Trump agrees US-Iraq ‘security partnership’

US President Donald Trump meting his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih during the World Economic Forum in Davos. (Reuters)
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Updated 23 January 2020

Trump agrees US-Iraq ‘security partnership’

  • Trump said Iraq likes what US troops are doing there
  • They discussed reducing the number of foreign troops in Iraq

DAVOS, Switzerland: President Donald Trump and his Iraqi counterpart Barham Saleh agreed on Wednesday on the need for a continued US military role in the country, the White House said.
The two leaders met in Davos, Switzerland, their first meeting since the US killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, sparking an Iraqi parliament call for expulsion of US troops.
“The two leaders agreed on the importance of continuing the United States-Iraq economic and security partnership, including the fight against Daesh,” the White House said, using an alternative acronym for Daesh. “President Trump reaffirmed the United States’ unwavering commitment to a sovereign, stable, and prosperous Iraq.”
Tensions between Washington and Tehran boiled over onto Iraqi soil this month, with the US killing top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad and Iran striking back at an Iraqi base hosting American soldiers.
Furious at the US hit, Iraq’s parliament voted on January 5 to oust all foreign troops, including some 5,200 American soldiers deployed alongside local forces
But Iraq’s Sunni leaders now find themselves on the other side of the equation — uneasy about perceived Iranian overreach in their country they have been cautiously lobbying for US troops to stay.
“For Iraq’s Sunnis, Kurds and other minorities, America creates balance with Shiite politicians who control the government,” Iraqi expert Hisham Al-Hashemi said.
The meeting between Trump and Saleh took place on the sidelines of the Davos conference, which this year is focusing heavily on climate emergency and social inequality.
Trump left the annual World Economic Forum get-together in Davos later Wednesday to return to Washington.


Arab world mourns death of Kuwait’s emir

Updated 25 min 42 sec ago

Arab world mourns death of Kuwait’s emir

  • Kuwait says goodbye to “Emir of Humanity”
  • Sheikh Sabah has been succeeded as emir by his brother

The Gulf states and the wider Middle East mourned the death on Tuesday of the emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.
Sheikh Sabah, who was 91, had ruled Kuwait since 2006, and steered its foreign policy for more than 50 years. He died in the US, where he had been in hospital since July following surgery in Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent their condolences to the people of Kuwait and the Al-Sabah family. (AP)

Flags flew at half staff in Kuwait, which began 40 days of mourning. “Goodbye, Emir of Humanity,” read a large banner on a street near the Kuwait stock exchange.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent their condolences to the people of Kuwait and the Al-Sabah family.
“With the departure of Sheikh Sabah, we lose a wise leader who devoted his life to the service of his country and the Islamic and Arab nations,” said the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan. “We console ourselves and our brothers in Kuwait for this great loss.”

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GCC Secretary-General Dr. Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf said the world had “lost the pioneer of development, always striving for good, love and peace, aiming to strengthen harmony, cooperation and solidarity among the peoples of the world, and who spared no effort for the good of all humanity.”
Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said Sheikh Sabah was a voice of wisdom and moderation. “He was one of the leaders of Kuwait who worked on its prosperity and supported its stability,” he said.

Crown Prince Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah succeeds Sheikh Sabah. (AP)

Sheikh Sabah has been succeeded as emir by his brother, Crown Prince Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, 83, who will be sworn in on Wednesday.
Dahim Alqahtani, a Kuwaiti politics expert, said the emirate’s policies were unlikely to change under the new emir. “I believe Kuwait will follow Sheikh Sabah’s policies, which are based on balance and bridging differences,” he told Arab News.