Oct 22, 2019

Iraqi military says U.S. troops cannot stay in Iraq

A military convoy of US forces makes its way through Erbil, Iraq. Photo: Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Iraqi military on Tuesday said U.S. troops leaving Syria and heading to neighboring Iraq do not have permission to remain in the country, the AP reports.

Why it matters: The denial contradicts U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper's Oct. 20 statement that all the nearly 1,000 U.S. troops leaving Syria will continue to fight against the Islamic State, or ISIS, from western Iraq.

Details: However, the Iraqi military said U.S. troops that left Syria can enter northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region but that they will have to relocate out of Iraq eventually.

Go deeper: Trump's Syria strategy: Get out, but "keep the oil"

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U.S. troops move to eastern Syria to execute oil field protection plan

A Turkey-backed Syrian fighter looks on from a fortified position near the village of Awshariyah overlooking the Euphrates river, south of Jarabulus in the northern part of Aleppo province on Oct. 26. Photo: AAREF WATAD/Getty Images

The U.S. military has reportedly started to send troops to eastern Syria in accordance with orders from President Trump, who seeks to protect oil fields in the region, per U.S. defense officials cited by the Washington Post.

Why it matters: "U.S. officials have said that the new mission around the oil fields there will prevent the Islamic State from capturing them, but also allow the Pentagon to continue carrying out counterterrorism operations on the militant group and maintain control of the airspace overhead," the Post writes.

Go deeperArrowOct 26, 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.

Go deeperArrowOct 27, 2019

Biden says Trump's foreign policy will likely boost ISIS

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden addresses a crowd at Wilson High Schooin Florence, South Carolina, on Oct. 26. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told the Washington Post President Trump's conduct would likely bolster Islamic State recruitment and cause more instability in the Middle East because he "has no foreign policy" and "seems to act on a whim."

Why it matters: Those comments and further criticism in a Medium blog of Trump's conduct following the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a U.S. operation in northwestern Syria show that foreign policy is a key strategy of the Biden campaign.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019