U.S. presence in Iraq top agenda item during Iraqi prime minister’s visit to the White House

FILE – Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:32 AM PT – Friday, August 21, 2020

President Trump recently touted a successful meeting with the prime minister of Iraq. He said they have become friends and the relationship between the countries is “better than ever before.”

During Thursday’s meeting, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said his country is “open for business.” The leader also added that he intends to sign off on billions of dollars worth of contracts with U.S. companies.

“We sign many contracts with American companies over $10 billion,” Al-Kadhimi announced. “Iraq is open for American business and investment and for better future for Iraq and Iraqi people.”

The biggest item on the agenda, however, was the U.S. military’s continued presence in the country. Al-Kadhimi said he needs the continued assistance of the U.S. to counter threats from Iran, but noted that the physical presence of troops is unnecessary.

President Trump pledged to pull all troops from the country in the near future, but reaffirmed his commitment to keeping Iraq safe from Iranian aggression.

“We have been taking our troops out of Iraq fairly rapidly and we look forward to the day when we don’t have to be there,” stated the president. “And hopefully Iraq can live their own lives and they can defend themselves, which they’ve been doing long before we got involved.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, center, speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in Washington. Sitting with Pompeo are Vice President Mike Pence, left, and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The discussion of troops comes at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Ayatollah regime. On Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo triggered a snapback of sanctions on Tehran following continued aggression from the country.

Other countries in the United Nations could attempt to stop that snapback in the next 30 days. According to analysts, however, a block is unlikely.

RELATED: President Trump discusses pulling troops from Iraq

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Amber Coakley
Author: Amber Coakley

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