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This visit, held at the Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq, should have been a moment of relative triumph and personal growth for the president, who had promised to make such a trip and who has attracted criticism for not having done so at a time in his presidency at which almost all of his post-World War II predecessors, including Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, had.

During the call, Trump invited Abdel Mahdi to visit Washington and he accepted, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. Neither president spent more than a few hours inside Iraq. Few in Iraq or elsewhere knew the US president was in the country until minutes before he left again.

US President Donald Trump speaks at a hanger rally at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, on December 26, 2018. But speculation had been mounting that he would finally make the gesture following his controversial plan to slash troop levels in Afghanistan and his order to withdraw entirely from Syria. This is no surprising as numerous pro-Iranian parties and groups have opposed the U.S. presence in Iraq, only asking for help against Islamic State, but not wanting a real American involvement.

"We're no longer the suckers, folks", he said. Let's go. Take more time.' Constantly giving them more time. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

One person even suggested that putting on Timberlands was a last-ditch effort by FLOTUS after getting critiqued for her other shoe choices - including the infamous "storm stilettos". "Frankly, it's ridiculous", he added.

Trips by US presidents to conflict zones are typically shrouded in secrecy and subject to strict security measures, and Trump's was no exception. "You did it by revealing their identities and locations on social media", wrote one user.

"You're modern day warriors", Trump said, praising the troops.

The prime minister's office said in a statement after Trump's visit that "differences in points of view" over arrangements led to a face-to-face meeting between the two leaders to be scrapped.

Bina said Trump's visit "places many question marks on the nature of the United States military presence and its real objectives, and what these objectives could pose to the security of Iraq".

Now Iraqi politicians are slamming the visit, especially the pro-Iranian groups. He would go on to lead the extremist group to expand into Syria, eventually leading the U.S.to send troops to that country, where they have been working with local forces since 2015.

Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the powerful Iran-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, said on Twitter: "Iraqis will respond with a parliamentary decision to oust your [US] military forces".

The Iraqi response, he said, "would be the parliament´s decision to remove your military forces" unilaterally. Trump has said IS militants have been eradicated, but the latest estimate is that IS still holds about 60 square miles (100 square km) of territory in that region of Syria, although fighters also fled the area and are in hiding in other pockets of the country.

Trump's trip came days after his sudden decision to withdraw all 2,000 USA troops from Syria, arguing that the Islamic State jihadist group had been defeated and that the United States was paying too much on foreign interventions.