On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump made a surprise visit to Iraq and met with US troops at Al Asad Air Base in the west of Baghdad. This was Trump’s first visit to US troops overseas.
On the way back Trump met with US forces at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where his flight stopped for refueling. This was Trump’s second visit to US forces overseas in a day.
During his visit to Iraq, Donald Trump defended his decision to withdraw troops from Syria and said that some of the troops will stay at Al Asad base. Trump asserted that US can use Al Asad Base for its future operations in Syria if needed.
Trump said, “In fact we could use this as the base if we wanted to do something in Syria”. He said that he has given enough time to his generals and now is the time to leave Syria. Trump said, “You can’t have any more time. You’ve had enough time”.
Pres. Trump thanks U.S. troops during his surprise visit to Iraq “for the near elimination of the ISIS territorial caliphate in Iraq and in Syria.”
— ABC News (@ABC) December 27, 2018
He said, “We are spread out all over the world. We are in countries most people haven’t even heard about. Frankly, it’s ridiculous. The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world”.
Trump also criticized allies for not paying enough to US for their security and alleged that many countries are just using US. He said, “We don’t want to be taken advantage of any more by countries that use us and use our incredible military to protect them. They don’t pay for it and they’re going to have to”.
Trump’s meeting with Iraqi PM was also cancelled due to disagreement on venue of meeting. Iraqi PM declined the offer to meet with Trump at Al Asad Air Base.
Iraqi political and militia leaders condemned Trump’s visit to Iraq citing it the violation of sovereignty of Iraq and vowed to respond by passing resolution in parliament to oust US forces from Iraq.
زيارة #ترامب لقاعدة عسكرية أمريكية بدون مراعاة الأعراف الدبلوماسية يكشف حقيقة المشروع الأمريكي في #العراق
رد العراقيين سيكون بقرار البرلمان بإخراج قواتك العسكرية رغما عن انفك وإذا لم تخرج فلدينا الخبرة والقدرة لإخراجها بطريقة أخرى تعرفها قواتك التي اجبرت على الخروج ذليلة في 2011
— قيس الخزعلي (@Qais_alkhazali) December 26, 2018
The leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, Qais al-Khazali wrote on twitter, “Iraqis will respond with a parliamentary decision to oust your (US) military forces. And if they do not leave, we have the experience and the ability to remove them by other means that your forces are familiar with”.
The leader of the Iraqi’ parliament’s Islah bloc, Sabah al Saadi said, “The US occupation of Iraq is over”.