Published: Fri, December 28, 2018
Culture | By Glenn Strickland

Trump Angers Iraqi Leaders & Citizens as He Visits Troops on the Ground

Trump Angers Iraqi Leaders & Citizens as He Visits Troops on the Ground

President Donald Trump's surprise trip to Iraq may have quieted criticism at home that he had yet to visit troops in a combat zone, but it has infuriated Iraqi politicians who on Thursday demanded the withdrawal of USA forces.

"The American occupation of Iraq is over", al-Saida said.

US troops have been fighting in Afghanistan for 17 years and in Iraq for 15 years, making these the longest wars in American history. "We're respected again as a nation".

According to NPR, George W. Bush's National Security Council member, Kori Schake, said that it was significant that Trump didn't meet with leadership within the country while visiting USA troops. The militant group, also known as ISIS, has lost almost all its territory in Iraq and Syria but is still seen as a threat.

US President Donald Trump speaks at a hanger rally at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, on December 26, 2018.

The trip was kept secret, with Air Force One reportedly making the 11-hour flight with lights off and window shades drawn. George W. Bush made four trips to Iraq as president and President Barack Obama made one.

Last week, Trump surprised the world when he suddenly announced that the USA was pulling out its troops from Syria.

"Parliament must clearly and urgently express its view about the ongoing American violations of Iraqi sovereignty", said Salam al-Shimiri, a lawmaker loyal to the populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Last week, he abruptly announced he was pulling troops out of Syria and Afghanistan.

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Mattis was supposed to continue leading the Pentagon until late February but Trump moved up his exit and announced that Patrick Shanahan, deputy defence secretary, would take the job on January 1 and he was in "no rush" to nominate a new defence chief. "And also, by the way, everybody and her aunt, just so I won't be criticized".

The head of the pro-Iran Asaib Ahl al-Haq group, Qais al-Khazali, tweeted that "Trump's visit to a U.S. military base without regard for diplomatic norms reveals the reality of the American project in Iraq".

"In Syria, Erdogan said he wants to knock out ISIS, whatever's left, the remnants of ISIS".

There are some 5,000 USA soldiers in Iraq, compared to about 2,000 on the ground in Syria.

Trump´s visit appeared to take Iraqi authorities by surprise and prompted criticism including from former prime minister Haider al-Abadi.

According to a transcript released by the White House, he thanked troops for the "near-elimination" of IS, and said some United States troops from Syria "will come here for a stay, but a lot of them are going to be going back home".

During the call, Trump invited Abdel Mahdi to visit Washington and he accepted, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

On the ground for only about three hours, the American president told the men and women with the USA military that Islamic State forces have been vanquished, and he defended his decision against all advice to withdraw USA troops from neighbouring Syria, He declared: "We're no longer the suckers, folks".

"We must end the page of the so-called worldwide coalition, which controls the Iraqi airspace, under the pretext of tracking terrorist cells, which made the Iraqi aviation authorities do not know the entry of aircraft into our global airspace and Iraqi air bases, that American soldiers located in some of them", Zamili said. Al-Sadr has called for curbing USA and Iranian involvement in Iraqi affairs. He also said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to battle "any remnants of ISIS" in Syria, which shares a border with Turkey. He told The Associated Press in October that he "will do that at some point, but I don't think it's overly necessary". "I gave our generals six more months in Syria [in 2016], and that was a year and a half ago, they said they need six more months and another six more months, and another, and I said no". Once he determines the path the USA should pursue in these combat zones, the president should speak to the American people in a broadcast address to explain where we go from here. The unannounced journey took place just days after announcing that he planned to remove US troops from Syria and saw his own defense secretary resign in response.

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