Can't be world's policeman: Donald Trump tells US troops in Iraq

Updated: 28 December, 2018 10:49 IST | Agencies |

Iraqi lawmakers condemned visit and demanded US troops' exit from country

US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump has defended his decision to withdraw troops from the war-torn Syria, saying America cannot be the world's policeman, as he made his first unannounced trip to Iraq.

President Trump and First Lady Melania secretly left Washington on Christmas night and visited Iraq on Wednesday to deliver holiday greetings to US combat troops. "They travelled to Iraq to thank our troops for their service, success, and sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Trump delivered a speech to around 100 uniformed service members at an air base west of Baghdad. "The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world," Trump said, adding that the US could use Iraq as a regional launching pad to carry out operations against the IS and Syria.

Trump vowed that his administration will give a "harsh response" if America faced another terrorist attack. "It's not fair when the burden is all on us, the United States," he said, as he defended his decision to withdraw troops from Syria and let regional countries, Turkey in particular, to complete the work of finishing the job and Saudi Arabia to invest in development of the country.

"I will tell you that I've had some very good talks with (Turkish) President Erdogan who wants to knock them out also and he'll do it. And others will do it too. Because we are in their region. They should be sharing the burden of costs and they're not," he said. Last week, Trump surprised the world when he suddenly announced that the US was pulling out its troops from Syria.

Iraq demands US troops' withdrawal
Iraqi lawmakers demanded US forces leave the country in the wake of a surprise visit by President Trump that politicians denounced as arrogant and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Politicians called for a vote to expel US troops and promised to schedule an extraordinary session for it.

US offers safety, job security to Taliban
The US is eager to persuade the Taliban to join the peace process in Afghanistan and is offering a safety network that includes job opportunities for the insurgents, a media report said. "Although some members of the Taliban may be weary of fighting and ready to lay down their weapons, they will only rejoin society if they believe their safety and the safety of their families are guaranteed, and if they have an opportunity to earn enough money to provide for their families," the report said, quoting a Pentagon plan sent to Congress this week, that also spoke of the interests of Afghanistan's neighbours.

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First Published: 28 December, 2018 10:00 IST

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