US commander: IS hold in Syria, Iraq on verge of collapse



Some of the forces moving out of Syria will go to Iraq, where they can monitor any resurgence of Islamic State or other militant group and "ultimately some will be coming home", Mr Trump said.

Speaking to Lebanon's Arabic-language al-Mayadeen TV network, Jafaar Hussaini said US President Donald Trump can never think of any invasion against Iran from Iraqi soil.

"This is what a lot of people don't understand", added Trump."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 top general overseeing United States military actions in the Middle East said Tuesday that President Donald Trump did not consult him ahead of the decision to pull USA troops from Syria. "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".

Iraqi political and militia leaders had previously denounced Trump's December visit to Ayn al-Asad Airbase as a "blatant violation of Iraq's sovereignty".

The votes marked the second time in two months that the Senate supported a measure contradicting Trump's foreign policy, although legislation to change his policies has yet to become law.

Opponents included every senator considering a 2020 presidential run, and four Republicans, who said USA foreign policy needs a rethink.

US President Donald Trump's recent remarks about US soldiers staying in Iraq to keep an eye on neighboring Iran was a "foolish statement", Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, told Sputnik.

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It called on the Trump administration to certify conditions had been met for the groups' "enduring defeat" before any significant withdrawal from Syria or Afghanistan.

His comments sparked a new round of demands in Baghdad for U.S. forces to leave the country.

"We're at 99 percent right now, we'll be at 100", said the president, who was expected to make the announcement during his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned shortly after Trump's announcement, followed soon after by Brett McGurk, the US envoy to the global coalition fighting Islamic State.

President Trump speaks at a hanger rally at al-Asad Air Base, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018.

The highly respected Votel, former head of the Joint Special Operations Command, also appears to be at odds with Trump on the resiliency of ISIS and the terror group's ability to surge again once US troops leave. Shiite-led Iran has strongly backed fellow Shiites who assumed power in Iraq after the 2003 US -led invasion deposed a regime headed by minority Sunni Muslims under dictator Saddam Hussein.

Trump also tasked the Pentagon late a year ago to start making plans for cutting the US force in Afghanistan in half. "We got to get out of these endless wars and bring our folks back home". The base hosts American troops but belongs to the Iraqi army.

"We think that building strong relations with the USA for the benefit of the two peoples is important", said a senior Iraqi diplomat, who requested anonymity to speak frankly on a sensitive subject.

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