Iraq to Trump: Leave Us Out of 'Your Own Issues'

Barham Salih says president didn't ask permission to 'watch Iran' from his country
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 4, 2019 8:50 AM CST
Iraqi President Slams Trump's 'Strange' Comments
In this Sunday photo, President Trump speaks onboard Air Force One.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Iraq's president on Monday criticized President Trump for saying he wants to keep US troops in Iraq "to watch Iran," saying the US leader didn't ask Iraq's permission to do so. "We find these comments strange," said Barham Salih, speaking at a forum in Baghdad. Salih said US troops were in Iraq as part of an agreement between the two countries and with a specific mission of assisting in the fight against ISIS and combating "terrorism." He said the Iraqi Constitution forbids the use of Iraq as a base to threaten the interests or security of neighboring countries, reports the AP. "Don't overburden Iraq with your own issues," he added.

Salih was responding to Trump's comments in an interview with CBS News' Face the Nation, during which Trump said the US has an "incredible base" in Iraq that he intends to keep "because I want to be able to watch Iran." "We spent a fortune on building this incredible base," Trump said. "We might as well keep it. And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem." He said the US base in Iraq is "perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East." (Iran, meanwhile, is holding a US veteran due to a "private complaint.")

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