Against the backdrop of escalating tension between Washington and Tehran, as the United States seeks to counter Iran’s influence in the Middle East and the delay of the formation of the Iraqi government amid growing controversy between the al-Islah and al-Bina blocs , US President Donald Trump made a surprise visit to US troops deployed in Iraq and not the Iraqi government on Wednesday on the occasion of Christmas Day that it was first visit to a conflict zone after almost two years of his presidency and days after he announced his troop withdrawal from Syria. The US presidential plane landed at the base of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province after an all-night trip from Washington with First Lady Melania Trump and a small group of aides, presidential security officials and a number of journalists.
The US president did not meet with any Iraqi officials as he left Iraq after his surprise visit to inspect his country’s troops deployed in the country. some explained the lack of meeting with Iraqi officials that the Iraqi government was not aware of the visit and this explanation is not true , according to information obtained by the Rawabet Center , the Iraqi government , led by Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, is aware of this visit, especially since 3 pm yesterday afternoon . Some saw this visit as a derogation of Iraqi sovereignty because he did not meet with Iraqi officials in Baghdad. This is also is not true. In the American military norms , US military bases around the world are an extension of the territories of United States, noting this visit is not part of diplomatic visit that was prepared in advance , but is a military visit inside the American house .and the evidence of the credibility of this analysis that after a the end of the very short visit of Trump, and on his way back to the United States, he stopped for about an hour and a half at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where he shook hands and stopped to take pictures with some of the hundreds of soldiers lined up inside an aircraft hangar. Trump then went back to Washington. He did not meet Angela Merkel, one of Washington’s allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the most powerful economy in the European Union. The Germans dealt with this visit in accordance with the common sense we mentioned earlier.
The question that arises in this context is why some want to register positions on Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on the backdrop of Trump’s visit. It is enough that he has refused to meet Trump at the military base and invited him to visit Baghdad, while the recent past reminds us that when the former US President George W. Bush visited Iraq and in a secret visit , Iraqi officials and politicians went to the US military base, why no one commented on that going ? Why this disturbance from Trump’s visit while most of the political forces are not bothered from Qasim Sulaimani ‘s repeated secret visits to Iraq ?. If some see Suleiman as an ally of Iraq, some others will see Washington as an ally of Iraq.
During his visit, he told reporters at the base of Ain al-Assad that he had no intention of withdrawing from Iraq, adding that he might use his troops there as a base “if we want to do something in Syria ‘. Commenting on the visit, the Information Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister said that the US authorities informed their Iraqi counterpart of the desire of President Donald Trump to visit Iraq on the evening of December 26 and the Iraqi government welcomed the request. The office added in a statement that the visit came to congratulate the new Iraqi government, and to visit the US military working in the coalition forces in support of Iraq in the fight against the organization of the Islamic state. The statement pointed out that it was supposed to be there a formal reception and a meeting between Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and the US president, but the diversity of viewpoints concerning the organization of the meeting led to replace it with a phone call, dealt with the latest developments in the region, especially after Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria. The statement added that Abdul Mahdi welcomed the US president in Iraq and invited him to visit Baghdad and the US president called on the Iraqi prime minister to visit Washington. The statement concluded that the two sides agreed to continue to strengthen the joint relations between the two countries. Trump told Adel Abdul Mahdi that Washington is staying in Iraq and expanding.
Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies