President Donald Trump said that he will keep U.S. forces in Iraq in order to “watch” Iranian activities in the region.
“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,” Trump said in an interview with CBS News on February 3.
The American President also reaffirmed his decision to withdraw more than 2,000 U.S. service members from Syria and stressed that the withdrawal process have already begun.
“They’re starting to, as we gain the remainder, the final remainder of the caliphate of the area, they’ll be going to our base in Iraq, and ultimately some will be coming home. But we’re going to be there and we’re going to be staying,” Trump said in response to a question about the withdrawal timeline.
Earlier this week, Trump said that he inherited “endless wars” from the previous administrations. He renewed these claims during his interview with CBS and criticized former President Barack Obama for withdrawing troops from Iraq too early and for not launching an attack on Syria in 2013.
Trump’s decision led to a backlash from the mainstream media, prominent politicians and even senior officials in his administration. One of these officials was former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis who resigned. Trump told CBS that he asked Mattis to leave, because he was “not happy with his service.”
Despite all internal pressure, Trump appears to be determined to pullout his forces from Syria. The preparation for the withdrawal are indeed undergoing. A Recent report revealed that Washington has reached an initial agreement with Ankara to establish a safe-zone in northeastern part of the war-torn country, once American troops are out.