President Trump makes surprise Christmas visit to troops in Iraq

Posted December 28, 2018

"A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking", Trump said of his decision on Wednesday in remarks to a small group of reporters traveling with him.

The Bina bloc, Islah's rival in parliament and led by Iran-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, also objected to Trump's trip to Iraq.

Trump arrived back in Washington in the pre-dawn hours today, capping a 29-hour and six-minute trip to the conflict region conducted under the cover of night.

Although Hertling also admitted that presidential visits generally create excitement among US forces, he raised specific concerns about "lies" the president told about military paychecks and the Islamic State (or ISIS). "They assured me that we still had a tight hold on the information".

Iraqi security forces have been conducting frequent raids and arresting alleged members and leaders of the Islamic State in recent months, underscoring how the fight against the militants has shifted from combat to intelligence operations.

Mattis announced his resignation last Thursday, a day after Trump made a decision to withdraw roughly 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, posting on Twitter that the United States had defeated the Daesh terrorist group in the Arab country.

Trump's unannounced visit to Iraq followed in the footsteps of two of his predecessors, Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama, who both made surprise trips to see troops.

Trump landed at an airbase west of Baghdad after dark Wednesday, leaving behind a government shutdown and other upheaval at home.

In between, media outlets that had earlier trumpeted Trump's supposed non-visit to the troops were spinning the news that he had, in fact, visited by noting that it was his first visit to a war zone since taking office. "We're respected again as a nation".

"Dealing with Iraq and its sovereignty in this way will harm the Iraqi-US relations, and the countries of the region and the world should know that a strong and sovereign Iraq is in the interests of security and stability in the region and the world".

"It's time to get our young people out", Trump said.

The president's decision to exit Syria stunned national security advisers and allies, including Iraq, and prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. However, as IJR Red reported, Trump hadn't broken the tradition. "And also, by the way, everybody and her aunt, just so I won't be criticized". Approximately 5,000 USA troops are stationed in Iraq as part of the coalition against the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) group. But the mission of the roughly 5,200 US troops deployed to Iraq is to support government forces in their fight against the Sunni extremist group, which wouldn't need to continue if a lasting victory had been achieved. "We'll be watching them very, very closely, the remnants of ISIS".

After the brief visit, when Air Force One had left Iraqi airspace, Trump posted a video on his Twitter feed. White House officials went silent.

"We can use this as a base if we wanted to do something in Syria", he said.

Saedi added that the withdrawal of US forces from Syria is not a justification to keep American troops in Iraq.

During his visit, Trump spoke by phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the Associated Press reports.

Iraqi leaders declared an end to combat operations against IS a year ago but the country's political, military and economic situation remains uncertain. "It's been more than 10 years", he continued.

On Dec. 15, the US -led coalition launched an airstrike in support of Iraqi troops who were chasing IS fighters toward a tunnel west of Mosul. He commended service members in a tweet upon returning to D.C.