US Vice President Mike Pence visits Iraq



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US Vice President Mike Pence visits Iraq



US Vice President Mike Pence visits Iraq to persuade Iraqi Kurds to enjoy US support after President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria has been criticized as US betrayal by Kurdish allies.

Pence's visit, which included a meeting with Iraqi President of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani and a telephone conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, also served to support U.S. troops ahead of Thanksgiving, which the United States celebrates next Thursday.



The Vice President and his wife, Karen, served a traditional meal during a visit to U.S. troops.

Turkey launched an offensive in northeast Syria last month after Trump's abrupt decision to withdraw all 1,000 US troops from the area. Pence negotiated a short-term truce with Ankara so that Kurdish fighters could withdraw from the area.

The aim of the agreed truce was to alleviate the crisis triggered by Trump's decision, which has been criticized by both Democrats and Republicans as a betrayal of Kurds, US allies in the fight against the Islamic State.

Pence's visit to the semi-autonomous region in Iraq on Saturday was to express respect for the Kurdish victims and to confirm US support and partnership for the Kurdish fighters.

“I take the opportunity to recall, on behalf of President Donald Trump, the strong US-Kurdish ties that have emerged from wars in the region,” Pence told Barzani during the meeting.

Pence first landed northwest of Baghdad and spoke by phone with Abdul Mahdi about unrest and protests over corruption that shook the country.

Hundreds have been killed since early October in protests in Baghdad and southern Iraq. Protesters want to demolish political elite over corruption and dependence on foreign powers at the expense of Iraqis suffering from poverty and poor health care.

US Vice President Mike Pence visits Iraq

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