As a part of his meetings with a number of leaders and heads of State, President Salih held in-depth talks with US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

The President stressed the need to intensify international efforts to establish international and regional security and stability, noting that their consolidation and strengthening is the only way to ensure comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.

His Excellency added that Iraq is eager to establish balanced relationships with all friends and allies to strengthen its sovereignty, respect its independent decision, achieve the interests of Iraqis, continue the economic development and reconstruction. In addition to Iraq must not be turned into a battleground to settle scores, he stated.

The US President, in turn, reiterated his country’s support for Iraq, showed his desire to have a closer relation, expand the scope of cooperation and raise the trade volume between Iraq and US to serve both peoples. Iraq’s pivotal role in the region, he appreciated.

Discussions covered the presence of foreign forces, the reduction in troops strength in the country as well as the importance of respecting Iraqis people’s demands in maintaining national sovereignty and ensuring security and stability.

(Source: Office of the Iraqi President)

By Bryant Harris for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Senate Armed Services Chairman Inhofe endorses Iraq sanctions

The Donald Trump administration is doubling down on its Iraq pressure campaign, threatening to impose devastating sanctions on the fragile country should Baghdad move forward with its threats to expel US forces.

And the policy has buy-in from key Republican lawmakers, who are in no hurry to push back against the president’s sanctions threats.

Click here to read the full article.

By Bryant Harris for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Senate Armed Services Chairman Inhofe endorses Iraq sanctions

The Donald Trump administration is doubling down on its Iraq pressure campaign, threatening to impose devastating sanctions on the fragile country should Baghdad move forward with its threats to expel US forces.

And the policy has buy-in from key Republican lawmakers, who are in no hurry to push back against the president’s sanctions threats.

Click here to read the full article.

By John Lee.

The Trump administration has reportedly threatened to block Iraq’s access to its funds in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York if Iraq expels US troops from the country.

The Wall Street Journal quoted unnamed Iraqi officials as saying that the US State Department warning came after the Iraqi parliament voted in favour of a resolution demanding the removal of American forces from Iraq.

Iraq uses the account to deposit its oil sale revenues and pay government salaries and contracts.

According to the most recent financial statement from the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), the Federal Reserve held about $3 billion in overnight deposits at the end of 2018.

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

By Jack Detsch for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq’s caretaker prime minister privately does not want US troops to withdraw, several sources familiar with the situation told Al-Monitor, though Adel Abdul Mahdi publicly backed a recent parliamentary vote that urged the Donald Trump administration to exit the war-torn country.

Despite calling on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to send an American delegation to Iraq to negotiate the withdrawal of US troops in a readout of a Friday call, Abdul Mahdi is trying to find a way to keep an American presence in the country while attempting to placate Iran-backed militia leaders who want to force 5,200 US troops out, a source familiar with the situation on the ground said.

Click here to read the full story.

By Aaron David Miller, for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Trump and Khamenei Want the Same Thing

Both President Donald Trump and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have something in common: they both want to hang on to power and a major war between Iran and the United States is not good politics for either one.

Click here to read the full story.

By Aaron David Miller, for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Trump and Khamenei Want the Same Thing

Both President Donald Trump and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have something in common: they both want to hang on to power and a major war between Iran and the United States is not good politics for either one.

Click here to read the full story.

By Thomas Wright, for Brookings Institution. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

On October 6, 1980 Donald Trump was interviewed by Rona Barrett, one of America’s most famous gossip columnists, on NBC.

It was several weeks before Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in the presidential election and near the end of the Iran hostage crisis in which the Iranian regime took 52 American diplomats and citizens prisoner after the embassy was stormed and then held them for 444 days.

It was a long and meandering interview about Trump’s story to date (he was then 34).

About half way though, Barrett asked Trump if he could make America perfect how would he do it.

The full report can be read here.

By Christine McCaffray van den Toorn and Raad Alkadiri for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

US-Iran tensions shift Iraq from brink of reform to brink of war

Rising US-Iranian tensions over the past week have seemingly brought the two sides closer to outright confrontation than at any time in the past four decades.

Tehran’s vow to take revenge for the US drone strike Jan. 3 that killed the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), or Hashid Shaabi, last week in Baghdad has been met with equally bellicose statements by US President Donald Trump, who sent 3,500 additional troops to the Middle East after the assassination and promised that any Iranian action would be met with a massive US military response.

Click here to read the full story.

By Robbie Gramer, for Foreign Policy. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The U.S. State Department sent Congress this month detailed plans to dramatically and permanently reduce the number of U.S. diplomats in Iraq, a measure that critics say runs directly against the Trump administration’s stated goals of countering Iranian influence in the country and undercuts Washington’s efforts to stabilize the Iraqi government.

Documents sent from the State Department to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and obtained by Foreign Policy shed new light on the department’s decision earlier this year to draw down the number of diplomats and other U.S. personnel in Iraq.

Click here to read the full story.