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Will pull out troops from Afghanistan and Syria but not from Iraq: President Trump

News Analysis |

U.S President Donald Trump has once again reiterated his commitment to bring back troops stationed in Afghanistan and Syria, citing the wars as “useless”, but stating to keep the military base active in Iraq in order to keep a check at Iran. In his latest interview to CBS’ program “Face the Nation”, he said, “It’s time. “And we’ll see what happens with the Taliban. They want peace. They’re tired. Everybody’s tired.” But referring to Al-Asad Airbase situated in western Iraq he said that it could be critical in keeping a watch over the turbulent Middle East, especially Iran.

“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,” he added. “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,” he said.

Iran did manage to not only creep into the void created after the U.S general withdrawal from Iraq but has also been successful in strengthening the Shia militia digging its feet deeper into the strategic front of Iraq.

President Donald Trump took everyone including his aides by surprise when all of a sudden he announced via Twitter, a discourse introduced in the policy spectrum of the United States under his presidency, back in mid of December 2018 that he is going pull U.S troops out of Syria. It was something which was shocking for the intelligence and military fraternity of the country and eventually led to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, a retired marine who was already having sour relations with President Trump.

Watching Iran…

Donald Trump’s assertion to remain vigilant in order to see if anyone in the Middle East and adjacent region is looking up to build nuclear weapons underscores the American apprehension that Iran is still, at least, capable of going down this road. Under his presidency, the United States of America has already backed out of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran nuclear deal as it is generally called citing ineptness of agreed framework to limit Iran’s research and development of an indigenous missile program.

Read more: Trump ‘serious’ about Afghan withdrawal, Taliban says

In terms of mil-tech, the delivery system of a warhead is as important as the weapon itself if not more and Americans believed that a ballistic missile program could be a step in the feared direction. These concerns were further accentuated by Israel and Saudi Arabia which led to the U.S pulling out of the deal and enacting new economic sanctions over Iran.

Iran did manage to not only creep into the void created after the U.S general withdrawal from Iraq but has also been successful in strengthening the Shia militia digging its feet deeper into the strategic front of Iraq. It was followed by joint efforts of Iran and Russia to save the friendly Assad regime in Syria and subsequently Israel started to feel threatened as Revolutionary Guards were sitting within the visible range from Golan Heights.

A skepticism has prevailed in intelligence and policymaker circles of the United States of America after current administration’s ambitious efforts to get rid of extra baggage which the country has been carrying over for years.

The decision to keep the Al-Asad base in Iraq active for the purpose of providing an overwatch is understandable in this regard. However, speaking of fortune, the United States also spends a great deal of money for its bases in Afghanistan, Bagram base being the biggest and state of the art. It was, and to a benign extent, still is a part of the negotiations or at least the U.S aspirations to keep the bases in Afghanistan active.

These bases, due to proximity, provide a better ground to hold on to the growing threats as per the U.S assessments, Iran and Russia in general and China in particular. But as of now, the Taliban have categorically denied any sort of leverage to allow American boots to stay on Afghan soil, demanding complete withdrawal of troops.

A skepticism has prevailed in intelligence and policymaker circles of the United States of America after current administration’s ambitious efforts to get rid of extra baggage which the country has been carrying over for years. On Thursday, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly for a measure sponsored by Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, warning against a “precipitous withdrawal” from Afghanistan and Syria.

Read more: In Iraq, political wrangling spawns debate over US troops

U.S intelligence chiefs have also warned that an abrupt withdrawal could allow Al-Qaeda and ISIS to regroup. Therefore, it is important to see that in the process of withdrawal extraneous factors are taken care of or else it would just open new avenues for the deployment of troops.