- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 7, 2020

President Trump said Tuesday it’s not the right time for the U.S. to withdraw troops from Iraq, amid the turmoil over the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

“At some point we want to get out, but this isn’t the right point,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “It’s the worst thing that could happen to Iraq.”

The president also said the U.S. wants to reimbursed for the cost of its heavily fortified embassy in Baghdad and other costs related to fighting the Islamic State in Iraq.

The Iraqi parliament has taken initial steps calling on the U.S. to withdraw its forces in the aftermath of Soleimani’s killing, which has heightened tensions and provoked vows of retaliation from Tehran.

The president said the U.S. killed Soleimani in response to the general’s repeated attacks against U.S. service members and other western targets. He was hit by an airstrike in a car as he left the Baghdad International Airport.

“In our case it was retaliation,” Mr. Trump said. “He was a monster. And he’s no longer a monster. He’s dead.”

Mr. Trump said of Iran’s threats of retaliation, “We are totally prepared” for any Iranian attack, and he pledged further attacks to meet Tehran’s aggression.

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