Editorial Date: 2018/12/26 23:10
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump arrived in Iraq on an unannounced visit to meet US troops there, the White House said Wednesday night.
Trump and his wife Melania arrived at the Ayn al-Assad air base in Anbar province in western Iraq, where US troops are based.
The plane carrying Trump landed at 19:16 local time at the air base.
Trump and Melania spent three hours at the base and talked to the soldiers on Christmas Eve.
The US president denied plans to withdraw troops from Iraq, saying that “he may take from this country a base for attacks inside Syria.”
Trump defended the decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, saying “many people will be convinced by my thinking.”
Trump made his decision on Syria abruptly, ignoring the advice of top aides and military commanders, including Defense Secretary James Matisse, who resigned the next day.
Trump said during the visit that he is not in a hurry to choose a new defense minister, and that the acting minister may remain in office for a long time.
Trump said he had told his advisers, “Let’s get out of Syria,” but he was persuaded to stay before he decided to bring the 2,000 soldiers home. “I think many people will be convinced of my thinking and it’s time to start using our minds.”
A source close to the agency (Al-Furat News) that “Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi was aware of the visit of US President Donald Trump to Iraq.”
This is Tramp’s first visit to Iraq since he took office as president two years ago.