Date :Friday, December 28th, 2018 | Time : 08:16 |ID: 81872 | Print

Iraqi lawmakers demand US withdraw troops after surprise Trump visit

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SHAFAQNA | Nasibeh Yazdani : Iraqi lawmakers demand US withdraw troops after surprise Trump visit since this trip has violated several diplomatic norms and Iraqi sovereignty.

The unannounced Trump’s trip to Iraq came after several days he received a lot of criticism  from his top military officials over  his decisions to withdraw the U.S. troops in Syria and Afghanistan and moved Defense Secretary James Mattis ‘s resignation to Dec. 31 from February for criticizing Trump’s withdrawal policy.

Trump spent about three and a half hours on the ground after Air Force One touched down at the Al-Asad Air Base, west of Baghdad, after an overnight flight from Washington with first lady Melania Trump, his national security adviser, John R. Bolton, a small group of aides and Secret Service agents, and a pool of reporters, smh told.

Visiting troops abroad is a presidential tradition. But nearly two years into his presidency, Mr. Trump had yet to visit any troops abroad, drawing criticism from various corners, particularly after he canceled a visit last month to an American cemetery outside Paris during a World War I battlefield commemoration.

In a speech to troops, Trump doubled down on his decision to withdraw troops from Syria and his longtime argument that America’s military power is being exploited by other nations.

“America shouldn’t be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price,” Trump said. “And sometimes that’s also a monetary price, so we’re not the suckers of the world. We’re no longer the suckers, folks. And people aren’t looking at us as suckers.”

“The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world,” said Trump, Washington Post reported.

Mr Trump said the US could use Iraq as a forward base if “we wanted to do something in Syria”, Reuters news agency reports.

President Donald Trump said he won’t relent on the partial government shutdown unless Congress funds his proposed border wall, and wouldn’t say whether he’d accept less than $5 billion for the project.

“Whatever it takes,” he told reporters accompanying him on visit to U.S. troops in Iraq. “We’re going to have a wall. We’re going to have safety”, Fortune reported.

According to CNN National Security Analyst Sam Vinogradwhile the president physically made the journey, he seemed to have confused a campaign rally for a presidential visit with those spending Christmas away from their families to keep America safe.

She then noted that presidential trips are usually aimed at telling “the military how much their service matters to the country and why their ongoing mission is so critical to the safety and security of the American people.”

Trump’s trip, though, she said, was a bit different.

“The president seems to have confused in some way this troop visit with a campaign rally by raising things like the border wall and things he has done for them,” she continued on.

Also Congressman Denny Heck (D- WA) criticized President Donald Trump for getting political during his surprise trip to troops in Iraq, mediaite reported.

“I think it’s totally appropriate for a president to go to war theater and extend to the troops the heartfelt wishes and prayers, frankly, of the American people. But I think what is deeply disappointing is that when he went to Iraq, he used it as an occasion to advance his specific policy objective as new policy to withdraw from Syria. And I think that’s highly inappropriate use of a visit like this. He ought to be there first, foremost and last and only for the troops that are there” , Heck said in an interview CNN’s Jim Acosta.

After making a holiday visit to US 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.

Trump’s video shows him with service members who appear to be part of Seal Team Five, whose faces are not covered or blurred, Newsweek reported.

Defense department officials told the magazine that typically the faces of individual special operations service members are blurred in official photos and videos to shield their identities.

Malcolm Nance, a former US navy intelligence specialist, told Newsday that the video was a break from protocol that usually shields the identities of special forces members deployed in a combat zone, The Guardian told.

Trump was supposed to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi but in the end they only spoke by telephone. Abdul Mahdi’s office said there was “a disagreement over how to conduct the meeting.”

Iraqi legislators told Reuters news agency that the two leaders had disagreed over where their planned meeting should take place: Trump had asked to meet at the Ain al-Asad military base, an offer Mahdi declined, ALJAZEERA reported.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the meeting could not be arranged due to security concerns and the short notice of the trip, but she said they had a “great call” and that Abdul Mahdi accepted Trump’s invitation to the White House in the New Year, Reuters Told.

Iraqi lawmakers demand US withdraw troops after surprise Trump visit

Iraqi lawmakers have demanded US forces leave the country in the wake of a surprise visit by Donald Trump, which politicians denounced as arrogant and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

Politicians from both blocs of Iraq’s parliament called for a vote to expel US troops and promised to schedule an extraordinary session to debate the matter.

“Parliament must clearly and urgently express its view about the ongoing American violations of Iraqi sovereignty,” said Salam al-Shimiri, a lawmaker loyal to the populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Shimiri said Trump’s visit “violated several diplomatic norms”.

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

“Trump’s visit is a flagrant and clear violation of diplomatic norms and shows his disdain and hostility in his dealings with the Iraqi government,” said a statement from Bina.

“America has had a negative impact on Iraq through its interventions,” said Ghayib al-Amayri, a member of a powerful parliamentary alliance aligned with Moktada al-Sadr, the nationalist Shiite cleric. “We are against the policy of Trump and against any intervention in Iraqi affairs”, nytimes reported.


Read more from Shafaqna:

Trump visit US troops in Iraq for first trip to a combat zone

Trump faces criticism for not visiting troops overseas

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