Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, David Schenker, released a special briefing last Monday detailing a trip he took to discuss Iran’s attacks against coalition forces in Iraq, referring to the missile strikes on American bases which recently were reported to have wounded about 11 American soldiers, mostly from concussions.
Yet over 15 years after the U.S. declared “mission accomplished” on Operation Iraqi Freedom, Mr. Schenker only visited Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, hundreds of miles from Baghdad.
On January 6th, President Trump was quoted as saying that if Iraq even thought about submitting a formal request for the removal of American troops from the country, he would apply economic sanctions of such gravity as to make the Iranian sanctions look “rather tame”.
“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” he told reporters.