US wants to keep troops in Iraq to ‘watch Iran’ – Trump

Sunday, February 3, 2019
By Paul Martin
3 Feb, 2019

US President Donald Trump says he wants to keep a military presence in Iraq to “watch” Iran, as well as all over the “troubled Middle East.” He also confirmed the desire to retain an “intelligence” presence in Afghanistan.

“All I want to do is be able to watch,” Trump told CBS’ Face the Nation in an interview broadcast Sunday. “We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq. It’s perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up.”

When asked if the troops were needed to “strike” Iran, Trump insisted that he merely wanted to watch.

“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.”

Aside from Iraq, Trump did not rule out the possibility of retaining a US military presence in Afghanistan. He also promised to leave “real intelligence” in the country, watching over “nests” – of terrorists, apparently – forming there.

“I’ll leave intelligence there and if I see nests forming, I’ll do something about it,” he rather cryptically said.

Criticism of years-long US military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq was one of the main centerpieces of Trump’s presidential campaign. Since then, however, he has backtracked on his promises, even bolstering the military presence in the region instead of withdrawing the troops.

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