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Trump Will ‘Do More To Fight Terrorism’ Than Obama, Iraq PM Says

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent

President Donald Trump will accelerate U.S. assistance to the Iraqi Security Forces in the fight against the Islamic State, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi said in a Monday visit to Washington, D.C.

Abadi drew stark contrast between the approach of the Trump administration to that of former President Barack Obama. “I think they are prepared to do more to fight terrorism,” Abadi said of the Trump administration at an event at the U.S. Institute of Peace. “I can sense a difference in terms of being head-to-head with terrorism,” he continued.

The U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces are engaged in a fierce fight against ISIS in the campaign for Mosul. Iraqi forces began their operations on Mosul in mid-October and have taken unprecedented casualties. The Trump administration has already loosened U.S. rules of engagement for troops providing assistance, characteristic of broader changes in U.S. counter-terrorism strategy.

Abadi said he had not seen “the full plan” the Trump administration will pursue to destroy ISIS but knows that there is one. Trump emphasized to Abadi that the U.S. should “never” have gotten out of Iraq in 2011, referencing the Obama administrations withdrawal from the country. Experts say the 2011 withdrawal spawned many of the conditions for ISIS’s rise.

“The United States will continue training and support for Iraqi forces to bring about the terrorist group’s decisive and enduring defeat and further build the capabilities of Iraqi forces,” the White House declared in a statement.

Abadi emphasized that the Iraqi plan to ensure ISIS does not rise again focuses on inclusive governance and economic investment and would need to be “reconciled” with the Trump administrations plan. He also noted to Trump that the long term stability of Syria was essential to a peaceful Iraq, to ensure another terrorist group does not find sanctuary there.

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