Hilary Clinton, the Secretary of State, warned Iran to not misread the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq as affecting the U.S. commitment to democracy in the area, the Associated Press reports.
On Friday President Barack Obama’s announced all 46,000 American troops are set to return home from Iraq by the end of this year. But Clinton said in a series of news shows that the U.S. would continue its training mission with Iraq, AP reports.
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Clinton warned Iran against trying to expand its influence in Iraq once American troops are gone, and told the Islamic regime not to “miscalculate” the extent of Washington’s support for Baghdad, the Financial Times reports.
"We have a lot of presence in that region," Clinton said in an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley, the Los Angeles Times reports. "No one, most particularly Iran, should miscalculate about our commitment . . . to the Iraqis."
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News of American troop withdrawal spurred cheers and fears in Iraq, causing the country to ponder another period of uncertain transition, AP reports. Apprehension was sparked over what would happen without U.S. troops on hand to help control political and social divisions that still lead to shootings and bombings, AP reports.
Top U.S. commanders in Iraq had been lobbying for at least 18,000 troops to remain, the FT reports. Republicans have also criticized the president’s decision to remove all troops.
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"Once the military is gone, embassy personnel will be targets," Republican Senator John McCain said, the L.A. Times reports. "The fact that we have other bases in the region would have very little impact on Iraq itself."