Pentagon Chief Denies U.S. Is Leaving Iraq Slain Commander Mourned By Tehran Throngs

50
571

Pentagon Chief Denies U.S. Is Leaving Iraq Slain Commander Mourned By Tehran Throngs

BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has no plans to pull its troops out of Iraq, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday, following reports by Reuters and other media of an American military letter informing Iraqi officials about repositioning troops in preparation for leaving the country.

Longtime foes Tehran and Washington have been in a war of words since Friday, when a drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, widely seen as Iran’s second most powerful figure behind Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei, 80, wept in grief along with hundreds of thousands of mourners who thronged the streets of Tehran for Soleimani’s funeral on Monday.

Iran’s demand for U.S. forces to withdraw from the region gained traction on Sunday when Iraq’s parliament passed a resolution calling for all foreign troops to leave the country

The American military letter said U.S.-led coalition forces would use helicopters to evacuate. Several were heard flying over Baghdad on Monday night, although it was not immediately clear if that was related.

“There’s been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq,” Esper told Pentagon reporters, adding there were no plans issued to prepare to leave.

Pentagon Chief Denies U.S. Is Leaving Iraq Slain Commander Mourned By Tehran Throngs

“I don’t know what that letter is … We’re trying to find out where that’s coming from, what that is. But there’s been no decision made to leave Iraq. Period,” Esper said.

The letter caused confusion about the future of U.S. forces in Iraq, who now number 5,000. A U.S.-led invasion in 2003 toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

The top U.S. military officer told reporters the letter was a draft document meant only to underscore increased movement by U.S. forces. “Poorly worded, implies withdrawal. That’s not what’s happening,” said Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The authenticity of the letter, addressed to the Iraqi Defence Ministry’s Combined Joint Operations, had been confirmed to Reuters by an Iraqi military source.

STILL COMMITTED

Esper said Washington was still committed to countering Islamic State in Iraq, alongside allies and partners.

“Sir, in deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement,” the letter stated.

It was signed by U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General William Seely III, commanding general of the U.S.-led military coalition against Islamic State. CJTF-OIR stands for Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve.

www.reuters.com

“We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure,” the letter said.

Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Abdel Abdul Mahdi told the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad on Monday that both nations needed to implement the Iraqi parliamentary resolution, the premier’s office said in a statement. It did not give a timeline.

Khamenei led prayers at the funeral in the Iranian capital, pausing as his voice cracked with emotion. Soleimani, 62, was a national hero even to many who do not consider themselves supporters of Iran’s clerical rulers.

Mourners packed the streets, chanting: “Death to America!” – a show of national unity after anti-government protests in November in which many demonstrators were killed.

The crowd, which state media said numbered in the millions, recalled the masses gathered in 1989 for the funeral of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The killing of Soleimani has prompted fears around the world of a broader regional conflict, as well as calls in the U.S. Congress for legislation to keep Trump from going to war against Iran.

Esper, Milley and other top U.S. officials agreed to provide a classified briefing for U.S. senators on Wednesday to discuss events in Iraq after some lawmakers accused the White House of risking a broad conflict without a strategy.

NUCLEAR DEAL

Amid the tensions, the Trump administration denied a visa that would have allowed Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to attend a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York on Thursday, a U.S. official said, as Tehran faces the possible reimposition of U.N. sanctions lifted under a landmark 2015 agreement with major powers to curtail its nuclear program.

Iran on Sunday dropped all limitations on its uranium enrichment, another step back from commitments under the deal, which Trump abandoned in 2018.

France’s foreign minister said European powers would decide in coming days whether to launch a dispute resolution process that could lead to a reinstatement of U.N. sanctions on Iran.

Milley said the threat from Soleimani was imminent even if U.S. intelligence did not exactly say “who, what, when, where” concerning attacks he was said to be planning. “We would have been culpably negligent to the American people had we not made the decision we made,” he said.

Trump has vowed to strike 52 Iranian targets, including cultural sites, if Iran retaliates with attacks on Americans or U.S. assets, although U.S. officials sought to downplay his reference to cultural targets. The 52 figure, Trump noted, matched the number of U.S. Embassy hostages held for 444 days after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Graphic on 1979-81 Iran hostage crisis: here

Reuters Graphic

Responding to Trump, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote on Twitter on Monday: “Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290. #IR655.” He referred to the 1988 shooting down of an Iranian airline by a U.S. warship in which 290 were killed.

Trump Under Fire For Threat To Iranian Cultural Sites

Trump also took to Twitter to reiterate the White House stance that “Iran will never have a nuclear weapon.”

General Esmail Ghaani, Soleimani’s successor as commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards elite Quds Force, promised to “continue martyr Soleimani’s cause as firmly as before with the help of God, and in return for his martyrdom we aim to rid the region of America.”

Other political and military leaders have made similar, unspecific threats. Iran, which lies at the mouth of the key Gulf oil shipping route, has a range of proxy forces through which it could act.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a cybersecurity warning on Monday, citing increased tension with Iran and its proxies.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein in Baghdad, Parisa Hafezi, Reuters reporters in Dubai Newsroom, Phil Stewart,

Pentagon Chief Denies U.S. Is Leaving Iraq Slain Commander Mourned By Tehran Throngs

50 COMMENTS

  1. I will immediately take hold of your rss as I can’t find your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please allow me understand so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  2. Place on with this article, I absolutely believe this internet site requires far more factor to consider. I?ll probably be once again to review far more, thanks for that information.

  3. Hiya, I am really glad I have found this information. Today bloggers publish just about gossips and internet and this is actually irritating. A good website with exciting content, that is what I need. Thank you for keeping this web site, I will be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can’t find it.

  4. My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different website and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to looking into your web page yet again.

  5. Thanks for any other informative blog. Where else could I get that type of info written in such an ideal way? I have a venture that I am simply now operating on, and I’ve been at the look out for such information.

  6. I used to be recommended this website through my cousin. I’m not positive whether or not this publish is written through him as nobody else realize such specified about my difficulty. You are wonderful! Thanks!

  7. Thanks for your publish. My partner and i have continually observed that most people are desperate to lose weight as they wish to show up slim as well as attractive. On the other hand, they do not always realize that there are more benefits so that you can losing weight in addition. Doctors say that over weight people suffer from a variety of conditions that can be directly attributed to their excess weight. The great news is that people who definitely are overweight plus suffering from diverse diseases can reduce the severity of their particular illnesses by losing weight. It is easy to see a progressive but identifiable improvement in health when even a small amount of weight loss is reached.

  8. We are Daylight Studio, a boutique photography studio in East London available for hire. We are a creative natural light studio space with decorated French walls, lots of props and furniture and massive windows for great natural light. He have a unique selection of chairs, fabric backgrounds and a sofa for your next natural light photography project. The studio is great for fashion, portrait and commercial photography and if natural light photography studio is not your thing we have a lot of lighting equipment available for you as well and that includes studio strobe lights with various modifiers and LED constant lights for video production. We also have facilities for e-commerce photography. Please see the studio’s gallery here.

  9. I am not sure where you’re getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend a while learning much more or understanding more. Thank you for wonderful information I was in search of this information for my mission.

  10. Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your web-site is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you¡¦ve on this site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched everywhere and simply couldn’t come across. What a perfect website.

  11. you are in point of fact a excellent webmaster. The site loading pace is amazing. It kind of feels that you’re doing any unique trick. Also, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve done a fantastic activity in this topic!

  12. Get help to stop drinking. Helping women quit drinking alcohol. Coach Mary Wagstaff. Feel better, mind, body and soul. Mindfulness based coaching and alcohol recovery. Yoga for recovery.

  13. Needed to draft you one very small remark just to give thanks yet again for these splendid principles you have provided here. It’s certainly open-handed with people like you to grant extensively all many individuals would’ve offered for an e book to generate some dough for their own end, certainly considering the fact that you could possibly have tried it in case you considered necessary. These strategies in addition acted as a easy way to be certain that someone else have the same passion really like my personal own to know significantly more in terms of this condition. I believe there are lots of more pleasurable opportunities up front for individuals that browse through your blog post.

  14. F*ckin’ amazing issues here. I’m very happy to see your article. Thank you a lot and i’m having a look ahead to touch you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  15. It is really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  16. whoah this weblog is great i like studying your posts. Keep up the great paintings! You already know, a lot of people are hunting round for this info, you can aid them greatly.

  17. I definitely wanted to type a quick word so as to say thanks to you for some of the awesome secrets you are giving on this site. My rather long internet search has now been recognized with good quality tips to write about with my colleagues. I would declare that most of us site visitors actually are extremely endowed to live in a very good network with very many special people with good principles. I feel really privileged to have discovered the webpage and look forward to many more fun minutes reading here. Thank you once more for everything.

  18. I admire the dear knowledge you offer in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and have my kids test up right here generally. I am reasonably positive they will learn numerous new stuff here than anyone else!

  19. I really want to thank you for yet another great informative post, I’m a loyal reader to this blog and I can’t stress enough how much valuable information I’ve learned from reading your content. I really appreciate all the effort you put into this great site.

  20. Good blog! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I might be notified when a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your RSS feed which must do the trick! Have a great day!

  21. I do accept as true with all of the concepts you have introduced in your post. They’re very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for starters. May you please extend them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  22. Hello there, I found your website via Google whilst looking for a related subject, your site got here up, it seems great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  23. I will right away clutch your rss feed as I can’t in finding your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me recognise in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  24. Along with everything that appears to be developing within this particular area, all your opinions are actually somewhat stimulating. Even so, I am sorry, but I do not subscribe to your whole suggestion, all be it radical none the less. It appears to everyone that your opinions are generally not completely justified and in fact you are generally yourself not really fully confident of the argument. In any case I did enjoy reading through it.

  25. I have been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled upon this site. Studying this info So i am happy to convey that I have a very just right uncanny feeling I came upon exactly what I needed. I such a lot indubitably will make certain to don?t put out of your mind this website and provides it a look on a constant basis.

  26. I am usually to blog writing as well as i actually appreciate your material. The short article has truly peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your website and also maintain checking for brand-new information.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here