Iraqi political and paramilitary leaders condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq on Wednesday as a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, and lawmakers said a meeting between Trump and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was canceled due to a disagreement over venue.
Sabah al Saadi, the leader of the Islah parliamentary bloc, called for an emergency session of parliament “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 Bina bloc, led by the Hashd Al-Shaabi leader Hadi al-Amiri, also objected to Trump’s trip to Iraq.
“Trump’s visit is a flagrant and clear violation of diplomatic norms and shows his disdain and hostility in his dealings with the Iraqi government,” said a statement from Bina.
Abdul Mahdi’s office said in a statement that U.S. authorities had informed Iraq’s leadership of the president’s visit ahead of time. The statement said the Iraqi prime minister and U.S. president talked by telephone due to a “disagreement over how to conduct the meeting.”
Iraqi lawmakers told Reuters that the pair had disagreed over where their planned meeting should take place: Trump had asked to meet at the Ain al-Asad military base, an offer which Abdul Mahdi declined.
Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the powerful Asaib Ahl al-Haq paramilitary group said on Twitter, “Iraqis will respond with a parliamentary decision to oust your (U.S.) military forces. And if they do not leave, we have the experience and the ability to remove them by other means that your forces are familiar with.”
Iraqi political circles also criticized Trump’s statements about using the US military bases in Iraq to launch operations against Syria.