Friday, December 28, 2018

US Forces Not Leaving Iraq

Trump in Iraq (BBC)

During President Trump’s recent trip to Iraq he said he had no plans to withdraw U.S. forces. That’s shown by the fact that the U.S. just completed a new base in western Anbar along the Syrian border in September. That goes along with five other camps the Americans already had in the province, which are Camp Ain al-Assad, Camp Habaniya, one by Hit, one by Haditha Dam, and one by Rutba. Overall, the U.S. has around 5,200 troops in the country.

Trump’s announcement was important for two reasons. First, it means that the U.S. will still be training and equipping the Iraqi forces that still face large institutional issues that hinder its further development. Second, it will give the U.S. the ability to monitor the situation in nearby Syria, which Trump has said he is pulling American troops out of. The camps along the Syrian border are meant to stop Islamic State infiltration, but can also be used to conduct raids into Syria.

Overall, Trump has stayed interested in countries that have deals with American companies and he feels are making money for the U.S. As a result of the White House sanctions on Iran, Baghdad signed a large electricity deal with General Electric. The fact that Iraq also has oil is also of interest to the president. Together those give Iraq advantages over Syria, which offered nothing economically to Trump, and help explain why the U.S. is withdrawing from one and not the other.

SOURCES

Al Alam, “Iraq: US plan to control the deserts of three provinces,” 12/17/18

Bas News, “US Setting up New Base in Western Iraq: Source,” 9/6/19

Khalid, Tuqa, “U.S. forces to stay in Iraq as long as needed: spokesman,” Reuters, 8/19/18

Al Mada, “An American force is stationed in west Iraq at base after a hasty takeover of a Syrian area,” 12/10/18

Mostafa, Nehal, “U.S. installs new military base near Iraqi-Syrian borders: Official,” Iraqi News, 9/30/18

Reuters, “Iraq lines up General Electric for power infrastructure deal,” 10/21/18

Sonne, Paul and El-Ghobashy, Tamer, “U.S. forces will stay in Iraq and could reenter Syria from there, Trump says,” Washington Post, 12/28/18

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