President hits back at Trump over United States presence

Iraqi President

Pentagon: ISIS will regain ground in Syria when US troops leave and will play troop withdrawal as a 'victory'

The commander of US forces in the Middle East, Central Command's Gen. Joseph Votel, told lawmakers during a hearing Tuesday that however USA forces left, it would be "deliberate".

The move has received bipartisan pushback from officials and politicians who have feared an ISIS resurgence and growing Iranian influence in the region, but Trump said there were only "remnants" of the group left and, while "remnants can be very unsafe", he looked forward to welcoming usa troops home. "It does have certain components that are still left in it, although they are dispersed and disaggregated they have the capability of coming back together if we don't", Votel said.

"We spent a fortune on building this incredible base", Trump said.

Gen. Joseph Votel, the top military officer in charge of operations in the Middle East, told Senate lawmakers Tuesday he wasn't consulted before President Donald Trump announced a USA withdrawal from Syria. Trump recently insisted he wants to keep troops in neighbouring Iraq in order to "watch Iran".

The position has both attracted and alienated lawmakers from both parties, highlighted when the Senate passed a Middle East policy bill Tuesday that urged Trump not to precipitously withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan.


"I began this evening by honoring three soldiers who fought on D-Day in the Second World War", Trump continued.

Claiming that he had now liberated more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria, that were once controlled by the militant Islamic State group, Trump declared: "It is time to give our fearless warriors in Syria a warm welcome home".

The Republican Jewish Coalition, by contrast, said Trump's choices for guests sent clear and welcome messages.

Since 2014, coalition members have provided more than $20bn support in Iraq and Syria. During Wednesday's meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Pompeo said the Islamic State remains a menace.

"Certainly it is a very significant humanitarian disaster in Yemen but I do believe departing from our partners there removes the leverage that we have to continue to influence them, which I think we have used in a positive manner and I think it further endangers Americans in the region", Votel said.


In a CBS interview on Wednesday morning, taped after the president's speech, Pence defended the pullout and remarks he made hours after an attack on American forces, in which he'd claimed that ISIS had been devestated.

"Rest assured, we'll do what it takes to defeat every ounce and every last person within the ISIS madness and defend our people from radical Islamic terrorism", he said.

Iraqi officials, as well, are asking for assistance.

Although Iraq declared victory over IS more than a year ago, the country's security forces continue to battle pockets of resistance across the country, sometimes with the help of coalition airstrikes.

Mr Pompeo also held a morning meeting with the Coalition's Small Group that includes Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He reaffirmed his pledge to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan and Syria, sought praise for undoing the Iran nuclear deal, suspending a missiles treaty with Russian Federation and for opening dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.


Iraq's president hit back at Donald Trump Monday for saying USA troops should stay in Iraq to keep an eye on Iran, saying the U.S. leader did not ask for Iraq's permission to do so.

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