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  • U.S. President Donald Trump holds a news conference to mark six months since the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in the White House East Room in Washington, U.S., June 29, 2018.

    U.S. President Donald Trump holds a news conference to mark six months since the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in the White House East Room in Washington, U.S., June 29, 2018. | Photo: Reuters file

Published 4 February 2019

President Trump stated he will use the Al Asad Iraqi base to keep a close watch on Iran which it considers a 'serious problem.'

U.S. President Donald Trump stated on Saturday he considers it important to keep some military forces in Iraq to watch Iran closely.

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Trump expressed his regret for the “endless wars” held in Afghanistan and Syria. He also commented on his intention to reduce costly U.S. military presence in those countries, during a CBS interview.

However, the bellicose attitude adopted by his administration toward Iran appears to contradict his stated concerns about U.S.-led wars in the Middle-East.

Despite criticizing the costliness of the wars previously cited and the corresponding ongoing operations he went on to say that the Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq should be kept for the purpose of increasing intelligence gathering on Iran.

“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 in the CBS interview.

President Trump was asked if he would employ the Iraqi base to launch a future attack on Iran, to which he responded “No because I want to be able to watch Iran. All I want do is able to watch.”

Yet, recently, the White House’s request for a document outlining “military options to strike Iran” was reported by the Wall Street Journal, for the first time.

The request on military options on Iran was initiated by President Trump’s National Security Council which asked the Pentagon to produce the report, a move which seemed unusual, “It definitely rattled people,” stated a former senior U.S. administration official describing the hawkish intentions behind the report, “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran,” the official added.

According to White House reports, the troop withdrawal from Syria would be accompanied with a slight troop increase in other places such as Iraq and Somalia.

As part of the interview, Trump reiterated his intention to withdraw troops from Syria but failed to provide a clear timetable for the effect. This has drawn wide criticism from his own Republican party.

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