WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump will sign legislation authorizing the United States to send more than 100,000 troops to Iraq, administration officials said Friday, the first major action by a U.S. president to date to address a surge of Sunni Islamic extremists in Iraq that has left more than 10,000 U.N. peacekeepers dead.
Trump is expected to sign the measure in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon, said a White House official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity because the official wasn’t authorized to brief reporters.
The official said the White House would have to file a supplemental request for approval to begin sending troops to the country in the coming weeks.
The Pentagon has said the U.P.S.-led international force will provide training and other assistance in areas of Iraq liberated by the Iraqi military.
The move comes amid heightened tensions between the U!
and the Shi’ite-led government in Baghdad, which is led by the U., that are expected to deepen in coming weeks as the Trump administration continues to grapple with the spillover effects of the fighting in Syria.
Trump has been working to tamp down the fallout from the U-turn in Iraq, a move that could make it easier to get U. S. troops to fight in Syria in the future.
Trump said last month he would seek approval from Congress for sending U. s. troops in Iraq.
“We will take our fight to ISIL and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” Trump said at the time.
But he said the fight against terrorism must be done on the battlefield, adding: “We must defeat ISIL before they are defeated.”
The White House did not provide details of how many U.s. troops the new administration will send to Iraq.
Trump had threatened to withdraw U. troops from Iraq if Congress failed to approve an authorization for the U.-led force.
But on Friday, he said that could change if lawmakers did not approve an emergency measure to authorize more U. S. troops.
Trump did not immediately answer a question from The Associated Press about whether he would be ready to use force if Congress did not act by the end of the month.