Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced stop in Iraq on Wednesday as part of a larger tour of the Middle East in which he is reassuring partners of America’s presence in the region following President Donald Trump’s surprise decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
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Pompeo met with top Iraqi officials in Baghdad, including Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi and President Barham Salih, but did not take questions from the press.
“The Secretary underlined the U.S.commitment to Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and U.S. support for the new Iraqi government’s efforts to deliver stability, security and prosperity to all Iraqis,” the State Department said in a readout of Pompeo’s meeting with al-Mahdi. “The Secretary also discussed the recent territorial defeat of ISIS in Syria and the continuation of our cooperation with Iraqi Security Forces to ensure ISIS’ lasting defeat throughout the region.”
Pompeo’s tour of the Middle East includes planned stops in Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait.
Trump visited a U.S. air base in Iraq for several hours on the day after Christmas but did not meet with Iraqi officials.
During that visit, the president said the U.S. could still use bases in Iraq for its operations against ISIS in Syria. And officials have said the U.S. does not intend to pull its approximately 5,000 troops from Iraq, which have largely been focused on training and advising Iraqi Security Forces in their fight against terrorism.