Trump's Pentagon chief insists withdrawal letter was just 'a draft' -- but Iraq's prime minister says it's official policy

Dismissing a letter Iraq’s prime minister says he received from US headquarters, Defense Secretary Mark Esper insisted this Tuesday that the US has no intentions of withdrawing from Iraq in the near future, POLITICO reports.


According to Esper, the letter suggesting the US would withdraw troops from Iraq merely “a draft” that wasn’t meant to be circulated.

“A draft, unsigned letter that was an acquired by an Iraq official has no import. It has no value whatsoever,” Esper said in an interview on CNN. “So the fact that anybody would take it seriously or respond to it, I would say this: The United States is not withdrawing from Iraq.”

Esper's comments mark the second time he's tried to clear up the confusion.

Nevertheless, Iraq's Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi is reportedly considering the letter an official notice of the US's impending withdrawal.

The letter came after Iraq’s parliament passed a non-binding resolution calling for the US military to withdraw from the country in the wake of last week’s targeted killing of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.