Pentagon Chief Breaks with Trump, Says US Not in Iraq for Oil

US Defense Secretary James Mattis made a visit to Baghdad to reassure support to Iraqi forces which are fighting to drive out the Islamic State (IS) group from its major stronghold in Mosul.

A retired Marine general who previously led American troops in Iraq, Mr Mattis also asked for Iraqis who served with United States troops, including translators, to be made exempt from Mr Trump's travel ban.

"I think all of us here in this room, all of us in America, have paid for our gas and oil all along and I'm sure that we will continue to do so in the future", he told reporters in Abu Dhabi the day before leaving for Iraq.

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"We're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil", he told reporters traveling with him. His own confirmation assured, Mattis asked the senators to help Tillerson, whose nomination appeared less certain and who he thought might be an important ally in the Cabinet. No, he says, despite popular vote loser Donald Trump's obsession about their oil, we're not going after it.

Mattis is hoping to assess the war effort as USA -backed Iraqi forces launch a new push to oust the Islamic State group from their remaining stronghold in the city of Mosul.

President Trump repeatedly criticized the Iraq war in his presidential campaign, and also spoke of how the USA should have taken control over that country's oil.

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The source added that Mattis planned to discuss several issues with Iraqi officials, including the ongoing fight against Daesh and "a new US plan to eliminate the terrorist group". "But no, the press is a constituency - as far as I'm concerned - that we deal with and I don't have any issues with the press, myself". Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important.

"Abadi also asserted on the importance of worldwide support for Iraq in its war against terrorism", the statement said. But he has been talking with military leaders about the possible options, and has largely supported the USA strategy of fighting IS with and through local forces.

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