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On visit to Iraq, President Trump defends withdrawal from Syria

On visit to Iraq, President Trump defends withdrawal from Syria”

Speaking from the Ain al-Asad air base, just west of the capital Baghdad, Trump, who announced the pullout of United States soldiers from Syria last week, said Washington had no plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq. The First Couple were on their way back from an army base in Iraq when they stopped to refuel and meet service members carrying MAGA hats who had waited up until 4am local time.

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 decision to pull US forces from Syria, however, stunned national security advisers and USA allies and prompted the resignations of Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, who was not on the trip, and the US envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic extremist group.

The president told reporters that he wants Iraq to still be used as a base to stage attacks against the Islamic State if needed - and added that the USA can attack ISIS "so fast and so hard" that they 'won't know what the hell happened'. 'We're no longer the suckers, folks, ' the president said of the decision to start packing up.

"We like to win, we are going to win", US President Donald Trump told the troops at Al-Asad airbase in central Iraq.

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump make their way across the South Lawn of the White House after returning on Marine One from their surprise trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq to visit troops in Washington DC USA 27 December 2018

Kosachev stressed the necessity at all levels to tell Washington that military action in a neighboring country without the consent of its leadership and the UN Security Council's mandate amounts to coercive intervention in a sovereign state's affairs and fulfilling the mission of a global policeman, which no one assigned to Washington.

The head of the pro-Iran Asaib Ahl al-Haq group, Qais al-Khazali, tweeted that "Trump's visit to a USA military base without regard for diplomatic norms reveals the reality of the American project in Iraq".

But as a number of USA commentators noted, armed forces personnel have in fact received a pay rise in each of the past 10 years.

Some of his advisers had suggested 2, 3 or 4%, he said, adding that he had made clear that this was not enough: "I said: 'No".

"Dealing with Iraq and its sovereignty in this way will harm Iraqi-US relations", he said.

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"Melania appears to keep their torsos apart as they kiss, stretching her neck in to achieve face-closeness instead", she went on, claiming that this kissing style would be a norm for a greeting or farewell kiss between colleagues or friends, rather than spouses.

Trump also said he had no plans to withdraw the 5,200 USA forces in Iraq. It's not entirely clear when Trump planned the visit, whether he chose to go after the decision to leave Syria on December 19, or before.

"So did I have a concern? Finally, I said, 'Okay, it's now time for others to take over that fight.' We don't want to be there".

"The nations of the region must step up and take more responsibility for their future", said Mr Trump, who said there would be a "strong, deliberate and orderly withdrawal" of USA forces from Syria.

Trump´s troop drawdowns - and the abrupt way that they were announced - helped trigger the resignation of his defence secretary, Jim Mattis, who has been one of the administration´s heavyweights.

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New Delhi, with billions of dollars in developmental investment, also banks on the US-led worldwide coalition forces for much of its reconstruction effort in the country, which started years ago on the watch of president George W Bush and continue through president Barack Obama's tenure to president Trump.

The Iran-backed Harakat al-Nujaba said the presence of USA forces in Iraq was a "violation of the country's sovereignty" and it was "now the duty of the government to expel American forces".

Mr Trump, who speaks often about his support for the American military, had faced criticism for not having visited USA troops stationed in combat zones as he nears his two-year mark in office.

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