Islamic World News

US troops to stay in Iraq indefinitely even after ISIS’ defeat

US troops to stay in Iraq indefinitely even after ISIS’ defeat
Iraqi Special Operations Forces arrest a person suspected of belonging to Islamic State militants in western Mosul, Iraq, February 26, 2017. Alaa Al-Marjani: "I spotted four suspected Islamic State militants picked out of a group of displaced people by Iraqi soldiers. The suspects had been identified by civilians working with the security forces and wearing masks to protect themselves from possible reprisal by IS. The suspects including the man in this picture were then tossed into the bed of a pickup truck. My picture was significant for our story because it helped illustrate how some militants had secreted themselves among fleeing civilians in hopes of evading capture. Some of them trimmed their bushy beards and changed their clothes in efforts to blend in. I had been covering developments on another front when I saw on social media that a large group of refugees was heading to this location. Not much was happening where I was so I changed cars and headed to the refugee gathering point. The way the suspects were being treated was abnormal so I felt it was very important to document this in pictures. After I took this picture, a military intelligence officer tried to seize my camera and send me away. I was working together with a Reuters correspondent and security adviser, so the officer eventually desisted and allowed me to take further photos. It can be difficult controlling your feelings when taking pictures right at the scene of gunfire and explosions. There is a lot of human suffering, but also a lot of competition with other agencies to get the best photograph in the shortest period of time. My camera is very modern but internet access needed to file our pictures is difficult because most communications towers in the region are down." REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani/File photo SEARCH "MOSUL PICTURES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.

Mosul [Iraq]: The U.S. troops and coalition forces will likely to remain in Iraq for indefinite period even after Islamic State terrorists are entirely eliminated to “avoid the mistakes of the Obama administration”.There are currently about 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

“The Iraqi government has expressed an interest in having the US forces and coalition forces remain after the defeat of ISIS [Islamic State, IS, formerly ISIL]. Our government is equally interested in that,” Coalition Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said.

“I think all of us can look back to the end of 2011 when the U.S. and coalition forces left Iraq and saw what played out in the intervening three years,” Lt. Gen. Townsend told Pentagon reporters in a video briefing from Baghdad. “I don’t think we want to replay that.”

After an eight-month-long operation,Iraq’s second largest city Mosul was recaptured by Iraqi government troops and US-allied Kurdish Peshmerga fighters with air support from the US-led coalition.

The operation to retake Mosul has left most of the city in ruins leading to thousands of civilian casualties and displaced around a million people.

“I would anticipate that there will be a coalition presence here after the defeat of ISIS,” Townsend said.

“I’m reasonably sure it will be smaller and roles will be a bit different, more in the train-and-equip line of effort that we’re doing now, but I think we’ll be doing that after the defeat of ISIS.”

Townsend declined to say what troop levels he would be recommending to President Trump.

Amnesty International also issued a damning report slamming the US-led coalition in Mosul for errant and excessive airstrikes, while urging it to publicly admit its failure to protect civilians.

To avoid civil war like-conditions in Iraq, Townsend said, “I think the primary condition that caused the rise of ISIS was the fact that a significant portion of the Iraqi population the Sunnis, felt disaffected. They felt like Baghdad was not their government; didn’t represent their interests and that segregation and division led to rise of ISIS or any other extremist groups but only domestic political reconciliation is the key to peaceful and stable Iraq”. (ANI)