Pompeo says US is in Iraq to back PM Al-Kadhimi
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday, November 22, that his country has been in Iraq for two things, to defeat Islamic State (ISIS) and buttressing the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s government.

 “We want a free, independent Iraq.  You can see it.  You can see it in the protests in Iraq.  What do they want?  They want freedom.  They want independence.  They don’t want to be under the jackboot of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said during an interview with the Dubai-based Saudi al-Arabiya news agency.

Iraq gripped with widespread protests last October demanding an end to the ruling elite that has taken power since the topping of Saddam’s regime in 2003 and the calling for basic services and job opportunities

In response to the demonstrations, then-Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi stepped down in November and his predecessor Mustafa Kadhimi took premiership in May.

 “We’re working to help build out Prime Minister Kadhimi and his team so that they can be free, independent, and sovereign in exactly the way the Iraqi people are demanding,” he said, according to a press release issued by the State Department.

He also said that the other thing that has retained the US forces in Iraq was to defeat the self-styled caliphate that occupied large swathes of territories in Syria and Iraq in their rampage in 2014. “We are now complete with [it], to continue our effort to make sure that ISIS doesn’t arise again and pose risk to the American people.”

In December, 2017, Iraqi federal security forces, in cooperation with the Peshmerga forces and covered by the US-led coalition airstrikes, declared victory over Islamic State.

The militant group has resorted to guerrilla hit-and-run tactics after losing all its territory. It is especially active in the disputed areas claimed by Erbil and Baghdad, where security is not as tight.

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