Iraqi PM: Trump promised more support for ISIS fight

Iraqi PM: Trump promised more support for ISIS fight
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President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Section 230 worked after the insurrection, but not before: How to regulate social media MORE promised to provide more support to Iraq's fight against ISIS in a phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the prime minister said in an interview published Tuesday.


“I think it is in the interest of the United States and Iraq to keep this relationship," al-Abadi told the Associated Press. "In my telephone call with President-elect Trump, he assured me that the U.S. support will not only continue, but it is going to be increased. So, I think I am going to be looking forward to more U.S. support."

Right now, there are more than 5,000 U.S. troops deployed to the country on a permanent basis and an estimated 800 to 900 more who are deployed on a temporary basis.

Somewhere between 100 and 200 of those are special operators embedded with Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga forces as they advance toward Mosul.

The offensive to retake Mosul started six weeks ago and is seen a decisive battle in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Mosul, which ISIS has held since 2014, is the terrorist group’s last urban bastion in Iraq.

Iraqi special forces have been slowly advancing inside the city from the east, while other Iraqi troops, tribal militias and Kurdish fighters continue to push toward the city in other directions.

Trump criticized the Mosul offensive during the presidential campaign, calling it a “total disaster” and slamming U.S. and Iraqi officials for announcing the start of the offensive.

Trump has also said he has a secret plan to defeat ISIS, but later said he would ask his military generals to present him with a plan after 30 days in office.

Trump has also said he would “take the oil” in Iraq to prevent terrorists from profiting off it and as a reimbursement for U.S. costs of its military commitments to Iraq. Critics have said such a move would amount to a war crime.

In his AP interview, al-Abadi dismissed the comments on his country’s oil, saying Trump is a “pragmatic man” who would reassess the situation in office.

“I am not going to judge the man by his election statements," al-Abadi said with a smile, according to the AP. "I am going to judge him by what he does later."

“The Iraqi people will not allow any country to take possession of their own resources," al-Abadi added.

Al-Abadi also stood by promises that Mosul will be retaken by year’s end despite increasingly slow progress on the ground. He said ISIS does not have the will to put up long-term resistance in Mosul.

“We have seen the whole organization collapsing in terms of standing in the face of our own armed forces. The success of liberating a huge area indicates that Daesh does not have the gut now or the motivation to fight as they were doing before,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.