Trump Visit to Iraq Spurs Calls for Troop Withdrawal

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Trump Visit to Iraq Spurs Calls for Troop Withdrawal

Over the Christmas holiday, President Trump made a surprise visit to U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. This move prompted several members of the Iraqi parliament to call for the expulsion of American military personnel, an idea that has support across the Iraqi political spectrum.


Facing criticism that he was not spending Christmas with members of the military, President Trump flew to Iraq the day after Christmas to spend three hours at an Iraqi air base meeting with some of the 5,200 troops stationed in the country. This was the president’s first visit to a military zone. As part of the visit, he did not meet with any Iraqi officials, something the prime minister called a breach of diplomatic norms.


In response to this visit, members of the Iraqi parliament called for the expulsion of U.S. troops. This proposal is uniting a diverse group of Iraqi politicians who are divided on other issues. These lawmakers have promised to call a special session of the parliament to debate this issue. An Iraqi militia leader even threatened to expel the troops by force if the government did not vote to expel them.


President Obama withdrew U.S. military personnel from Iraq in 2011, but returned a few thousand to the country in 2014 to help Iraq defeat ISIS. President Trump recently announced that he was withdrawing the U.S. troops in Syria who had been fighting ISIS. The president has said that he has no plans to withdraw the troops in Iraq.


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