Trump wants U.S. military in Iraq to 'watch Iran': CBS interview

Geraldine Edwards
February 5, 2019

Trump cited the high cost in blood and money after years of fighting in Afghanistan, in arguing for a United States withdrawal from the place where the 9/11 attacks were hatched.

Watch above, via CBS News, and read the full transcript of the interview here. It is something Mr Trump referred to when he visited the base in December.

U.S. officials have been holding talks in Qatar with the Taliban on a framework for peace negotiations, raising prospects for a breakthrough in the 17-year-old conflict.

An ally of the U.S. in defeating remaining pockets of Islamic State terrorists in the country, Iraq has found itself under increased pressure as tensions between the Trump administration and Iran grow after the USA claimed Tehran was not sticking to the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

We have to protect Israel.

While singling out the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as "tenacious fighters", the inspector-general noted the threat of a Turkish invasion against these US-backed forces, as Ankara views them to be linked to Turkish separatists.

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In the CBS interview Mr Trump defended his recent decision to withdraw the 2,000 U.S. troops deployed in neighbouring Syria to support a Kurdish-led militia alliance seeking to capture the last pocket of IS territory there.

Trump said the Islamic State has been stripped of 99 percent of its Syrian territory so far, and the USA military will soon be able to announce 100 percent has been reclaimed.

Deputy speaker of parliament Hassan Karim al-Kaabi, also close to Sadr, said they were a "new provocation", weeks after the usa president sparked outrage in Iraq by visiting us troops at Ain al-Asad without meeting a single Iraqi official.

Trump added that Maduro requested a meeting with him "a number of months ago", but declined because the United States was already "very far along in the process" of supporting Guaido, although he only formally recognize the opposition leader as Venezuela's interim president on January 23.

"We spent a fortune on building this incredible base. We might as well keep it", he said. "We might as well keep it" - in part because "I want to be able to watch Iran", he said.

"I want to be able to watch Iran".

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In the CBS interview, conducted on February 1, Trump said USA troops have been in Afghanistan for almost 19 years, and, while the outcome of ongoing peace talks with the Afghan Taliban remains to be seen, "They want peace".

ISIS will claim victory over the USA and is likely to regain territory as a result of President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria, according to a new report released Monday by the Pentagon's Inspector General.

The president said he planned to keep a small contingent of troops in Afghanistan for "real intelligence" purposes and said US forces would return to that country if necessary.

Trump's withdrawal decisions have faced Senate rebuke and testimony from intelligence chiefs that contradicts his arguments for pulling troops out of Syria and Afghanistan. We can come back very quickly, and I'm not leaving.

President Trump had earlier vowed that he would bring American troops home if a peace deal was reached with the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan.

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