As Iraqi forces reclaim the last stretches of territory held by the Islamic State, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he would not allow his country to become an arena for the United States, Iran and Sunni powers to fight out their rivalries.
“We would like to work with you, both of you,” Abadi said of the United States and Iran. “But please don’t bring your trouble inside Iraq. You can sort it anywhere else.”
Abadi’s comments came in a wide-ranging interview Tuesday about the Kurdish referendum on independence last month, his decision to send troops into areas disputed by his government and the Kurds, and the anticipated post-Islamic State era.
The prime minister said the United States has begun to draw down its military presence in the country from its peak of 5,200 troops since the battle against the Islamic State began. He said that U.S. air power won’t be needed after the Islamic State is defeated in an area in western Iraq along the Syrian border.
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Featured image courtesy of White House Communications Center