In the aftermath of US President Donald Trump’s decision to swiftly pull all US combat personnel out of Syria, Iraq says that it is considering deploying troops in the country, with which it shares a large border.
Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi said in a press conference Monday that Iraq has not received a US request to deploy inside of Syria, but that the option was “circulating,” according to The Associated Press.
“Iraq will take its decisions in consultation with its friends and neighbors,” he said, after expressing concerns that ISIS may expand its footprint as the US withdraws.
The press conference came after the prime minister met with his US counterpart Mike Pompeo on Saturday.
While Trump has said that the only reason for stationing troops in Syria is to defeat ISIS, which he has declared has already been done, the Pentagon and US allies in the region are also keen to contain Iranian influence in the region.
Containing the influence of Iran – whose government backs military forces throughout Syria – is one goal which Iraq shares with the United States.
In a related development, Trump tweeted on Monday afternoon that Saudi Arabia will pay for the rebuilding of Syria, without providing any details.
Saudi Arabia has now agreed to spend the necessary money needed to help rebuild Syria, instead of the United States. See? Isn’t it nice when immensely wealthy countries help rebuild their neighbors rather than a Great Country, the U.S., that is 5000 miles away. Thanks to Saudi A!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2018