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Trump makes surprise visit to USA troops in Iraq

Trump makes surprise visit to USA troops in Iraq

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

Morale-boosting presidential visits to United States troops in war zones have been a longstanding tradition in the years following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Similarly, the Bina parliamentary bloc denounced Trump's trip to Iraq, saying, it was "a flagrant and clear violation of diplomatic norms and shows his disdain and hostility in his dealings with the Iraqi government". Such a move would reflect one of the strategies proposed by the Pentagon after he announced his decision to withdraw troops from that country.

The president has been criticized throughout his presidency for failing to travel to troops in the Middle East. He said Ain al-Asad could be used for USA air strikes inside Syria.

"We don't want to be taken advantage of any more by countries that use us and use our incredible military to protect them". We are spread out all over the world.

Revealing identities "even if it's the commander-in-chief, would prove a propaganda boom if any of this personnel are detained by a hostile government or captured by a terrorist group", Malcolm Nance, a former US Navy intelligence specialist told Newsweek. "Frankly, it's ridiculous", he added.

After making a holiday visit to U.S. troops in Iraq, Donald Trump posted a video on Twitter of himself posing with Navy Seals - revealing the special ops team's deployment in the country, which is typically kept secret.

He said: "I don't know if you folks are aware of what's happening".

"What was supposed to pass for a face-saving story - that Trump refused to meet the PM in Baghdad insisting that the meeting take place at the Ain Al-Asad base - was viewed by many Iraqis as further proof of Trump's contempt for Iraq", said Fanar Haddad, an Iraq expert at the National University of Singapore's Middle East Institute.

Donald and Melania Trump arrive on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday after making a surprise visit to troops in I
Trump visits U.S. troops in Iraq, his first trip as president to a combat zone

In Iraq following the visit, pro-Iran lawmakers called for the government to expel United States forces.

Iran-backed groups that make up a key bloc in the Iraqi parliament reacted angrily.

Mr Trump said it was because of U.S. military gains that he can withdraw 2,000 forces from Syria.

The Iraqi response, he said, "would be the parliament's decision to remove your military forces" unilaterally.

The Syria decision triggered the resignations of defence secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the special envoy to the global coalition fighting the Islamic State, whose defeat President Trump has cited as his reason for pulling out of Syria.

The president told reporters that he wants Iraq to still be used as a base to stage attacks against the Islamic State if needed - and added that the U.S. can attack ISIS "so fast and so hard" that they 'won't know what the hell happened'. IS has lost a significant amount of territory in Iraq and Syria but is still seen as a threat. No other top officials or members of Congress were along.

They travelled there unannounced "late on Christmas night" to thank troops for "their service, their success and their sacrifice", it said.

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

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