U.S. military officials say no plan to leave Iraq

Pentagon announced on Thursday that it is not considering the withdrawal of its troops from Iraq, according to a recent U.S. Department of Defense news release.

The U.S. military presence in Iraq is predicated on permission to be there from the Iraqi government, and U.S. forces will remain so long as the Iraqi government agrees, the undersecretary of defense for policy said.

“Our intention is to stay. Do we plan to change the posture of U.S. forces? Not at this time,” said John C. Rood, who spoke yesterday during a Defense Writers Group meeting in Washington.

“We are very clear that we are there with the permission of the Iraqi government,” Rood said. “And that is a necessary condition for U.S. forces to be there.”

U.S. military initiatives in Iraq have been effective, he said. Those initiatives include helping Iraqi military forces build their capabilities, providing other types of assistance and also assisting with the conduct of the fight against ISIS.

“ISIS at one time occupied and controlled large swaths of Iraqi territory,” Rood said. “The fight against ISIS is not done. There are still a substantial number of ISIS fighters there. And the Iraqi government knows that and they really value — and I heard this directly from them — the partnership with U.S. forces, the partnership with the U.S. military in addressing that.”

Protests in Iraq, which kicked off in October, have been met in some cases with violence on the part of the Iraqi government, he said. This is something that Rood said the U.S. has addressed.

“Obviously, the violence occurring in the protests and against the protestors is also something we persistently express concerns about, directly, and I did, to the Iraqi leadership,” he said. “We’ve made no secret of the fact we’d like to see greater restraint exercised in terms of the …read more

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