The mash-up in Northern Syria has the US troops packing up and heading to bases in Northwestern Iraq…..
Trump said the troops would be coming home and word came out they would be stationed in Iraq waiting for the situation in Syria to do something (no one is quiet sure what that is)……
There is one problem with troops headed to a base in Iraq……
A few days after sending US troops out of Syria into neighboring Iraq, and the Pentagon announcing those troops would remain in western Iraq, Defense Secretary Mark Esper has now confirmed that won’t actually be happening at all.
The plan was to shift them from eastern Syria to western Iraq, up until the point when the Iraqi government actually heard about it. The Iraqi government has issued a subsequent statement saying the US never asked if the troops could stay, and that by the way, they can’t. The troops can come to Iraq for transit out of the region, so they’ll be coming home after all.
This was a problem that should’ve been obvious during the transition. The US presence in Iraq is increasingly controversial, and while the exact US troop numbers in Iraq are classified, it’s known that it’s well above the “cap” negotiated with Iraq already, even before those extra troops started showing up.
There was no way the Abdul Mahdi government could afford politically to accept more US troops, particularly when they just started wandering in from Syria without permission. How long they’ll be in Iraq isn’t clear, but it’s not a permanent deployment.
This will complicate the ability of the US to reverse the pullout if they eventually decide to, though with at least 200 US troops staying put in Syria anyhow, that may matter less.
Well someone just crapped on Trump’s falsehood parade…..looks like those troops cannot stay in Iraq and the Iraqi government wants ALL US troops out of the country….
Iraqi officials are very publicly unhappy at US troops just showing up in Western Iraq without permission. Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi says that Iraq intends to take “all international legal measures” over the matter, and called on the international community and UN to “perform their roles in this matter.”
Iraqi DM Najah Shammari suggested it was sorted after his meeting with Esper, saying that the unwelcome US troops are going to all be out of Iraq within the next four weeks.
The US troop presence in Iraq has long been controversial, and more US troops crossing in from Syria unbidden sparked a lot of annoyance from a government that’s already struggling to keep anti-government protests in check.
That Iraq has so publicly rebuked the US about the troops underscores what bad timing this was, and while officials are emphaasizing a four week deadline, even that seems a bit much, considering this is a relatively small US deployment.
Iraq is once again headed for the headlines of the evening news….is it just bolster or is it serious?
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