Trump makes unannounced visits to American troops in Iraq, Germany

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump make a surprise visit to Iraq. File

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump make a surprise visit to Iraq. File

During Trump's visit to the base, he paused to take a selfie with U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Kyu Lee (seen above with Trump).

"We want peace and the best way to have peace is through strength", Trump told troops wearing camouflage fatigues in a hangar as he concluded his visit.

The president also stated - incorrectly - that he had authorized the first military pay increase in a decade.

The Iranian-backed Islamic Dawa Party, Mahdi's political party, said in a statement released Thursday that President Trump's visit to one of Iraq's military bases occurred "in a way that has no respect for the country sovereignty or the norms of diplomacy".

He left Washington amid huge turmoil in the U.S. But he ultimately went ahead with the scheduled pullout in 2011 after Iraqi's political leaders rejected terms the US sought for legal protections for the USA troops that would have remained. With secrecy typical of such presidential visits, the president's plane flew into Iraq on Wednesday with lights out and shutters drawn, coming overnight from Washington. No wonder he longs for big military parades, which display all the color and drama the armed forces can provide without the risks of unpleasantness.

John Bolton, Trump's neoconservative national security advisor, who sat a few feet from the President as he spoke in Iraq, had disapproved of the decision.

Malcolm Nance, a former US Navy intelligence specialist, told Newsweek posting the video ran against traditional procedures that are meant to protect the identities of US special-operation forces in a combat zone.

Air Force One landed at Joint Base Andrews, Md., at 5:12 a.m. EST, The Associated Press reported.

During Thanksgiving weekend in 2003, President George W. Bush wanted to spend part of the holiday with active service members in Iraq.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"It's time to get our young people out", Trump said.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was supposed to continue leading the Pentagon until late February, but Trump moved up his exit and announced that Patrick Shanahan, deputy defense secretary, would take the job on January 1.

"I was fully prepared to turn this baby around and come home", he said. "We could make it 4%,'" Trump claimed.

He promised a "strong, deliberate and orderly withdrawal" of forces from Syria. He told reporters that he had planned to make the trip three or four weeks ago, but word started getting out and forced him to postpone it. After the combat mission ended in 2010, some troops remained behind to help stabilize the country.

The US-led coalition continues to launch airstrikes on Daesh positions in Syria, in a campaign that was not approved by either the United Nations or the Syrian government. The Pentagon is also said to be developing plans to withdraw up to half of the 14,000 American troops still serving in Afghanistan.

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