Trump acknowledges security concerns over Iraq visit

Donald Trump visits US troops in Iraq for first trip to a conflict zone

Donald Trump visits US troops in Iraq for first trip to a conflict zone

At long last, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania paid a visit to USA troops stationed overseas, after a secret overnight flight to Iraq.

US President Donald Trump made his first trip to Iraq, spending a few hours with US troops at al-Asad airbase, west of Baghdad.

"President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas", Sanders posted. The statement said the Iraqi prime minister and USA president talked by telephone due to a "disagreement over how to conduct the meeting".

Mr Trump will have to continue this fight upon his return to the White House.

The President and his wife posed for photographs with U.S. military personnel during the flying visit to the military base.

Trump spent three hours at a USA air base meeting with American troops on an unannounced visit Wednesday. Before heading to Florida for Thanksgiving, Trump vowed he would visit troops, but did not specify a date or specific location.

The Trump administration's withdrawal plans, which USA military commanders on the ground in Afghanistan have not received yet, have caused worries in the region. "And if they do not leave, we have the experience and the ability to remove them by other means that your forces are familiar with", he tweeted.

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 U.S. special forces to head for the exit.

"We are spread out all over the world. Frankly, it's ridiculous", Trump added.

Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, an Iraqi Shia group, said that the presence of U.S. troops breached the sovereignty of Iraq. "Make it 10%. Make it more than 10%.' Because it's been a long time, it's been more than 10 years".

Trump spent about three and a half hours on the ground, visiting troops, meeting United States officials, and taking a few questions from reporters.

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Shimiri said Trump's visit "violated several diplomatic norms". "The Americans are in Iraq (unlike in Syria) on somewhat legal grounds as they support the local government's struggle against the militants", Kosachev said.

Now Iraqi politicians are slamming the visit, especially the pro-Iranian groups.

"(The generals) said again, recently, can we have more time?

"Trump's disrespect of Iraq's sovereignty will not go unpunished", it said, adding it would "not allow Iraq to be a base used to threaten other countries".

Iraqi lawmakers told Reuters that the pair had disagreed over where their planned meeting should take place: Trump had asked to meet at the Ain al-Asad military base, an offer which Abdul Mahdi declined.

"Iraqis will respond with a parliamentary decision to oust your (US) military forces".

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced his resignation shortly after the announcement that Trump was pulling back the nation's roughly 2,000 soldiers in the country.

The Islamic State group, which once controlled swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, has been driven mostly into hiding.

According to a transcript released by the White House, he thanked troops for the "near-elimination" of IS, and said some United States troops from Syria "will come here for a stay, but a lot of them are going to be going back home".

Trump's trip to Iraq came at a turbulent time for his administration, particularly in regard to military policy. "I spoke with Bibi", he said, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Air Force One touched down at the Al Asad Air Base after an overnight flight from Washington DC.

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