A senior US general in Baghdad. That's why

2/17/2019


General Joseph Fotill, commander of the US Central Command in Iraq, arrived in Iraq on Sunday for a visit to hold talks with US and Iraqi officials expected to focus on ensuring that the organization does not re-emerge after US troops are withdrawn from Syria.

According to NAS media reports today (February 17, 2019), Bouteflika did not make statements to journalists when he landed in Iraq, where he is expected to listen to field reports on the final phase of the restitution of the remaining lands under the control of the Daash organization, Land in Syria.

According to Reuters, "Futil is also expected to discuss with officials in Baghdad the impact that the US withdrawal from Syria could have on Iraq, where the militant organization has already turned to hit-and-run after losing all the territory it controlled.

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He said earlier that he did not expect US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw more than 2,000 troops from Syria would lead to a significant change in the level of US troops in Iraq, where the United States has deployed more than 5,000 troops.

He said that number would remain "generally stable".
"We will try to make sure that we have the right capabilities on the ground to support Iraqis in the future," he told reporters traveling with him last week.

But I do not necessarily think that will result in a greater presence of the United States or coalition forces.

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Trump's sudden decision in December to withdraw US troops from Syria and his team for national security led to the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Matisse.

The decision also shocked US allies and prompted generals such as Futil to move quickly to implement the withdrawal in a way that keeps the biggest gains possible.

The United States says Da'ash is a threat to Iraq. Some US officials believe that al-Qaeda leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be hiding in Iraq.

Baghdadi has been leading the organization since 2010 when he was a secret group affiliated with al Qaeda in Iraq.

The US Defense Department's inspector-general said in a report that Dahedash's organization was still active and renewing its functions and capabilities faster in Iraq than in Syria.

"In the absence of sustained pressure (to combat terrorism), he will probably return to Syria in six to 12 months and regain limited territory," the report said.

Boutel said in an interview with Reuters on Friday that he would recommend that weapons and aid continue to be provided to Syria's democratic forces as needed, provided that Kurdish-led forces continue to pressure a reluctant organization and help prevent it from re-emerging.

The organization may still have tens of thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria, with enough leaders and resources to ensure its resurgence in the coming months, he said.

The Iraqi army changed its tactics in fighting the organization from large combat operations to what Fautel calls operations on large areas.

The US military has also modified the way Iraqi security forces support them.
"We've made some adjustments to where we are to be in the best positions" to advise and help Iraqi security forces in their operations, Fotil said last week.

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