Iraq in talks for long-term US troop presence
The Trump administration is in talks with Baghdad on keeping US troops in Iraq after the fight against ISIS in the country is over, the Associated Press reported May 5. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, are discussing "what the long-term US presence would look like," a US official told the AP. The official said "several thousand... similar to what we have now, maybe a little more," troops would stay in the country, but added that discussions were in early stages and "nothing has been finalized."
The Pentagon currently has nearly 7,000 troops in Iraq, to train Iraqi forces, coordinate air-strikes and ground operations, and operate on the front-lines in the fight against ISIS in Mosul. That is down from a high of about 170,000 US troops in 2007. That number dropped to 40,000 before the troop "withdrawal" in 2011. (The Hill, May 4)