Iraqi President: ‘U.S. Allies are Worried About the Dependability of’ America Under Trump


Iraqi President Barham Salih said U.S. allies in the Middle East are re-questioning America’s role in the region and their dependability after President Donald Trump removed troops from northern Syria and allowed a Turkish invasion in the region.

“The staying power of the United States is being questioned in a very, very serious way,” Salih told Axios in an HBO segment that aired on Sunday. “And allies of the United States are worried about the dependability of the United States.”

The Iraqi leader also voiced concern about the jailed ISIS fighters who recently escaped due to the U.S. abandonment of the Syrian Kurds while noting that there are “still elements of ISIS roaming between the Iraqi and Syrian border.”

When asked if Trump understands the consequences of the U.S. withdrawal, Salih replied, “I’ve sad that the total defeat of ISIS is an important victory, but not complete.”

“This is what I’m worried about, five years of blood, treasure, effort, a lot of human misery went into defeating ISIS. This victory was no easy, and for anyone to become complacent about it is terrible, reckless, dangerous, tragic,” he added. “The entire neighborhood is concerned about the implications of this policy, the Turkish invasion, U.S. policy, and its implications for the wider U.S. policy in the Middle East. This is causing everybody to recalibrate, to re-think the implications for the Middle East are huge.”

In another segment of the interview, Salih said he was “very concerned, deeply concerned” about “what is happening in Syria. Not just in Syria but also in Iraq. The implications are huge.”

After the Trump administration and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan struck a quasi-momentary ceasefire, Turkey demanded Kurdish forces reallocate to a region away from the country’s shared border to end the fighting. The Kurds have complied with the request, announcing recently, “The SDF is redeploying to new positions away from the Turkish-Syrian border across northeast Syria in accordance with the terms of the (Erdogan-Putin) agreement in order to stop the bloodshed and to protect the inhabitants of the region from Turkish attacks.”

Watch above, via HBO and Axios.

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Caleb Ecarma was a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma