Trump makes surprise visit to airbase in Baghdad to thank troops; Iraqis upset
Baghdad, Dec 27: US President Donald Trump never ceases to surprise people - pleasantly or unpleasantly. On Wednesday, December 26, Trump landed at an airbase to the west of Baghdad where he thanked the stationed American soldiers for their service but was criticised in return by Iraq's political and militia leaders who saw it as a breach of the West Asian nation's sovereignty.
Islah parliamentary bloc leader Sabah al-Saadi called an emergency session of the Iraqi parliament to discuss the "blatant violation" of Iraq's sovereignty and to stop "aggressive actions" undertaken by President Trump, Al Jazeera reported.
Islah is headed by Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shia leader who has long opposed the American presence in Iraq since the former administration of George W Bush toppled dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 over weapons of mass destruction and ties with al-Qaeda that proved to be non-existent.
Islah's rival Bina bloc which is led by Iran-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, also objected to Trump's visit to Iraq.
The US invasion in Iraq in 2003 that resulted to deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and saw the country sliding into chaos despite efforts to restore democracy on its soil and it was seen to be one of America's biggest foreign policy failures.
During his three-hour visit, Trump did not meet any Iraqi official and a scheduled meeting between him and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was cancelled and the two spoke over the telephone.
Trump did not meet any Iraqi officials during his three-hour long stay. A scheduled meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was scrapped and the two leaders talked instead by telephone.>
According to Reuters, Iraqi legislators said the two leaders failed to agree over the venue of their planned meeting. Trump had sought the meeting to be held at the Ain al-Asad military base which Mahdi declined.