US soldiers look out over hillsides at checkpoint in Nerkh district of Wardak province. File photo/AFP
The United States on Wednesday resumed joint military operations with Iraq that had been put on pause after the US drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, the New York Times reported.
Two US military officials quoted by the paper said the Pentagon wanted to resume these operations in order to pick up the fight against the Daesh group.
Washington began the pause on January 5 two days after the strike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani at the Baghdad airport.
The same day of the suspension furious Iraqi lawmakers voted to expel the more than 5,000 US troops that are in Iraq.
It was not immediately clear if anyone in the Iraqi government had approved the resumption of the joint military operations, the Times reported.
The Pentagon said it had no information to provide concerning a resumption when contacted by the medai.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that Iraqi leaders have told him privately they support the US troop presence, despite public appeals for them to leave.
"They won't say so publicly. But privately they all welcome the fact that America is still there executing its counter terror campaign," Pompeo said at a forum at Stanford University.
Discussions between Britain and the United States on building up their military presence in the Gulf are ongoing, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokeswoman, Alison Donnelly, said on Friday amid tensions with Iran.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas arrived in Iraq on Saturday as part of a wider trip to the Middle East seeking to de-escalate tensions between Iran and the United States.
When US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down with Iraqi officials in Baghdad last week as tensions mounted between America and Iran, he delivered a nuanced message: If you’re not going to stand with us, stand aside.
Commercial airliners flying over the Arabian Gulf risk being targeted by “miscalculation or misidentification”from the Iranian military amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US, American diplomats warned on Saturday, even as both Washington and Tehran say they don’t seek war.
The Kremlin is expected to move immediately to absorb the regions once the voting is over, with President Vlaidmir Putin expected to declare their incorporation into Russia later this week.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said earlier that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered an investigation into the audio leaks allegedly from PM House that features government officials.
Blinken's comments came after India's defence and foreign ministers opposed a US decision to provide a support package of about $450 million for Pakistan's fleet of US-made F-16 fighter jets.
The ceremony started at 2:00 p.m. (0500 GMT), with Abe's ashes carried into the Nippon Budokan Hall in central Tokyo by his widow, Akie, to music from a military band and the booms of the honour-guard salute, which echoed inside the hall.