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Baghdad is firing back on Monday with calls to potentially boot USA troops out of Iraq in response to President Donald Trump's comments that he wants to keep them there to "watch Iran".

"Don't overburden Iraq with your own issues", Salih said at a forum in Baghdad.

President Donald Trump's suggestion that the U.S. would use a base in Iraq as a means to "watch" Iran evoked the scorn of Iraqi lawmakers on Monday and seemed to cause confusion among Pentagon officials and analysts, while the State Department told CNN that the USA mission in Iraq remains unchanged.

The US could rely heavily on intelligence work in Afghanistan, he said, and respond to developments in Syria from US bases in neighbouring Iraq.

Trump also told CBS News on Sunday that, while 99 percent of the terrorist group's self-declared caliphate has been reclaimed, "we will be announcing in the not too distant future 100 percent".

"We spent a fortune on building this incredible base". "Trump did not ask us to keep USA troops to watch Iran".

Trump also said he wants to leave troops in Iraq, however, in order to keep an eye on the regime in Iran.

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He said the US base in Iraq is "perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East".

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

On Monday, the Pentagon's Inspector General for the US military mission in Syria, which is dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve, released a quarterly report covering the time period from October 1 to December 31. "The US is a major power. but do not pursue your own policy priorities".

The report by the Inspector-General of the Department of Defence warned that Islamic State continues to attract dozens of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq each month, and maintains a flow of external donations.

Officials with Operation Inherent Resolve, the USA mission in Iraq and Syria, also caution that morale among IS fighters, while not as high as it once was, remains high overall.

"Members of parliament's security, defence and foreign relations committees are now working hard to determine the exact number and real mission of the United States forces in Iraq", a high-level Iraqi government source told The New Arab's Arabic edition.

Syrian schoolchildren walk as USA troops patrol near Turkish border in Hasakah, Syria on November 4, 2018. "We might as well keep it" - in part because "I want to be able to watch Iran", he said. And it is able to operate despite its lost territory, as a "decentralized insurgency", the report says.

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The statements are at odds with Trump's announcement December 19 that all 2,000 USA troops now stationed in Syria will come home because the four-year military battle against ISIS is over. He added that he would wait for clarifications from Washington on the numbers and nature of the USA troops' mission in his country.

According to the text, the "precipitous withdrawal of United States forces" from either country "could put at risk hard-won gains and United States national security".

Meanwhile, the US military officials in charge of running the war against ISIS said the group remains a "potent force of battle-hardened and well-disciplined fighters" that "could likely resurge in Syria", according to the Inspector General report. "There are only Iraqi bases where some U.S. and non-U.S. soldiers are present".

Iraq's former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who had strong backing from the U.S, also voiced opposition to Trump's comments, tweeting, "Iraqi sovereignty must be respected".

Abadi further called on the government to affirm Iraq's unshakable stance that "Iraqi territory can not be used against any neighboring country or any party". "We are not proxies in conflicts outside the interests of our nation".

American forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011, but returned in 2014 at the invitation of the government to help battle IS after it seized vast areas in the north and west of the country, including Iraq's second largest city, Mosul.

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