Trump’s surprise troop visit sparks criticism in Iraq

Donald Trump visits US troops in Iraq for first trip to a conflict zone

Donald Trump visits US troops in Iraq for first trip to a conflict zone

Speaking from the Ain al-Asad air base, just west of the capital Baghdad, Trump, who announced the pullout of U.S. soldiers from Syria last week, said Washington had no plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq.

The Kata'ib Hezbollah group also stressed that the resistance front would make the United States withdraw its forces from Iraq, adding that the fact that Trump made a surprise trip meant that "he does not feel safe announcing his visit to Iraq".

The president spoke to a group of about 100 mostly special forces personnel and separately with military leaders before leaving a few hours later.

She said Abdul-Mahdi had accepted Trump's invitation for him to visit the White House next year.

The President and First Lady were seen shaking hands with the soldiers, who were wearing full battle gear and night vision goggles.

The president and his entourage then headed back to the US.

Despite the wide grins and supportive cheers from his audience, the trip comes at a time of growing turmoil for the president at home and overseas.

Iraq's Sunni politicians have been largely quiet about the presidential visit, reflecting the ties they have cultivated with the counterbalance the might of the country's Iran-backed and predominantly-Shiite militias.

If needed, the USA can attack ISIS "so fast and so hard" that they "won't know what the hell happened", Trump said.

Still, the US and Iraq developed considerable military and intelligence ties in the war against IS, and they continue to pay off in operations against militants gone into hiding. We are spread out all over the world.

"Can we find out why Melania got off Marine One with no shoes, no trousers and huge weird sunglasses", one person asked on Twitter.

Trump also drew criticism in the U.S. for repeating a previously debunked claim that he had secured military members a pay raise for the first time in 10 years, when in fact the Pentagon has increased pay each year. "Can someone tell me why @FLOTUS got off of Marine One without trousers and shoes and wearing sunglasses at night?"

White House: Trump Would Accept Less Money For Border Wall
The Senate adjourned without a deal, meaning the shutdown will continue until at least Thursday, after the Christmas holiday. Mulvaney would only say the offer was between Trump's $5.7 billion request and the $1.3 billion Democrats have offered.

Some of his advisers had suggested 2, 3 or 4%, he said, adding that he had made clear that this was not enough: "I said: 'No".

Trump was supposed to meet with Iraq's leadership during the visit, but the meeting was scrapped over disagreements over how it would be conducted.

The way in which Trump visited was "not commensurate with diplomatic norms and relations with sovereign states", Abadi said.

Iraqi lawmaker, Hakim al-Zamili, speaks to the media during press conference, in Baghdad, April 18, 2016.

Now Iraqi politicians are slamming the visit, especially the pro-Iranian groups.

USA soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division fire artillery in support of Iraqi forces fighting Islamic State militants from their base east of Mosul, Iraq, April 17, 2017. "I'm going to a war zone", he had said. Trump noted the USA initially getting involved in Syria for "three to four months", which appeared to be a reference to the U.S. supporting the Syrian rebels against Bashar al-Assad's regime in 2011.

"Iraqis will respond with a parliamentary decision to oust your (US) military forces".

The drawdowns - and the abrupt way that they were announced - helped lead to the resignation of Trump's defense secretary, Jim Mattis, who has been one of the administration's heavyweights.

'We're no longer the suckers, folks, ' the president said of the decision to start packing up.

But Trump stressed during his visit that he had no intention of pulling troops out of Iraq, which he said could be used as a future base "if we wanted to do something in Syria". But speculation had been mounting that he would finally make the gesture following his controversial plan to slash troop levels in Afghanistan and his order to withdraw entirely from Syria.

According to the pool report of the event, held in a dining hall at the base, a man called Kyu Lee told Trump he was the chaplain for SEAL Team Five. "If I will say this, if you take ISIS and if we see something happening with ISIS that we don't like, we can hit them so fast and so hard, they won't, they really won't know what the hell happened", he said.

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