Officials in Iraq slam Trump's unannounced visit to base

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

The president's trip was unannounced and shrouded in secrecy.

Trump made a surprise trip to al-Asad Airbase in western Iraq Wednesday, his first visit to troops in a war zone since becoming president.

The US has an estimated 14,000 troops, or somewhat more, in Afghanistan, engaged in counter-terrorism operations and aiding and advising Afghan forces, essentially training the country's armed forces, a supremely tough task, sources said, of managing and overcoming ethnic affiliations. Such information is usually kept a secret. "God Bless the USA", Trump wrote in a tweet that accompanied a video more than a minute long. "The United States can not continue to be the policeman of the world", he repeated to reporters, describing a long-term vision of detached isolationism embodied by his controversial decision last week to pull thousands of US troops from Syria and Afghanistan. "We're respected again as a nation".

Mr Trump's trip to Iraq offered an opportunity for the commander in chief to defend his policy.

The Iraq trip provided some distraction from a rising tide of domestic political problems, including a government shutdown caused by Trump's row with the US Congress over funding for a US-Mexico border wall. "In fact, we could use this as a base if we wanted to do something in Syria".

USA troops are stationed in Iraq as part of the coalition against the Islamic State terror group. The militant group, also known as ISIS, has lost almost all its territory in Iraq and Syria but is still seen as a threat.

Trump also drew criticism in the United States for repeating a previously debunked claim that he had secured military members a pay raise for the first time in 10 years, when in fact the Pentagon has increased pay each year.

"Trump should know that Iraq is not an American state and Iraqi prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi should bear responsibility", Iraqi lawmaker Faleh al-Khazali said in a statement.

More news: Trump pulls the plug on Afghanistan

"If you don't withdraw, we have the experience and the ability to remove them in another way", he added.

Ahmed al-Assadi, another Iraqi lawmaker, said that "the demand for the withdrawal of American forces has become a basic requirement that must be implemented as soon as possible".

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.

Another battle on Mr Trump's hands is with the Democrats over his desire to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

In a statement, it said: "A disagremeent over how to conduct the meeting led to the meeting being replaced by a telephone conversation".

During the call, Trump invited Abdel Mahdi to visit Washington and he accepted, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Despite frequent praise for the US military and the appointment of military leaders to Cabinet positions, it took Trump nearly half of his first term as president to visit American soldiers in a conflict zone.

"What was supposed to pass for a face-saving story - that Trump refused to meet the PM in Baghdad insisting that the meeting take place at the Ain Al-Asad base - was viewed by many Iraqis as further proof of Trump's contempt for Iraq", said Fanar Haddad, an Iraq expert at the National University of Singapore's Middle East Institute.

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