Trump’s Comments on ‘Watching Iran’ Confuse Pentagon, Anger Iraq

Iraqi President: US has no permission to use Iraq to watch anyone

Already backing away from withdrawing from Syria and Afghanistan, President Trump really raised a lot of questions with his quotes over the weekend on Iraq. Trump insisted that US troops “might as well” stay in Iraq and that they’d use it to “watch Iran.”

This puzzled a lot of administration officials. The Pentagon said no one told them the mission for the troops in Iraq was ever changed to watching Iran. The State Department says that the troops aren’t watching Iran at all, and that troops are in Iraq out of respect for “mutual sovereignty.”

The Iraqi government is already having some trouble with US views of their sovereignty, and these comments aren’t helping. President Barham Salih warned that Iraq had never given US troops in their country permission to watch anybody.

Other Iraqi officials concurred, saying that they would not allow Iraq to be used as a staging area for moves against a neighbor, and that the US should not “overburden Iraq with your own issues.”

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.