Let’s just say, it was typical for the wayward presidency of Donald Trump.
After boldly declaring that the US would withdraw its forces from Iraq, following the international fallout from the shocking assassination of Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, the White House quickly backtracked — and for good reason.
In fact, rather than bailing, the US is digging in, according to Israeli sources who spoke to Breaking Defense.
According to these sources, the US is building at least three semi-permanent new bases very close to the Iranian border in northern Iraq.
Israeli experts say that immediately after Trump’s declaration the US became aware that executing the decision would leave policymakers and the military with greatly reduced influence in a region that has seen rapid and extensive Russian penetration into the region, the report said.
After the assassination of Soleimani, the Iraqi government protested what it described as a “violation of international law” and its parliament passed a non-binding resolution calling for the withdrawal of US troops. Since, then the US military has not withdrawn and indications are that the US presence could even become greater, the report said.
The Iranian response to Soleimani’s killing resulted in the launch of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles at American bases in Iraq. The American base in Iraqi Kurdistan was also hit near the city of Erbil, the report said.
The US plans to establish one military base near the city of Sulimania, another large military base near the city of Halabja, which is only 14 km from the Iranian border, while the third military base is planning to set up south of the province of Erbil, the report said.
Professor Uzi Rabi, director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, told Breaking Defense that the US has realized that withdrawing from Iraq will dramatically hurt the sanctions on Iran.
“They have realized that in spite of the president’s declaration, they have to keep a real presence and they are doing it by building bases in the Kurdish areas. This was expected by anyone who really understand the powers operating in this strategic region,” the Israeli expert said.