Oct 27, 2019

Iraqi president: U.S. withdrawal in Syria adds to "perfect storm" in Middle East

In an interview with Jonathan Swan for "Axios on HBO," Iraqi President Barham Salih said the U.S. withdrawal in Syria has led to a "perfect storm" in the Middle East.

The big picture: President Trump's abrupt withdrawal of American troops in northern Syria earlier this month has left the region in disarray, with Turkish forces invading when not bound by ceasefire agreements. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds are being displaced.

  • Iraq shares a border with both Turkey and Syria, and, as Salih told "Axios on HBO," there are "still elements of ISIS roaming between the Iraqi and Syrian border."
  • "This new dynamic in Syria is unleashing these groups, empowering them to consolidate and really take us on," Salih added.

What they're saying:

"I'm here in Baghdad. This is where all these issues are at play. This is quite a moment in history. This is in some ways the perfect storm."
— Barham Salih to "Axios on HBO"
  • "I am very concerned, deeply concerned. What concerns me deeply, what is happening in Syria. Not just in Syria but also in Iraq. The implications are huge," Salih added.

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