Contrary to Syria and Afghanistan where US President Donald Trump has called for the withdrawal of US troops, he plans to keep U.S. military forces in Iraq to keep a “watch” on Iran.
In a “Face the Nation” interview aired on CBS on Sunday he said, ‘I want to be able to watch Iran…We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq. It’s perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up. And this is what a lot of people don’t understand.’
Trump refuted the claims, that US is wanting to keep troops in Iraq to launch a potential strike on Iran. Referring to the Al Asad air base where US and Iraqi air forces are stationed, he said, ‘All I want to do is be able to watch…because Iran is a real problem.” Hinting at the suspicion that Iran might create nuclear weapons, Trump added, ‘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.’
Trump’s decision to keep an eye on Iran contradicts the US Intelligence assessment of Iran which says that the Islamic nation is not involved in nuclear activities. On Wednesday he slammed the US Intelligence Community report by tweeting, “The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran…They are wrong!”
Trump has been wary of Iran’s notorious tendencies and he pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed stringent economic sanctions on the country.
Trump said that fifteen years ago also US intelligence services miscalculated that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
“Guess what? Those intel people didn’t know what they were doing, and they got us tied up in a war that we should have never been in,” he said.
“And we’ve spent seven trillion dollars in the Middle East and we have lost lives.”
Despite Iraqi law makers demanding the withdrawal of US forces, Trump made his stance clear that he has “no plans at all” to remove the more than 5,000 US troops currently in Iraq.