Almost no one knows that US President Donald Trump visited an air base in west of Baghdad, Iraq for about 3 hours on Wednesday (December 26, 2018). This visit was made to meet US soldiers who were on duty in Iraq. His arrival was kept secret even though there was notice to the Iraqi Prime Minister's Office just hours before the plane landed. Evidence that the landing was in secrecy can be seen from the presidential aircraft lights, Air Force One,which was turned off and the window cover was lowered.
Donald Trump, despite coming to Iraq, did not meet up with the Iraqi leader. Talks with Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi were only carried out by phone. Both of them did not meet face to face because there was a matter of meeting arrangements. However, the Iraqi Prime Minister Office said the President of the United States was invited to Baghdad. The group in the Iraqi Parliament condemned Trump's arrival. Both the Islah group and its rival Bina consider Trump's visit a violation of sovereignty.
In front of the US soldiers, Donald Trump conveyed the plan to withdraw US troops from Iraq. Trump doesn't want to delay anymore and states the US has been fighting for a long time for other countries. The US also does not want to play the role of world police. Yet, the statement was not in line with what was conveyed by White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She said there had been no plans to withdraw US forces in Iraq.
Trump continues the tradition of US President visiting troops in the conflict zone. But his mission is to withdraw US forces who have retained their position in Iraq by order of former President Obama. In some policies, Trump seemed to deliberately cut some of the things Obama had done.
The question is, whether Trump is serious about withdrawing US troops from Iraq. If that happens and the ISIS forces are not in Iraq anymore, the country can begin to build its ruins from the war. Hopefully a peaceful Iraq in the coming year can be realized soon.