Trump skips meeting with Iraqi leader as Baghdad fumes over visit

President Donald Trump speaks at Al Asad Air Base Iraq during his surprise visit to troops on Wednesday Dec. 26 2018

President Donald Trump speaks at Al Asad Air Base Iraq during his surprise visit to troops on Wednesday Dec. 26 2018

President Donald Trump's visit to Iraq on Wednesday ended with controversy as the president lied about a military pay raise, exposed sensitive military information and prompted Iraqi lawmakers to demand that American troops leave their country.

The move was taken following a telephone call with President Erdogan of Turkey, with an apparent deal struck that would see the Turkish military handle the remnants of Islamic State, freeing up some 2,200 largely USA special forces to head for the exit.

Last week, Trump surprised the world when he suddenly announced that the U.S. was pulling out its troops from Syria.

"We want to have strong borders in the United States".

"Again their approaches are different, with Trump clutching his wife's upper arm tightly enough to make his knuckles whiten while Melania appears to barely lay her splayed hand on his bicep with no sign of holding or clutching".

Critics said the USA exit from Syria, the latest in Trump's increasingly isolationist-style foreign policy, would provide an opening for IS to regroup, give Iran a green light to expand its influence in the region and leave US -backed Kurdish forces vulnerable to attacks from Turkey. We've knocked them silly, ' he said.

The first indication that Trump was visiting with the troops overseas came Wednesday morning as aviation experts noted interesting activity about a mysterious US government plane. Trump sought to highlight the achievements of the four year war on ISIS, including what he said was the liberation of 20,000 square miles of territory and 3 million civilians. The Syria withdrawal, which Trump announced in a tweet with little or no advance notice or consultation with the Cabinet, led to the abrupt resignation of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. The US president stayed at the air base west of Baghdad for more than three hours.

Donald Trump's unannounced Christmas visit to USA troops in Iraq succeeded as a morale-boosting exercise, judging from the standing ovation the president got.

He had previously said that USA forces could use Iraq as a staging ground for targeted forays across the border into Syria.

He told The Associated Press in an interview in October that he "will do that at some point, but I don't think it's overly necessary". He later began to signal that such a troop visit was in the offing.

"I got you a big one", Trump told the USA troops at Al Asad Air Base on Wednesday, according to CNN. He and the first lady spent about 15 minutes there talking with the troops. And we give frankly a lot more than that if you look at the books. The strike destroyed the tunnel entrance and killed four IS fighters, according to the USA military in Baghdad.

Earlier in the month, Iraqi forces called in an airstrike by USA -coalition forces to destroy a tunnel used by IS militants in the Atshanah mountains in north Iraq.

"I spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu".

But Iraq is a special case, according to Iraqi political analyst Hisham al-Hashemi. "The government has a duty to expel USA troops as a violation of the country's sovereignty", Nujaba spokesman Hashim al-Mousawi told Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen television channel.

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