US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq would be the "worst" that could happen to this country and stressed the danger posed in his view by the powerful Iranian neighbor. "That would be the worst thing that could happen to Iraq," Trump said at the White House on receiving Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. "We will leave sometime, but that moment has not yet come," he added.
Previously, Pentagon Chief Mark Esper had previously pointed out at a press conference that US policy in Iraq has not changed, and reaffirmed that US troops will not leave the country. “Our policy has not changed. We will not leave Iraq, ”he said, in an attempt to clarify his government's contradictory messages on the issue, and before admitting that he awaits Iranian“ reprisals ”after the US attack on Friday which killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. .
Esper further assured that the attack on US interests that Qassem Soleimani was preparing when he was killed "should take place in a matter of days." The head of the Department of Defense had referred to this attack in "days, or weeks", but today wanted to clarify his statements at the press conference. "I think it's fairer to talk about days, surely," he said.
General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iranian elite Al-Quds force, died Friday in an air raid on his car near Baghdad's international airport, ordered by Donald Trump. In the same attack also died the number two of the coalition of pro-Iranian paramilitary groups in Iraq, Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis, known as the Popular Mobilization [Hachd al-Chaabi], and eight others.
The attack came three days after an unprecedented two-day assault on the US embassy that only ended when Trump announced the deployment of another 750 troops to the Middle East.
Iran has vowed revenge and announced on Sunday that it will no longer respect the limits imposed by the 2015 nuclear treaty with the five countries sitting on the United Nations Security Council – Russia, France, the United Kingdom, China and the USA – plus Germany, and aimed at restricting Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons. The United States abandoned the agreement in May 2018.
In Iraq, parliament passed a resolution urging the government to tear up the 2016 agreement with the US, in which Washington pledges to help fight the 'jihadist' Islamic State group and justifies the presence of about 5,200 US military personnel on Iraqi territory.