Iraqi lawmakers demand United States withdraw troops after surprise Trump visit

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During a surprise visit to the Al Asad Airbase in Iraq on Wednesday, Trump gave a speech to cheering troops, signed some soldiers' red Make America Great Again hats, and posed for photos and videos - including with a group in full special forces gear. By speaking at Al-Asad in western Iraq he sought to reach out directly to the American military. Especially in Kabul, which depends on U.S. security presence to ward off the Taliban, who control nearly half the country now. The militant group, also known as ISIS, has lost almost all its territory in Iraq and Syria but is still seen as a threat.

According to the pool report from his visit to the USA troops, a Navy officer called Kyu Lee told the President during his visit that he was the chaplain for SEAL Team Five, to which Mr Trump responded: "in that case, let's take a picture".

President Trump spoke with Iraqi prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi before his visit, but they could not come to an agreement on a meeting, due to some sort of disagreement over where the meeting would take place.

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

Some Iraqi politicians have criticized Trump's visit to Iraq and described it as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Such a move would reflect one of the strategies proposed by the Pentagon after he announced his decision to withdraw troops from that country.

Mattis was supposed to continue leading the Pentagon until late February but Trump moved up his exit and announced that Patrick Shanahan, deputy defence secretary, would take the job on January 1 and he was in "no rush" to nominate a new defence chief.

According to Trump, the flight into Iraq was unlike anything he´d previously experienced.

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It was set to Lee Greenwood's God Bless the U.S., a song that the President frequently plays at his campaign rallies. The 2,000 United States troops in Syria could return home because of military gains against ISIS, he said.

Abdul-Mahdi's office said in a statement after Trump's visit that "differences in points of view" over arrangements led to a face-to-face meeting between the two leaders being scrapped.

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

Despite his order for a withdrawal of US forces from Syria, the president made it clear that he is not abandoning the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Syria and Iraq. We've knocked them silly, ' he said.

"We just got you a big pay raise". He also said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to battle "any remnants of ISIS" in Syria, which shares a border with Turkey. "I had concerns for the First Lady, I will tell you", Trump, who made the trip along with his wife Melania, told reporters. I know from firsthand experience - having served for three years in combat zones in the Middle East and South Asia - the extraordinary impact of a visit from the commander-in chief. We are in countries most people haven't even heard about.

Still, after defeating IS militants in their last urban bastions previous year, Iraqi politicians and militia leaders are speaking out against the continued presence of US forces on Iraqi soil. The strike destroyed the tunnel entrance and killed four IS fighters, according to the US military in Baghdad.