Masjedi said top Iranian commander, Qassem Soleimani, killed at Baghdad airport in a U.S. air raid last month, was carrying a message setting out Iran's position on possible rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, the Iraqi state news agency reported.
After Soleimani's killing alongside top Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Iran launched at least 15 missiles at two bases hosting United States forces in Iraq, causing traumatic brain injury to 50 U.S. service members but no deaths.
Calling Soleimani "the Iranian regime's most ruthless butcher" and a "monster who murdered or wounded thousands of American service members in Iraq" Trump said Soleimani's "evil reign of terror" was terminated thanks to his decision to strike the Iranian commander. The January 3 strike also led to a wave of indignation under Iraq's Shiite leadership and increased demand for USA troops to leave the country.
Since then, the Iraqi leaders have cut back on the saber-rattling rhetoric.
General McKenzie acknowledged that due to the current strain in relations, joint military operations and training between the U.S. and the Iraqis had been scaled back.
Another of the officials, a commander in Iraq's elite US -trained Counter-Terrorism Services in western Anbar province, said some training continues, but "as for military operations and carrying out operations, there is no support". "We still have a way to go", he said.
"Iraq still needs aerial reconnaissance planes".
The top USA commander for the Middle East paid a visit to Iraq Tuesday with little fanfare, as the US tries to quell an Iraqi push for USA troop removal in light of the attack which took out Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on their soil.
So far, the Iraqis have not approved the request.
"He added, 'It's important to go and see the Iraqi government, to show them we're with them and that this is an important relationship".
A full-scale US withdrawal would bring a major setback in Iraqi capabilities to fight IS that Iraqi military officers acknowledge. As a result, the government invited the Americans back. "If they are eliminated, we will be paralyzed". "The battle against IS is technological, and we don't own any of these technologies, only the Americans do". "Only the Americans do", said a senior army intelligence official.
The Iraqis also rely on USA military expertise to service their F-16 fighter aircraft made in America.
According to coalition spokesperson Col. Myles Caggins, no airstrikes have been conducted since the killing of Soleimani. All coalition air strikes have been coordinated with Iraqi security forces for years, "he said". Many Sunnis regard the American presence as a stronghold against both IS and Iranian power.
Speaking to reporters after he returned, General McKenzie said it was hard to predict how the discussions would turn out, particularly because the Government was in transition.
When he announced his designation on February 1, Allawi extended a hand to the protesters and urged them to keep up their demonstrations.