President Donald Trump's impromptu visit to Iraq on Wednesday has sparked outrage among Iraqi lawmakers, who condemned the presidential cameo as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.
Trump surprised the nation on December 26 by dropping in on American peacekeeping forces stationed in the Al Anbar Province. marking his first such trip.
Two of Iraq's dominant parliamentary bodies slammed Trump's visit, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
An emergency session of parliament was called by Islah parliamentary bloc leader Sabah al Saadi “to discuss this blatant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and to stop these aggressive actions by Trump who should know his limits: The U.S. occupation of Iraq is over.”
The presence of U.S. troops faces opposition from both ends of the Iraqi political spectrum.
Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, Islah's head and an opponent of Iran, wants the U.S. occupation of Iraq to end. Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the Shi'ite Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, enjoys the sympathy of Tehran and threatened to push the American military out by force.
"A visit to a US military base without taking into account diplomatic norms reveals the reality of the American project, al-Khazali tweeted. "The response of Iraqis will be by the decision of the parliament to remove your military forces against your nose and if you do not come out we have the experience and the ability to get it out in another way that your forces have come out humiliated In 2011."
زيارة #ترامب لقاعدة عسكرية أمريكية بدون مراعاة الأعراف الدبلوماسية يكشف حقيقة المشروع الأمريكي في #العراق رد العراق… https://t.co/JFZzXu7GD9— قيس الخزعلي (@قيس الخزعلي)1545858510.0
Islah's rival bloc, Bina, described Trump's visit in a statement as "a flagrant and clear violation of diplomatic norms and shows his disdain and hostility in his dealings with the Iraqi government." The president's stopover “places many question marks on the nature of the U.S. military presence and its real objectives, and what these objectives could pose to the security of Iraq," Bina said.
Some Americans like the idea of bringing our troops home from Iraq.
@NBCNews Great news. America soldiers can come back the USA to go to school and build the community and do whatever… https://t.co/4rYqFm6E2B— Lilian Kattelmann (@Lilian Kattelmann)1545923615.0
@NBCNews Please @realDonaldTrump withdraw a large percentage of US Troops from Iraq, as the lawmakers are all but k… https://t.co/3abe8BIPa2— ... (@...)1545923279.0
Others, however, note that Trump's freewheeling presidency is affecting our allies and making the world less safe.
@NBCNews That’s what I don’t understand, he’s withdrawing from Syria an active war zone but not Iraq which is relat… https://t.co/Qlcs6GNKMR— Ilona Mitchell (@Ilona Mitchell)1545922746.0
@NBCNews If this article doesn't tell all Americans( GOP) that trump is destroying our countries national security then nothing will!— Pamela ( I don't do dms anymore) (@Pamela ( I don't do dms anymore))1545922357.0
@NBCNews Umm....shouldn't they have mentioned the visit to irag's leader a few seconds b4 it happened? Just as a courtesy, of course.— Linda Clawson (@Linda Clawson)1545924548.0
@fadedcalic0jack @NBCNews ISIS was defeated. Giant orange man said so.— Peter Kroth (@Peter Kroth)1545922531.0
@NBCNews WHAT A FOOL. He could have met with the leader of Iraq but instead spent 3 perilous hours lying to the tro… https://t.co/rqxu2S1Z6x— marcia smilack (@marcia smilack)1545922412.0
Beyond all that, reports have emerged that Trump and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had a “disagreement over how to conduct" a meeting between the two leaders, which culminated with Abdul Madhi's office rejecting Trump's offer to meet at Ain al-Asad military base.
One resident of Baghdad, on the other hand, was a bit more indifferent.
“We won’t get anything from America,” said Mohammad Abdullah. “They’ve been in Iraq 16 years, and they haven’t given anything to the country except destruction and devastation.