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Iraqi Defense Minister Says to US Military: ‘You Have 4 Weeks to Leave’

After the dramatic announcement by Washington that it would be removing its troops from Syria, it seems that the Trump Administration wasn’t telling the full story.

This week, we learned that Trump has already back-tracked on his pledge, leaving some of America’s troops and heavy assets around the area of Deir Ezzor, Syria, allegedly in order to “guard Syria’s oil from ISIS“.

In addition to this, Washington has also casually laid out its supposed ‘exit plan’ which includes repositioning US troops over the border into neighboring Iraq – to be ‘on call’ in case ISIS suddenly emerges.

However, this plan does not seem to have been cleared by officials in Baghdad, as the Iraqi Defense Ministry has come out stating that  US troops leaving northeastern Syria do not have permission to stay in Iraq.

Will Washington now apply pressure on the Iraqi government to allow uninvited US troops to stay in the area, or will this broken narrative be rescued by the sudden emergence of a new “ISIS threat”?

Associate Press reports:

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Latest on U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s visit to Baghdad (all times local):

Iraq’s defense minister has said after meeting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper that American forces withdrawing from Syria to Iraq will leave the country within four weeks.

Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari made the remarks to The Associated Press on Wednesday, following a meeting with Esper, who arrived in Baghdad a day to discuss the troops.

He says that the American troops crossing from Syria are “transiting” in Iraq and will then head either to Kuwait, Qatar or the United States.

Iraq’s military said Tuesday that American troops leaving northeastern Syria don’t have permission to stay in Iraq in a statement that appeared to contradict Esper, who has said that all U.S. troops leaving Syria would continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State group from Iraq to prevent its resurgence in the region.

Esper had said earlier on Wednesday that he plans to talk with Iraqi leaders about the matter.

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