Pence Reassures Iraqi Kurds in Surprise Visit

Iraqi leaders 'unaware' of visit, as Pence didn't come to Baghdad

Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced visit to Iraq over the weekend, meeting with Iraqi Kurdish officials and reassuring them of US support going forward. He also spoke briefly with Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi by phone.

The visit focused on assuring the Kurdish forces of US support going forward after the ISIS war. This assurance probably would have meant more, had Iraq’s central government not already reacted to a Kurdish separatist referendum with a military invasion, and the US not chosen to ignore that offensive.

The Pence visit is likely to also annoy the central government, however, as they reported that they were “unaware” of Pence’s visit, and Pence conspicuously avoided Baghdad during the trip, taking time only for a phone call to the PM.

Other recent US visits to Iraq have raised tensions with the central government, with the sign that the US considers meeting government officials a very low priority, and goes into Iraq unwelcomed and without informing officials.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.