating "terrorism".

Salih also said it in Iraq's "fundamental interest to develop good relations with our neighbors, including Iran".

Iraq's president resoundingly dismissed Trump's idea of a USA vigil on his country's border, stating he had not asked for permission to "watch Iran".

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet the military at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, on December 26, 2018. "It's perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up".

"Talking about US military bases in Iraq for the purposes of confrontation complicates the relationship with neighboring countries", he said in a statement, adding that it also undermines Iraq's independence.

Trump announced in December that the 2,000 USA troops in Syria would be withdrawn on the grounds that Islamic State militants no longer pose a threat.

Asked if that meant he wanted to be able to strike against Iran, Trump said, "No, because I want to be able to watch Iran". Moreover, the power vacuum caused by the departure of US troops in Syria could be filled by ISIS or al-Qaeda in Syria or Iraq, according to USA intelligence chiefs.

At present, approximately 5,200 United States troops are now based in Iraq.

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Trump also said that he requested former defense secretary, James Mattis, resign due to his displeasure with how Mattis handled Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Don't overburden Iraq with your own issues", Salih said of the US' growing tensions with Iran.

And, he said if al Qaeda and other terrorist groups grew in strength, US forces would return to the region.

In both Syria and Iraq, local forces remain heavily reliant on support from the US -led coalition, the report said.

He blamed the intelligence services for America's involvement in Iraq.

Trump's comments on Sunday have added to mounting concerns among both opponents and supporters of an American troop presence in Iraq. The report said that when US troops withdraw, it is "unclear what would occur with the Manbij agreement".

"We're going to keep watching and we're going to keep seeing and if there's trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we're going to know it before they do", he asserted.

American troops have been based in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion, which toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. "Every single one of them was caused by the number one terrorist nation in the world, which is Iran", Trump said.

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