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US troops withdrawing to Iraq from Syria can't redeploy there and have to leave in 4 weeks, Baghdad says
The 1,000 U.S. troops leaving Syria will be allowed to stay in Iraq for at most four weeks, Iraq's defense minister said Wednesday, in an embarrassing rebuff to President Donald Trump's plans for withdrawing from Syria.
Najah al-Shammari's comments to the Associated Press came shortly after his meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who went to Baghdad to negotiate the redeployment of U.S. troops in Iraq after they withdrew from Syria.
The emergency meeting came after Esper announced on Monday that the American troops would be stationed along the Iraq-Syria border.
The announcement was seemingly made without bringing Iraq on board first, as the Iraqi government said hours later that the U.S. had not secured permission to do so.
Esper said at the time that U.S. troops would help secure oil fields and monitor ISIS activity from Iraq.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. has already defeated ISIS, but the militant group killed two members of the Iraqi security forces and attacked an oil field in the country just this week.
Al-Shammari said Wednesday that he and Esper agreed that American troops leaving Syria would simply be "transiting" through Iraq before moving on to Kuwait, Qatar, or home to the U.S., the AP reported.
Al-Shammari added that this transition would take place "within a time frame not exceeding four weeks," as cited by the AP.
It was not clear where the troops would be deployed next. The Defense Department has not yet responded to Business Insider's request for confirmation on Esper and al-Shammari's discussions.
Trump has said that one of his reasons to withdraw from northeastern Syria is to end "forever wars" in the Middle East, and bring troops home. Deploying them to Iraq would not have fulfilled this pledge.
A U.S. military convoy leaving Syria near the town of Tel Tamr on Sunday(Associated Press photo)
Earlier on Wednesday Esper said that the U.S. has no plans to leave troops in Iraq "interminably," the AP reported. He has also met with the country's prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi.
The U.S. currently has more than 5,000 troops in Iraq, but has attempted to kept the numbers low due to political sensitivities after the U.S. occupation during the 2003 war, the AP reported.
Esper's meetings in Iraq come a day after Turkey and Syria struck a deal to expand their control and minimize Kurdish territory in northeastern Syria. Russian troops entered northern Syria on Wednesday to partner with Turkey.
It came after Turkish troops entered the region to drive out Kurdish forces, with whom the U.S. had partnered to drive out ISIS militants in the region.
The Turkish incursion was greenlit by Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria earlier this month.
Read more from Business Insider:
- Putin and Erdogan agreed a 'historic' deal to consolidate power in Syria and humble Kurdish forces. Here are the winners and losers.
- Trump's plans for pulling out of Syria were embarrassingly disrupted by Iraq, which said the US isn't allowed to redeploy on its soil
- The Pentagon official overseeing special operations just resigned after only 4 months on the job
- Military leaders are starting to come around to social media, but there are 7 rules they need to remember
- How the 'Horse Soldiers' helped liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban 18 years ago
The Air Force's top general says one of the designers of the ride-sharing app Uber is helping the branch build a new data-sharing network that the Air Force hopes will help service branches work together to detect and destroy targets.
The network, which the Air Force is calling the advanced battle management system (ABMS), would function a bit like the artificial intelligence construct Cortana from Halo, who identifies enemy ships and the nearest assets to destroy them at machine speed, so all the fleshy humans need to do is give a nod of approval before resuming their pipe-smoking.
An F-15 is rocking a WWII paint job to honor a B-17 pilot who gave his life to save a wounded crewman
An F-15C Eagle is sporting a badass World War II-era paint job in honor of a fallen bomber pilot who gave everything to ensure his men survived a deadly battle.
A U.S. E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft crashed on Monday on Afghanistan, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has confirmed.
Beloved basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. Two days earlier, Army Spc. Antonio I. Moore was killed during a vehicle rollover accident while conducting route clearing operations in Syria.
Which one more deserves your grief and mourning? According to Maj. Gen. John R. Evans, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, you only have enough energy for one.
After 70 years, service members are finally filing medical malpractice claims against the US military
Jessica Purcell, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she noticed a swollen lymph node in her left underarm.
Health-care providers at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic told her it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones. The following year they determined the issue had resolved itself.
It hadn't. A doctor off base found a large mass in her underarm and gave her a shocking diagnosis: stage 2 breast cancer.
Purcell was pregnant again. Her daughter had just turned 1. She was 35. And she had no right to sue for malpractice.
A 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres doctrine prohibits military members like Purcell from filing a lawsuit against the federal government for any injuries suffered while on active duty. That includes injury in combat, but also rape and medical malpractice, such as missing a cancer diagnosis.
Thanks in part to Tampa lawyer Natalie Khawam, a provision in this year's national defense budget allows those in active duty to file medical malpractice claims against the government for the first time since the Feres case.
With the Department of Defense overseeing the new claims process, the question now is how fairly and timely complaints will be judged. And whether, in the long run, this new move will help growing efforts to overturn the ruling and allow active duty members to sue like everyone else.