Iraqi lawmakers criticize Trump visit as blow to Iraqi sovereignty

Donald Trump Iraq Christmas visit

Donald Trump visits US troops in Iraq for first trip to a conflict zone

Several lawmakers and political parties in Iraq have demanded the departure of American troops from their country.

Iraq declared IS defeated within its borders in December 2017, but Trump's trip was shrouded in secrecy, which has been standard practice for presidents flying into conflict areas.

Trump, making his first presidential visit to troops in a troubled region, said it's because the US military had all but eliminated IS-controlled territory in both Iraq and Syria that he made a decision to withdraw 2,000 forces from Syria. Once he determines the path the USA should pursue in these combat zones, the president should speak to the American people in a broadcast address to explain where we go from here. Such information is usually kept a secret.

Iraqi political and militia leaders condemned US President Donald Trump's surprise visit to US troops in Iraq on Wednesday as a violation of Iraq's sovereignty, and lawmakers said a meeting between Trump and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was canceled due to a disagreement over venue. "The United States can not continue to be the policeman of the world", he repeated to reporters, describing a long-term vision of detached isolationism embodied by his controversial decision last week to pull thousands of USA troops from Syria and Afghanistan.

"We are spread out all over the world", the president said. "We're respected again as a nation".

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He said Pakistan will continue to play whatever role it can play to support the Afghan peace process, the Dawn report said. It is not clear if United States peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad or the Afghan government had been aware of Trump's plans.

According to the pool report of the event, held in a dining hall at the base, a man called Kyu Lee told Trump he was the chaplain for SEAL Team Five. Over the weekend, Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State, accelerated his resignation, telling colleagues he could not in good conscience carry out Trump's policy of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria.

Falih Khazali, a former militia leader turned politician allied with Bina, accused the United States of wanting to increase its presence in Iraq.

Though Isis has lost a significant amount of territory in Iraq and Syria, it is still seen as a threat.

Iraqi lawmakers were smarting after the US president left three hours after he arrived without meeting any officials, drawing unfavorable comparisons to the occupation of Iraq after the 2003 invasion.

The prime minister's office said "differences in points of view over the arrangements" prevented the two from meeting but they discussed security issues and Trump's order to withdraw USA troops from Syria over the phone.

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Trump has made disentangling the USA from its wars a priority since his 2016 election. The statement said the Iraqi prime minister and USA president talked by telephone due to a "disagreement over how to conduct the meeting".

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

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that for security reasons, the White House was only able to invite the prime minister two hours before the scheduled time of the meeting and that the prime minister was in a different part of Iraq and unable to attend.

His office also did not say whether he had accepted an invitation to the White House.

President Trump's decision not to withdraw our troops from Iraq indicates he has a longer timeline for fulfilling his campaign pledge to wind down the USA military commitment there. "I said, 'no, make it 10 per cent - make it more than 10 per cent.'" - remarks Wednesday at al-Asad base.

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It said in a statement that "an aerial defence system was activated against an anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria". It added that the Israeli warplanes fired the missiles from Lebanese airspace.

Qais al-Khazali, the leader of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq group, expressed the Iraqis' resolve to purge the country of American forces.

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