Trump: Iraq Happy With US Presence, Future Will Be ‘On Our Terms’

Iraqi president meets Trump despite warnings from militias

Despite opposition from militia groups, Iraqi President Barham Salih met with President Trump Wednesday in Switzerland. The two discussed a number of issues, including US sanctions threats, calls for US troop cuts, and the possible impact to Iraq’s long-term sovereignty of hosting US troops that won’t leave if asked.

Iraq’s parliament voted earlier this month 170-0 to ask the US to withdraw. Trump refused and has threatened to seize their oil sale bank account, 90% of the government’s funding, and impose unprecedented sanctions on top of that. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has since punted on the troop issue until the next election, but this is clearly still an issue in US-Iraqi relations.

Trump’s statement after meeting with Salih struck a similarly unaware chord, declaring Iraq to “like what we’re doing,” and dismissing the idea of troop cuts by saying the 5,000 or so troops he believes are in Iraq now is an “historically low” number.

On top of that, Trump further seemed to dismiss the idea of Iraq having any say in this at all, saying we’ll “see what happens” on his sanctions threat, and that any change in US troop levels would have to be “on our terms.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.