Article from Kathy Keller from Facebook
Trump reaffirms US commitment to Iraqi people in phone call with Abadi




BAGHDAD, Iraq — A week after meeting face-to-face in Washington, D.C., Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi received a phone call late Wednesday night, in which US President Donald Trump reaffirmed US commitment to the Iraqi people in the fight against ISIS.

Trump emphasized that military and intelligence cooperation should continue, according to the PM’s website, adding that the courage and intelligence of the Iraqi people “who are loved and respected” by the US will inevitably banish “ISIS gangs.”

Abadi stressed that Iraqi “heroes” are on a winning streak and defeat is very close, according to his office’s statement. He pointed to the importance of continued international support for Iraq.

A readout from Trump and Abadi’s telephone call by White House was brief.

Trump thanked Abadi for last week's "productive visit" to Washington and "commended PM Abadi's leadership and the courage of the Iraqi Security Forces fighting ISIS in Mosul."

"The president also praised the remarkable bravery and sacrifices of the Iraqi people in our shared fight against terrorism," according to the White House readout, which stated both leaders reiterated their commitments to their countries' Strategic Framework Agreement.

The call from Trump comes hours after Abadi addressed leaders of the Arab world at the Amman Summit, and days after US and Iraq said they are investigating reports of high numbers of recent civilian casualties in western Mosul.

He said in Amman that any attempt to violate the sovereignty of Arab nations should be considered “a red line in our relations with countries.”

Abadi emphasized that “Iraq is now more united than at any other time. If it was not because of this unity, we would not be able to liberate our land and defeat ISIS militants, criminals, and terrorists.”

He added: “I do not think any country alone can enjoy security and stability. Our happiness is connected with the liberation of our land. Expelling ISIS alone cannot bring an end to terror, but the terror has to be defeated in all Arab countries, the region, and the world as they have also faced this threat.”

During an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Abadi said in English he foresees ISIS being defeated soon militarily.

"Within the next few weeks ... militarily,” Abadi said. “As a terrorist organization they will try, so that's why we need the efforts of others to flush them out in Syria and in other places.

"In Iraq, it's there. Defeat is sure. It's definite. We (will) finish the job in a very short time. It is within reach.”

In the interview, Abadi was asked about whether more than 5,000 US troops would continue to be needed after the defeat of ISIS on the battlefield.

"We are concentrating on training, logistical support, and intelligence cooperation and gathering. These are three important elements, which we need some US troops to stay in Iraq to continue the task,” Abadi said.

"[To do that] I think we'll need much less than the existing ones. Of course with the war gone, the task will be much less than at present, so we'll be looking at a lower number.”

Abadi was asked to compare the Trump strategy with that of his predecessor Barack Obama.

"President Obama didn't want to get involved in the first place. He just wanted to forget Iraq. And I think coming back to Iraq [for Obama] was sort of imposed on him because of Daesh, of what they had done -- by crossing the Syrian-Iraqi border and occupying about 40 percent of Iraqi land, slaughtering people. So there was a lot of pressure on President Obama to come to the help of Iraq,” Abadi said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

"While at the moment, there is understanding that Iraq is an ally and we should continue working with to support Iraq against terrorists.”

Read more: http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/30032017