Iraqi lawmakers criticise Trump visit as blow to Iraqi sovereignty

Adjust Comment Print

President Trump and Melania made their second unannounced visit to USA troops overseas around 8pm ET as they visited troops on the German base of Ramstein.

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

Iraqi officials said a planned meeting on Wednesday between Trump and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was cancelled due to a disagreement over where it should take place. He warned in a tweet that parliament would respond to the visit by "forcing the United States troops to leave Iraq".

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

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

USA troops are stationed in Iraq as part of the coalition against the Islamic State group.

Still, the US and Iraq developed considerable military and intelligence ties in the war against IS, and they continue to pay dividends in operations against militants gone into hiding. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

But Iran's growing influence in the country has worked to diminish pro-US sentiments and pro-Tehran groups now make up a key bloc in the Iraqi parliament. "Frankly, it's ridiculous", he added. Surprisingly enough, attention of the U.S. media was largely focused on the trivia, including an "awkward" kiss between the Trumps, as well as Melania's fashion choice. "It's time to get our soldiers out, and it's time to get our young people out", Trump said, sitting next to military leaders and advisors. Does anybody here? Is anybody here willing to give up the big pay raise you just got?

More news: Tsunami wave sweeps Indonesian pop band off stage during show
More news: Seahawks outduel Chiefs to fight their way back to the playoffs
More news: ‘Zero’ box office collection: Shah Rukh Khan movie struggles despite festive release

Al-Shimiri said Trump's visit "violated several diplomatic norms".

Trump's visit would be a "great moral boost to the political parties, armed factions, and others who oppose the American presence in Iraq", Iraqi political analyst Ziad al-Arar said.

Now Iraqi politicians are slamming the visit, especially the pro-Iranian groups. He said Ain al-Asad could be used for USA air strikes inside Syria following his announcement last week to withdraw US troops from there. "I'm going to a war zone", he had said. Al-Sadr has called for curbing USA and Iranian involvement in Iraqi affairs.

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

"We're no longer the suckers, folks", Mr Trump told American servicemen and women at a base in western Iraq. IS has lost a significant amount of territory in Iraq and Syria but is still seen as a threat.

He said the USA could use Iraq as a regional launching pad to carry out operations against the ISIS and Syria. Once at the base, the president treated everyone to a heaping serving of the usual bravado and lies, claiming he was right to withdraw from Syria because ISIS has "been knocked silly" (defeating them will still take years) and that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will finish mopping them up for us, without offering clear evidence he agreed to any such thing.

Trump's decision to go to Iraq the day after Christmas is part of an attempt to change the narrative after being slammed for his reversal of Syrian policy and accusations that he made the decision without consulting the Pentagon or State Department.

Comments