Published: Thu, December 27, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump visits troops in Iraq

Trump visits troops in Iraq

The Islamic State group, which once controlled swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, has been driven mostly into hiding and Trump said on Wednesday: "We've knocked them out". "We're respected again as a nation".

No wonder some Twitter users suspected that "doing the right thing for the troops" was far down on Trump's list of reasons to make the trip to Iraq. And as such, the commander in chief was fulfilling what is viewed as an essential duty in paying them a surprise Christmastime visit.

"I made it clear from the beginning that our mission in Syria was to strip ISIS of its military strongholds", Trump told troops clad in fatigues at al-Asad Airbase west of Baghdad.

Critics argue that the decision could undercut US leverage in the region and undermine diplomatic efforts to the end the Syrian civil war, now in its eighth year.

Following his Iraq visit, Mr Trump tweeted: "Melania and I were honored to visit our incredible troops at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq".

He said that Turkey had agreed to fight against and get rid of any remaining pockets of IS in Syria.

"If you would have seen what we had to go through in the darkened plane with all window closed with no light anywhere - pitch black", he said. The US presence in Syria was not meant to be "open-ended", he said, adding that other wealthy nations should pay for rebuilding Syria.

"I think a lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking". The move prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis and even calls for a military coup among some of Trump's critics.

Trump's withdrawal decision may boost ties with Ankara
The fallout over McGurk's departure and the Syria withdrawal brought sharp rebukes from former officials and some conservatives. The pocket is home to about 15,000 people, among them 2,000 IS fighters, according to USA military estimates.

As with prior presidential trips to war zones, Trump's Iraq visit was conducted with some secrecy to help ensure his safety.

President Trump and the first lady during a hangar rally at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Wednesday. Obama visited troops and their families at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay during every Christmas of his presidency.

"We are spread out all over the world".

Just hours after NBC News claimed that President Donald Trump would not visit USA troops during the Christmas season, Air Force One was wheels up on its way to Iraq.

For former President George W. Bush, the tradition began in 2003 and ran through the remainder of his presidency.

UPDATE [12/26/2018, 5:01 p.m. EST]: This afternoon, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump had indeed visited military troops, arriving at Al Asad Air Base near Baghdad on Wednesday morning.

Trump left behind a slate of troubles in Washington, including a partial government shutdown and an unsteady economy.

Trump campaigned for office on a platform of ending US involvement in foreign trouble spots, such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Like this: