(The New York Times ) President Trump’s unexpected announcement that he wanted American troops in Iraq to stay there to “watch Iran” achieved a previously unattainable goal on Monday: unity in the Iraqi political establishment.
The problem for Mr. Trump was that the unity was a collective rejection of his proposal, and added momentum to proposed legislation that could hamper American troops’ ability to operate in Iraq. The measure, which is now being drafted, would limit American troop movements and activities in Iraq.
Mr. Trump’s remarks, made in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” reverberated through Iraq late Sunday and were rejected by all corners of the government, even by some of the United States’ staunchest allies, including President Barham Salih, a Kurd.
“Don’t overburden Iraq with your own issues,” said Mr. Salih, who was speaking Monday in Baghdad at the Al Rafidain Forum, which brings together Iraqis, regional figures and international experts to discuss policy challenges.
“The U.S. is a major power, but do not pursue your own policy priorities, we live here,” Mr. Salih said, addressing his comments to the American administration.
Mr. Salih’s comments were mild compared with those from Iraqi Parliament members and political leaders who have long felt that the United States has been disrespectful of Iraq’s sovereignty.