- Thomson Reuters
President Donald Trump on Monday said the US will not take sides in the clash between independence-seeking Kurds and the Iraqi government but expressed disappointment the two sides were in conflict.
“We don’t like the fact that they’re clashing. We’re not taking sides,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“We’ve had for many years a very good relationship with the Kurds, as you know, and we’ve also been on the side of Iraq, even though we should have never been there in the first place,” Trump added. “We should never have been there. But we’re not taking sides in that battle.”
While Trump says the US will not take sides in the rising conflict, the Pentagon has nevertheless armed and trained both the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga in the fight against ISIS.
Republican Sen. John McCain also released a statement on Monday saying that he was concerned by Iraqi advances.
“The United States provided equipment and training to the Government of Iraq to fight ISIS and secure itself from external threats-not to attack elements of one of its own regional governments, which is a longstanding and valuable partner of the United States,” McCain said.”Make no mistake, there will be severe consequences if we continue to see American equipment misused in this way.”