Secretary of State Mike Pompeo maintained that “our mission there [in Iraq] is largely a counterterrorism mission and that’s what our troops are on the ground for”. He further characterised Vice President Pence’s trip to Iraq as “an effort to try and help the Iraqi people stand up a free and independent and sovereign Iraq. That’s our goal for the Iraqi people, and we’re prepared to work with the Iraqi leadership… to try and deliver that on behalf of the Iraqis”. Pompeo went on to say that “we have no qualms in talking about the fact that we think the Iranian presence there is harmful to that, decreases the risk that the Iraqi people can have the sovereignty that they so richly deserve, and we’re confident that the Iraqi leadership wants the same thing that we’re helping them work towards”.
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