Pompeo makes surprise visit to Baghdad; meets Iraqi leadership

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise visit to Baghdad and met Iraqi prime minister, the Kurdish officials and couple of other leaders to demonstrate support for a key ally.

Pompeo is on a Middle East tour and scheduled to meet leaders in the region to reassure US partners. His visit comes after abrupt decision of president Trump to withdraw troops from Syria believing Islamic State terrorists have been defeated.

Pompeo said the primary focus of his meetings with Iraqi leaders was to strengthen Iraqi government to prevent IS resurgence.

Just two weeks ago Trump too made a surprise visit to Baghdad to meet American troops based in western Iraq. His visit was widely criticized by Iraqis for not meeting the country’s leadership.

The president’s visit provoked renewed calls by lawmakers.

Meanwhile, Iraqi military officials have put their views that drawdown in forces will affect improving security environment of Iraq as it shares vast border with Syria.

A statement released by State Department reveals Pompeo discussed about the recent territorial defeat of IS. He talked about energy independence to counter Iranian influence.

Currently Iraq relies heavily on Iran for gas to power electricity plants.

US wants Iraq to avail gas from American companies.

Paul Linus