Navigator
Facebook
Search
Ads & Recent Photos
Recent Images
Welcome To Roj Bash Kurdistan 

Vice President Mike Pence in surprise visit to Kurdistan

A place to post daily news of Kurdistan from valid sources .

Vice President Mike Pence in surprise visit to Kurdistan

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Nov 23, 2019 9:28 pm

VP Pence made a
surprise visit to Iraq


Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced visit to Iraq on Saturday in the highest-level American trip since President Donald Trump ordered a pullback of U.S. forces in Syria two months ago

Image

Flying in a C-17 military cargo jet to preserve the secrecy of the visit to the conflict zone, Pence landed in Erbil to meet with Iraqi Kurdistan President Nechirvan Barzani. The visit was meant to reassure the U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State after Syrian Kurds suffered under a bloody Turkish assault last month following the Trump-ordered withdrawal.

Earlier, Pence received a classified briefing at Iraq's Al-Asad Air Base, from which U.S. forces launched the operation in Syria last month that resulted in the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and spoke by phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

Vice President Mike Pence meets with President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Nechirvan Barzani at Erbil International Airport in Erbil, Iraq on Saturday

Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen arrive for a surprise visit to Iraq on Saturday. They were welcomed by a Kurdistan President Nechirvan Barzani (second from left) in the VIP terminal at Erbil International Airport

Mike Pence makes surprise visit to Iraq to visit Nechirvan Barzani

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence are all smiles as they bring a turkey to serve to troops at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq on Saturday. The visit is Pence's first to Iraq and comes nearly one year since President Donald Trump's surprise visit to the country

It was Pence's second trip to the region in five weeks after Trump deployed him on whirling trip to Ankara, Turkey, last month to negotiate a cease-fire after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seized on the U.S. withdrawal to launch an assault on Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

Trump's move had sparked some of the most unified criticism of his administration to date, as lawmakers in both parties accused Trump of forsaking longtime Kurdish allies and inviting Russia and Iran to hold even greater sway in the volatile region.

Pence said he welcomes 'the opportunity on behalf of President Donald Trump to reiterate the strong bonds forged in the fires of war between the people of the United States and the Kurdish people across this region.'

A senior U.S. official said Pence's visit was meant both to reassure Iraqi Kurds who remain allied with the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State, as well as Americans who have long supported the Kurdish cause, that the Trump administration remained committed to the alliance. The visit was also designed to show Pence's focus on foreign policy as Washington is gripped by the drama of impeachment.

When the U.S. forces withdrew, Syria's Kurds - seeking protection from their number 1 enemy Turkey - invited Syrian government and Russian forces into parts of northeastern Syria where they had not set foot in years. More are now deploying along large parts of the border region under a Russian-Turkish deal, including to at least one former U.S. garrison in northern Syria.

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence wave as they take the stage to speak to troops at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Saturday, as part of an unannounced visit

Vice President Mike Pence greets troops at a mess hall at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Saturday and reassures troops about the U.S. commitment in the fight against ISIS

Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Mike Pence, meets with female troops Saturday at Erbil International Airport in Erbil, Iraq. It was part of a surprise, pre-Thanksgiving trip with her husband to Iraq

The Ankara agreement required the Kurds to vacate a swath of territory in Syria along the Turkish border in an arrangement that largely solidified Turkey's position and aimst.

Pence hailed the cease-fire as the way to end the bloodshed caused by Turkey's invasion, though he remained silent on whether it amounted to a second abandonment of America's former Kurdish allies, many of whom are branded as terrorists by Ankara. The deal includes a halt to American economic sanctions and no apparent long-term consequences for Turkey for its actions.

On Nov. 13, Trump feted Erdogan with a White House visit over the objection of a bipartisan group of lawmakers who argued Erdogan should be denied the honor of a West Wing visit in the aftermath of the invasion and because of his decision to purchase Russian-made surface-to-air missiles over the objection of NATO allies.

Barzani thanked Pence for the U.S. military support in the fight against ISIS, adding that his 'visit at this particular time is an important indication of your continued support to Kurdistan and Iraq.'

Weeks after declaring the near-complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, Trump decided that roughly 800 would stay to keep eastern Syria's oil fields from falling back into the hands of the Islamic State.

Vice President Mike Pence flashes a thumbs up to troops after delivering remarks at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq Saturday

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen arrive in Iraq with turkey and the trimmings in hand, helping troops celebrate Thanksgiving a few days early

Just years ago, the militant group seized control of vast stretches of Syria and Iraq, with its extremist ideology spreading from its self-declared 'caliphate' across the globe.

In March, American troops and Kurdish forces routed the last IS territorial holdings. But the militant group, which arose from the remnants of al-Qaida in Iraq after that group's defeat by U.S.-led forces in 2008, has ambitions to regenerate again. And it remains a dangerous threat in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.

Trump also agreed to keep about 150 U.S. troops at a base in southern Syria as a check on Iranian influence in the region.

While Trump has claimed that the U.S. was now 'keeping' the oil, Pentagon officials indicated the U.S. presence is not intended to improve the oil infrastructure, but to keep it in the hands of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

Pence said the U.S. and Kurdish alliance was meant to ensure that the Islamic State or another extremist group 'will not be able to gain a foothold in this region again.'

Pence, joined on the trip by his wife, Karen Pence, also greeted U.S. troops ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, serving turkey and accompaniments to hundreds of troops at the two locations.

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence help to serve a Thanksgiving meal to U.S. troops in a dining facility at Camp Flores on Al Asad Air Base, Iraq Saturday

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to troops while handing out a Thanksgiving meal at Camp Flores on Al Asad Air Base, Iraq on Saturday

'While you come from the rest of us, you´re the best of us,' Pence told service members in a dusty hangar at Al-Asad. He said the Trump administration is working to secure another pay increase for the armed services and suggested the ongoing impeachment inquiry was an impediment.

'Partisan politics and endless investigations have slowed things down in D.C.,' Pence said.

Pence's visit to Iraq comes as the country has been plagued by widespread anti-corruption protests. At least 320 protesters have been killed and thousands have been wounded since the unrest began on Oct. 1, when demonstrators took to the streets in Baghdad and across Iraq's mainly Shiite south to decry rampant government malfeasance and a lack of basic services despite Iraq´s oil wealth. The protests have exposed long-simmering resentment at Iran's influence in the country, with protesters targeting Shiite political parties and militias with close ties to Tehran.

Pence spoke by phone with Mahdi after the Iraqi leader declined an invitation to meet with Pence at the air base after security concerns prevented Pence from traveling into Baghdad.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller said Pence expressed support for a free, sovereign and independent Iraq - a subtle warning against Iranian influence in the country, which has weakened cooperation between the U.S. and Iraq.

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence serve turkey to troops at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Saturday. During the visit, the vice president also met with the Kurdistan region president and had a phone call with Iraqi's prime minister

Vice President Mike Pence touches down at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Saturday for a surprise visit

Upon landing in Iraq, Vice President Mike Pence takes a phone call from that country's prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi

Pence also encouraged the Iraqi government to show restraint with the protesters. According to one official, Mahdi expressed regret for the violence and cast it as growing pains for the country and its security services, more used to war than democratic protest.

Iraq's government has struggled to respond to the protests, and recent efforts by Parliament to pass reform bills fell short of calming the unrest. Parliament convened on Tuesday and voted on a bill to cancel the financial privileges of officials and conducted a first reading of a much-anticipated electoral reform bill, but these did not appease protesters.

The leaderless, mass protests aim to sweep aside Iraq's sectarian system imposed after the 2003 U.S. invasion and its political elite, including Mahdi, blamed for massive corruption.

U.S. officials assess that the protests won't subside unless Mahdi's government makes substantial concessions, potentially up to the resignation of the government and the calling of early elections.

Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen pose for a selfie with troops after a surprise visit to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq Saturday

After dishing out a Thanksgiving mea Saturday in Iraq, some troops share a moment with Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen

Pence's visit comes days after the release of hundreds of pages of purported Iranian intelligence documents detailing Iran's extensive influence in Iraq.

The unprecedented leak of 700 pages of what appears to be Iranian intelligence cables shows Tehran's efforts to embed itself in Iraq and co-opt the country's leaders, including paying Iraqi agents working for the United States to switch sides and infiltrate every aspect of Iraq's political, economic and religious life, according to a joint report by The New York Times and The Intercept.

The revelation came after dozens of demonstrators attacked the Iranian consulate in Karbala earlier in November, scaling concrete barriers and saying they rejected the influence of the neighboring country in Iraqi affairs.

The cables, written mainly in 2014-2015 at the height of the war against ISIS after it seized large swathes of Iraq and neighboring Syria, show heavy interference by Tehran to keep Baghdad a pliant client state.

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... -trip.html
Good Thoughts Good Words Good Deeds
User avatar
Anthea
Shaswar
Shaswar
Donator
Donator
 
Posts: 23367
Images: 573
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:13 pm
Location: Sitting in front of computer
Highscores: 3
Arcade winning challenges: 6
Has thanked: 6017 times
Been thanked: 726 times
Nationality: Kurd by heart

Vice President Mike Pence in surprise visit to Kurdistan

Sponsor

Sponsor
 

Return to Kurdistan Today News (Only News)

Who is online

Registered users: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot]

cron
x

#{title}

#{text}