Trump's Middle East plan to backfire: Analysis

US President Donald Trump attending Thanksgiving dinner at Bagram Air Field during a surprise visit on November 28, 2019 in Afghanistan.(Photo by AFP}

A US media outlet has predicted that President Donald Trump's plans for the Middle East are to backfire amid growing resentment regarding the presence of American troops in the region.

A CNN analysis on Saturday indicated that Trump's cowardly decision to assassinate Iran's Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, started the countdown for the exit of US troops from Iraq.

Following the attack Iraqi lawmakers called on the government to work towards ending the presence of foreign troops from the country.

CNN cited Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, predicting that cost/benefit analyses will prompt Trump to take US forces out of the Middle East.

"If the US leaves, people across the region will think that despite his flowery rhetorical devices, Trump does not really have a strategy for the Middle East and at the end of the day will fold and go home," Gerges said.

Being forced out would be a humiliating end to America's long occupation of Iraq, which has sucked up hundreds of billions of US taxpayers' money and left thousands of US soldiers dead.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denied the US will exit, however, he hinted that the number of troops would be reduced.

In the meantime, according to the CNN analysis, "Iran is the most influential state in Iraq now ... [and] that power is only going to grow if the US leaves."

Currently, the PMUs, which are a coalition of mostly fighters formed to fight the rise of Daesh terrorists, are the most powerful force in the country which has been officially integrated into Iraq's military. There are estimated 113,000 personnel in the powerful Iraqi group.

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