Published: Fri, December 28, 2018
Culture | By Margie Dunn

Trump speaks to US troops after making surprise visit to Iraq

Trump speaks to US troops after making surprise visit to Iraq

Melania Trump made a surprise trip to Iraq this week with her husband President Donald Trump to meet with American troops.

Trump spent three hours at a USA air base meeting with American troops on an unannounced visit Wednesday.

"The American occupation of Iraq is over", al-Saida said. "We're respected again as a nation".

Trump, who has been harshly criticized for not visiting US forces in any combat zone since becoming president in January 2017, used the Iraq visit to defend his decision to withdraw 2,000 forces from neighboring Syria, saying that the Islamic State (IS) extremist group is "very almost defeated" and any resurgence could be handled by USA troops in Iraq.

President Donald Trump and his aides may have accidentally revealed classified information on social media by showing the faces of an elite team of Navy SEALs that has been deployed to Iraq. George W. Bush made four trips to Iraq as president and President Barack Obama made one.

A scheduled meeting between Trump and Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi was scrapped and they only talked over phone.

"Dealing with Iraq and its sovereignty in this way will harm Iraqi-US relations", he said.

Last week, Trump announced that these soldiers would be coming home as the Islamic State was now defeated. US Defence Secretary James Mattis resigned in protest.

According to Trump, the flight into Iraq was unlike anything he´d previously experienced.

If needed, the United States can attack ISIS "so fast and so hard" that they "won't know what the hell happened", Trump said. Trump sought to highlight the achievements of the four year war on ISIS, including what he said was the liberation of 20,000 square miles of territory and 3 million civilians. "God Bless the USA", Trump wrote in a tweet that accompanied a video more than a minute long. No other top officials or members of Congress were along.

Trump's visit follows his surprise decision to withdraw all 2,000 American troops in neighbouring Syria and half of the 14,000 U.S. soldiers deployed in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban.

Trump said on December 26 that he has no plans to reduce that number.

Trump said that after US troops in Syria return home, Iraq could still be used to stage attacks on IS militants. We've knocked them silly, ' he said.

"The Democrats don't want to let us have strong borders - only for one reason".

Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the powerful Iran-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia said on Twitter, "Iraqis will respond with a parliamentary decision to oust your (US) military forces".

President Trump's decision not to withdraw our troops from Iraq indicates he has a longer timeline for fulfilling his campaign pledge to wind down the US military commitment there. "I had concerns for the first lady, I will tell you". I know from firsthand experience - having served for three years in combat zones in the Middle East and South Asia - the extraordinary impact of a visit from the commander-in chief.

"Can we find out why Melania got off Marine One with no shoes, no trousers and huge weird sunglasses", one person asked on Twitter. The unannounced journey took place just days after announcing that he planned to remove USA troops from Syria and saw his own defense secretary resign in response. Four militants were killed, according to the coalition. The last US service member to die in Iraq was in August, as the result of a helicopter crash in Sinjar.

Trump had planned to spend Christmas at his private club in Florida, but stayed behind in Washington due to the partial government shutdown.

Relations between the US and Iraq also extend beyond military ties.

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