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International News
Trump comments spark Iraqi demands for US exit
 
Baghdad, Feb 4 (AFP) Iraqi politicians on Monday hit back at Donald Trump after the US president said he plans to keep American forces in the country to spy on Iran.

In an interview with CBS television, Trump reaffirmed his determination to pull the United States out of "endless wars" in Syria and Afghanistan but said American troops would stay on in Iraq, partly "to be looking a little bit at Iran".

"We spent a fortune on building this incredible base. We might as well keep it," he said, referring to Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq that he visited in December.

"If somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we're going to know it before they do," he said in the interview aired on Sunday.

His comments sparked a new round of demands in Baghdad for US forces to leave the country.

"The Iraqi constitution rejects the use of Iraq as a base for hitting or attacking a neighbouring country," President Barham Saleh said.

Saleh said US forces were in the country legally under an agreement between the two countries, but that "any action taken outside this framework is unacceptable".

Iraq's government plays a delicate balancing act between its two main allies, Washington and Tehran, which are bitter enemies.

The US has been leading a coalition to crush the Islamic State group which grabbed swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, and multiple offensives have since ousted the jihadists from all but a sliver of territory in eastern Syria.

Baghdad's position has also been complicated by Trump's shock December decision to pull troops out of neighbouring Syria, prompting pro-Iran factions to step up calls for an accelerated US withdrawal from Iraq.

Sabah al-Saadi, a member of parliament in the bloc led by influential anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, has proposed a bill demanding a US pullout.

Trump's latest remarks had made passing such a law "a national duty".

Deputy speaker of parliament Hassan Karim al-Kaabi, also close to Sadr, said they were a "new provocation", weeks after the US president sparked outrage in Iraq by visiting US troops at Ain al-Asad without meeting a single Iraqi official.

Officially, Iraq says there are no American bases on its soil -- only instructors deployed at Iraqi bases.

Kurdish MP Sarkawt Shams tweeted that the mission of US troops in Iraq was "to help Iraqi security forces against terrorism, not 'watching' others".

"We are expecting the United States to respect Our mutual interests and avoid pushing Iraq into a regional conflict," he said.

Washington has had troops in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. At the height of its fight against insurgents, it had up to 170,000 US troops in the country, before a partial withdrawal starting in late 2011.


Despite tensions, Pak stands ready to open Kartarpur Corridor: Qureshi
Two Govt hospitals in Pak deny specialised ambulance facility to Sharif
UN, France raise concern over Amazon wildfires 'crisis'
US seeking balancing act in South Asia over Kashmir: Report
Pro-growth RBI minutes to cap yields; revives expectations for further policy easing
N Korea dismisses nuclear talks if US 'hostile military moves' continue
President Trump to discuss Kashmir with PM Modi at G7 summit in France
Pakistan submits compliance report to FATF
Aus to join US in Gulf maritime security mission: PM
Iran says foreign minister Zarif to visit Macron in France
Johnson Brexit letter offers no alternatives to Irish backstop: EU
Pakistan summons India's deputy High Commissioner for 4th time over 'ceasefire violations'
Jaishankar to visit Nepal to participate in Nepal-India Joint Commission
Pak Army chief Gen Bajwa gets 3-year extension; 'regional security environment' cited
Hong Kong protesters rally to show 'peaceful' credentials after chaos
Leaked UK memos warn of food, drug shortages in Brexit chaos
UK strips Jihadi Jack of his British dual nationality: Reports
Modi arrives in Bhutan on two-day visit
Hong Kong protest tensions heat up in Australia
Separatists vacate key offices in Yemen's Aden: Minister
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Vivek Oberoi to star in film on Balakot air strikes
 Mumbai: After portraying Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a biopic, Vivek Oberoi says he is set to pr  
Chris Pine to star in film about Richard Nixon lawyer John Dean
Amitabh Bachchan is my real life mentor: Chiranjeevi
It's challenging to reinvent constantly: Kriti Kharbanda
KERALA NEWS
Malayalam actor, film crew stranded in Himachal village
 Thiruvananthapuram: A 30-member film crew from Kerala, including award-winning actress Manju Warrier
Ex-Deputy Commandant of AR camp held in connection with constable's death
"More flights to Kerala from Gulf countries during Onam"
Flood in Kerala: CM conducts aerial survey
NATIONAL NEWS
INX Media: SC grants interim protection to Chidambaram in ED case; no relief in CBI matter
 New Delhi: Congress leader and former union finance minister P Chidambaram was on Friday granted pro
Always said demonising Modi wrong: Singhvi
Alert in Tamil Nadu after intel of Lashkar terrorists' intrusion
FATF Asia-Pacific Group puts Pakistan in terror 'blacklist': Officials
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