Pompeo reassures allies of United States commitment to defeat ISIL

U.S. President TRump makes a visit to the Ain al Asad base in Iraq the day after Christmas 2018

U.S. President TRump makes a visit to the Ain al Asad base in Iraq the day after Christmas 2018

And despite Trump's claims that ISIS has been defeated, Gen. Joseph Votel said the fight against the terror group is "not over" and warned ISIS could regroup after U.S. troops leave.

In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Mr Trump said "virtually all" of the group's territory in Syria and Iraq had been liberated, saying it was "time to give our fearless warriors in Syria a warm welcome home".

Iraq's president hit back at Donald Trump Monday for saying United States troops should stay in Iraq to keep an eye on Iran, saying the U.S. leader did not ask for Iraq's permission to do so.

"I want to applaud the outstanding men and women of the United States military, incredible people, for their remarkable skill and precision throughout this entire campaign", the president told a gathering of leaders and top officials from countries who signed on to the coalition.

The Sunni Muslim extremist group has lost roughly 99% of its territory in Iraq and Syria.

The White House said in mid-December that it had already started withdrawing troops as the battle against IS was winding down.

In an interview that was taped Friday, Trump told CBS News that the USA would use a base in Iraq as a means to "watch" Iran.

'The territory that's been reclaimed is 99 percent, ' he said.

Asked by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, if the United States mission in Iraq is to defeat ISIS, Votel replied, "that is exactly my understanding", adding that the USA is in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government. In September, the State Department closed the US Consulate in the southern city of Basra after an Iran-backed group launched a rocket attack against the facility.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, Trump took aim at Iran declaring it a "radical regime" that does "bad, bad things".

He said the wall will be built in the areas identified by border agents as having the greatest need, and "where walls go up, illegal crossings go way, way down". How long will it take once you get started? "Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one".

"We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement - but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace", he said. "This is a special group of brilliant people and it's been an honor to work with you and we will continue to work with you because unfortunately, this is not going to be something that, as brilliant as our military is, knocking out the big big sections, they'll still have tiny sections - can be so unsafe".

On the emotive issue of women's rights, Stanikzai said the Taliban were committed to all rights of women "that have been given to them by the sacred religion of Islam".

"They'll be around. They're sick". "To that end, we ask that our coalition partners seriously and rapidly consider requests that will enable our efforts to continue".

They're demented. You'll always have them no matter how well we do militarily.

Published on Monday, the report authored by the Pentagon and State Department inspectors-general also blamed Turkey for spoiling the US-backed Kurdish militia's operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), and predicts no end to strife in the region, going against President Donald Trump's order to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

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