Trump finally visited the troops overseas - and it was an embarrassing mess


At the Iraqi military base, Trump sought to defend his "America first" policy of pulling back from multinational alliances, including what to many Americans seem like the endless wars of the Middle East.

Bina said Trump's visit "places many question marks on the nature of the United States military presence and its real objectives, and what these objectives could pose to the security of Iraq".

"The excuse made the initial infraction all the worse", said Haddad.

He voiced strong USA support to unite political factions in Iraq, including integrating minority Sunnis into the government.

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

National Security Advisor John Bolton, who was one of the few advisors he confided the Syria policy change to before making it, came with him.

The previous day, the president paid a surprise visit to the Al-Asad Air Base west of Baghdad along with the first lady, Melania Trump. On December 19, the U.S. leader announced his decision to start pulling out American troops from Syria, stressing that the Islamic State terror group (outlawed in Russia) had been defeated and this was the only reason why the USA forces had remained there under his presidency.

Trump has previously said he had a legitimate bone-spur diagnosis, though he has never provided any documentation.

"Iraq is important because of its strategic location".

"Our presence in Syria was not open ended and it was never meant to be permanent", he added.

Khazali was jailed by British and United States forces from 2007 to 2010 for managing sections of the Shi'ite insurgency against the occupation during those years.

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Relations between Iraq and the USA have seen sizeable shifts since the 2003 U.S. invasion and the overthrow of longtime ruler Saddam Hussein.

Now, however, the USA president's oversized bomber jacket has inspired that latest wave of derision and memes, with the pop culture references spanning the past three decades or more.

Those groups were angered by Trump's visit.

He had previously said that U.S. forces could use Iraq as a staging ground for targeted forays across the border into Syria.

The president added that Iraq could still be used as a base to stage attacks on IS militants in Syria if needed.

Speaking to some of the 5,200 USA troops based in Iraq, the President said some U.S. soldiers can now "return home to their families" after he opted to remove troops from Syria.

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

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Abdul-Mahdi accepted Trump's invitation to the White House during their call, though the Prime Minister's office has so far refused to confirm that.

These groups and their respective militias play a major role in maintaining security across much of Iraq, especially along the border with Syria.

Trump has had an uneven relationship with America's military.

In his unusually forcefully worded resignation letter, Mattis appeared to chide Trump when he stressed his own "strongly held" views on "treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors".