Trump Says He'll Keep Base in Iraq to 'Watch Iran'


Some of the forces moving out of Syria will go to Iraq, where they can monitor any resurgence of Islamic State or other militant group and "ultimately some will be coming home", Mr Trump said.

"We have to protect Israel", he told CBS News's Margaret Brennan on Sunday.

During the withdrawal, "We should expect that they [ISIS fighters] will attempt to attack us and regenerate themselves, and we will continue to put pressure on them to prevent that", Votel said.

"This is what a lot of people don't understand", added Trump."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".

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", he said. "We might as well keep it", he said, referring to the Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq that he visited in December past year.

Trump is expected to discuss foreign policy in the address to a joint session of Congress, including declaring the Islamic State militant group all but defeated.

Lawmakers on the committee anxious that ISIS fighters will wait out the U.S., and when asked for the strategy to maintain pressure and protect Kurdish forces who battled the Islamic State alongside the U.S., Votel reassured lawmakers both were priorities.

"We do have to keep pressure on this network", Voted told senators.

Votel was asked at Tuesday's hearing whether he was asked for his advice about a Syria withdrawal before Trump announced his decision.

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He said U.S. forces could be deployed again if there is a resurgence of militant groups like al-Qaeda.

He said US troops were in Iraq as part of an agreement between the two countries with a specific mission of assisting in the fight against the Islamic State group and combatting "terrorism".

"As I read it, it recognizes. his effort for us to examine exactly what we are doing in these places", Risch said.

U.S. forces invaded Iraq in 2003, and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Abadi added that the USA participation in the anti-Islamic State global coalition is mainly meant to serve the purposes of logistic support, intelligence and military training, not to endanger Iraqi sovereignty.

Separately, the U.S. called on nations around the world to take back their citizens who fought for Islamic State and are now being held by the SDF in Syria.

USA officials have said Trump was also in the "process of evaluating" whether to withdraw some troops from Afghanistan, where they have been since 2001.

Trump did not meet any Iraqi officials during his three-hour stay there. The base hosts American troops but belongs to the Iraqi army.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said at the time that the American president's visit had broken conditions set by Baghdad. Abdullah said that, despite this, the partial withdrawal of USA -led foreign forces would not spell the end of the world for Afghanistan.