Led Coalition Denies Confrontation with Iran-Backed Militia in Iraq

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Donald Trump will keep troops in Iraq to 'watch Iran'

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

Iraqi Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hassan Karim al-Kaabi, also close to Sadr, said they were a "new provocation", weeks after Trump sparked outrage in Iraq by visiting United States troops at Ain al-Asad without meeting a single Iraqi official.

When asked by Brennan if he trusted the intelligence given to him, Trump said that he would disagree with reports if they claimed Iran was a "wonderful kindergarten".

The president 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".

The developments come after US President Donald Trump visited a US military base in western Iraq in December a year ago. "And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem".

US officials tell Reuters that the military has already started the withdrawal process, adding hundreds of troops to Syria to facilitate a safe pullout. We never had Syria because President Obama never wanted to violate the red line in the sand.

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In August, the Pentagon published another inspector general report which said the US military estimates that ISIS has as many as 30,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria.

"Don't overburden Iraq with your own issues", President Saleh told a forum in Baghdad on Monday.

He declined to put a timeline on withdrawing from Syria, vaguely saying "at a certain point, we want to bring our people back home", first going to bases in Iraq and then to the US.

According to The Daily Beast, anti-American Iraqi lawmakers, led by political leader Muqtada Sadr, were already planning to vote on a parliamentary measure that would call for the expulsion of US forces.

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

Abu Jaffar al-Shabaki, the head of PMF's 30th Brigade, in a press conference Saturday said the USA troops were surveying Mosul city and filming neighborhoods with video recorders.

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Analysts noted this statement is a radical comedown from Trump's original demands that North Korea end its nuclear program. While Biegun was adamant that the current context presents a unique opportunity to make progress in U.S.

Trump initially said the withdrawal would be rapid but the pace has slowed as military officials work out the logistics of the pull-out. 'We have very fast airplanes, we have very good cargo planes. "We can come back very quickly".

"Memories of occupation are still fresh, and we're rubbing salt on that", Douglas Ollivant, a former National Security Council director for Iraq, told Al-Monitor.

"Talking about US military bases in Iraq for the purposes of confrontation complicates the relationship with neighboring countries", he said in a statement, adding that it also undermines Iraq's independence.

Despite Trump's order to withdraw, American officials maintain that the goal remains the "enduring defeat" of the Islamic State group and are moving ahead with a long-planned meeting of top diplomats from the 79-member US -led anti-IS coalition this week.

US President Donald Trump speaks at a hanger rally at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, on December 26, 2018.

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