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After Trump's visit, Iraqi lawmakers demand ouster of U.S. troops

By
Nicholas Sakelaris
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump return to the White House early Thursday, after making a surprise visit to Iraq. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump return to the White House early Thursday, after making a surprise visit to Iraq. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A day after a surprise visit by U.S. President Donald Trump, Iraqi lawmakers are demanding U.S. troops leave their country, as they will in Syria.

A bipartisan vote by the Iraqi Parliament is expected Thursday to expel U.S.troops from the country. Many Iraqi lawmakers say they're tired of the ongoing presence of U.S. troops, who have been in the country since 2003.

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"Parliament must clearly and urgently express its views about the ongoing American violations of Iraqi sovereignty," said lawmaker Salam al-Shimiri.

Lawmakers were especially frustrated by Trump's visit Wednesday, calling it arrogant and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Trump's secret visit was his first to a combat zone as president.

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Last week, Trump announced plans to withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. The decision angered some military and political leaders, and preceded the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Trump is also said to be considering a partial withdrawal in Afghanistan.

Some military experts have called for six more months in Syria, but Trump refused.

"I said, 'Nope. Nope,'" Trump said. "I said, 'I gave you a lot of six months.' And now we're doing it a different way."

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Trump has not announced any plans to remove any of the 5,200 troops in Iraq and has never made any promises that he will. His three-hour visit at the air base Wednesday didn't include any visits with Iraqi officials, though he did talk to Prime Minister Abel Abdul-Mahdi by phone.

Abdul-Mahdi said in a statement "differences in points of view" caused a face-to-face meeting to be scrapped.

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