For the first time since he became president two years ago Donald Trump visited American troops in a conflict zone – Iraq.
His surprise three-hour stop was at an air base west of Baghdad the day after Christmas.
He didn’t meet any of the Iraqi leadership but invited Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to the White House in the New Year.
Trump used the opportunity to defend the withdrawal of troops from Syria saying it was made possible by the defeat of ISIL.
But critics have condemned what they see as the president’s increasingly isolationist foreign policy saying it will give ISIL a chance to regroup.
Trump says the work of U.S. forces is complete and regional forces will ensure ISIL remains dismantled.
It’s reported Trump also wants to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan from 14,000 to 7,000.
What is Trumps’ strategy for the region and what message is he trying to send?
Presenter: Mohammed Jamjoom
Ali Al-Nashmi, Political Analyst
Peter Galbraith, Former U.S. Ambassador
Afzal Ashraf, University of Nottingham
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