Sunday, 18 August, 2019

Iraqi Lawmakers Vexed by Trump’s Surprise Visit to Military Base Near Baghdad

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump make a surprise visit to Iraq. File President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump make a surprise visit to Iraq. File
Patty Aguilar | 27 December, 2018, 13:42

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis abruptly resigned following the announcement, and Trump's decision rattled allies around the world, including in Iraq.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump made an unannounced visit to Iraq on Wednesday, leaving behind a partially shuttered USA government to greet American troops helping hold off extremists in a country where thousands of Americans died during the recent war. She styled the top with black trousers and a pair of tan lace-up combat boots. Later, NBC News reported the president's "surprise" visit to US troops stationed in Iraq, but highlighted that it was "his first journey to an active combat zone since he took office".

See all the shoes Melania Trump wore so far in 2018.

Trump has also taken criticism from France and other foreign partners as well as senior figures in his own Republican Party.

"We can use this as a base if we wanted to do something in Syria", he said.

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

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Indonesia asks people to avoid coast near erupting volcano
Anak Krakatoa is an island that emerged in the crater left by Krakatoa, whose massive 1883 eruption killed at least 36,000 people. When she spotted high, fast-moving waves launching toward the shore, she ran to her auto and managed to get inside.

Lava, ash spew from new fracture on Italy’s Mount Etna
The airport said that while it would be closed, some airspace would be reopened to allow four flights an hour to arrive . A blanket of volcanic ash also covered nearby villages, which ground planes to a halt at Catania airport temporarily.

The 2,000 United States troops in Syria could return home because of military gains against ISIS, he said.

"They had plenty of people that came up, they said, 'You know, we could make it smaller".

As president, it is technically within Trump's job description to declassify that sort of information, but it does violate protocol created to keep secret locations of special forces secret. It is his first visit with troops stationed in a troubled region. I thought readers would find it of interest.

After departing Iraq, Trump stopped over at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where he and Melania shook hands and greeted some of the hundreds of troops gathered in a hangar.

Trump had planned to spend Christmas at his private club in Florida, but stayed behind in Washington due to the shutdown. It continues to experience sporadic bombings, kidnappings and assassinations, which most people attribute to IS. "You've had enough time", he said he told the top brass.

In Afghanistan, Trump wants to withdraw about half of the 14,000 soldiers locked in a war against Taliban guerillas that has long resembled a stalemate. Pence met with Afghan leaders and visited with US troops stationed in the country.

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