BAGHDAD (AP) – U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the U.S. does not intend to seize Iraqi oil, shifting away from an idea proposed by President Donald Trump that has rattled Iraq’s leaders.
Mattis’ arrived in Baghdad Monday on an unannounced visit as the battle to oust Islamic State militants from western Mosul moves into its second day. At the same time, the Pentagon is considering ways to accelerate the campaign against IS in Iraq and Syria.
Those efforts could be complicated by Trump’s oil threat and his inclusion of Iraq in the administration’s travel ban. Those two actions have roiled the nation and spurred local lawmakers to pressure Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to reduce cooperation with Washington.