President Donald Trump speaks at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq…
Baghdad – Hamza Mustafa
Saturday, 29 December, 2018 – 07:45 –
Shiite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr launched a scathing attack on the Iraqi government Friday after US President Donald Trump kept his visit to al-Asad Air Base in Anbar province secret.
In a statement, the cleric regretted that the Iraqi government and its politicians have yielded to such practices.
Sadr’s statement was a clear sign of differences between Iraqi blocs and Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.
Several members of the Fatah bloc described the Prime Minister’s position as “courageous” for refusing to meet Trump at al-Asad Base and insisting that the two men should sit together in Baghdad.
An informed Iraqi politician said Trump’s visit to Iraq does not express a unified national position.
“Some politicians are trying to settle scores with the US, others just decided to ride the wave, while the rest try to please foreign parties by taking hostile positions from Washington,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The political source said “Sunnis believe they still need the US, although some of them have joined blocs with close ties to Iran.”
While Iraqi Shiite parties had a unified position regarding Trump’s visit to Iraq, Kurdish and Sunni forces kept silence.
Trump and First Lady Melania surprised troops at al-Asad base for his first trip to a war zone as president. However, he did not visit Baghdad and did not meet with any Iraqi official.
Following Trump’s visit, some politicians from Iraq’s Parliament called for a vote to expel US troops and promised to schedule an extraordinary session to debate the matter.
Political science professor at Baghdad University Khaled Abdelilah told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Sunnis and Kurds have no tense relations with the US.
“There are old demands that call on Parliament to decide on the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country. This proves that Iraqi politics is still fragile, and that the country lacks a unified foreign policy,” Abdelilah said.