Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of US forces in the Mideast, said Tuesday that President Donald Trump did not consult him before announcing December 19 that he was ordering the withdrawal of the estimated 2,000 usa troops in Syria.
Iraqi President Barham Salih on Monday rejected a plan floated by President Trump that calls for keeping USA forces in Iraq to "watch" neighboring Iran, saying the United States should not burden Iraq with its own "policy priorities".
Iraqi President Barham Salih said on Monday that President Donald Trump did not ask Iraq's permission for USA troops stationed there to "watch Iran".
The commander of US Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, said Tuesday he "was not consulted" prior to President Donald Trump's December announcement that the US would withdraw its troops from Syria.
The jihadists retain control a pocket of about 20 square miles (50 square kilometers) in the Middle Euphrates River Valley in eastern Syria, according to Votel.
Trump's Syria withdrawal has also fueled rare, vocal opposition from within his own Republican party. Trump, who has called Iran a top USA security threat, backed out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May while reinstituting economic sanctions that had been lifted as part of the deal.
The US could rely heavily on intelligence work in Afghanistan, he said, and respond to developments in Syria from US bases in neighbouring Iraq. "He's humiliating the Iraqi government because they don't recognize the United States presence as being a presence to monitor a neighboring country, and they humiliate the Iraqi government in the eyes of Iraqis who do not want their country occupied by Americans".
"We'll come back if we have to", Trump said. The militias fought alongside USA -backed Iraqi troops against IS in recent years, gaining outsized influence and power along the way.More news: Super Bowl Odds: Vegas Makes Chiefs Favorites to Win Super Bowl LIV
"We have very fast airplanes, we have very good cargo planes".
Iraq's deputy parliament speaker quickly responded to Trump's comments, saying the American president had committed a "blatant and overt violation of sovereignty and national will" by declaring the United States would use Iraqi soil to spy on neighbours. "We're going to be watching, and watching closely".
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.
Abu Jaffar al-Shabaki, the head of PMF's 30th Brigade, in a press conference Saturday said the US troops were surveying Mosul city and filming neighborhoods with video recorders.
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.
Salih's remarks came in response to Trump's Sunday interview with CBS News's Face the Nation, in which the president said USA troops would remain in Iraq indefinitely and would be used to surveil Iran and its activity in the region.
Despite Trump's order to withdraw, American officials maintain that the goal remains the "enduring defeat" of the Islamic State group and are moving ahead with a long-planned meeting of top diplomats from the 79-member US -led anti-IS coalition this week. But he added that he and others in the high command knew in general terms of Trump's "desire and intent in the past to depart Iraq, depart Syria".