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Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq

Alissa J. Rubin reports for The New York Times:

The acting United States defense secretary, Patrick M. Shanahan, arrived in Baghdad early Tuesday for an unannounced visit with Iraqi leaders to discuss the American troop presence in the country and the fight against the remains of the Islamic State.

Mr. Shanahan’s trip coincides with plans for an American troop withdrawal from Syria and questions about whether some of those troops could instead be based in Iraq, which would be used as a base for operations in Syria.

His quest was complicated — or, perhaps, made necessary — by an interview President Trump gave this month suggesting American troops could be sent to Iraq to keep an eye on neighboring Iran, a fellow Shiite state.

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