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28 December, 2018

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In a first, Trump makes surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq

In a first, Trump makes surprise visit to U.S. troops in IraqTrump was looking for some positive headlines after several days of turmoil over his decisions to withdraw the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, pull out half of the 14,000-strong contingent in Afghanistan, and push out Defense Secretary James Mattis two months earlier than planned for criticizing his policies. Accompanied by first lady Melania Trump and speaking at the Al Asad Air Base west of Baghdad, Trump defended the withdrawal from Syria and said it was made possible by the defeat of Islamic State militants. ?Our presence in Syria was not open ended and it was never intended to be permanent," he told troops wearing camouflage fatigues in a hangar at the base.

26 December, 2018

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Attackers hit Libya foreign ministry in Tripoli

Attackers hit Libya foreign ministry in TripoliGunfire and at least one explosion rocked Libya's foreign ministry on Tuesday as attackers stormed the building in the capital Tripoli, witnesses and government media said. The assault was carried out by several "terrorist attackers", according to the Libyan unity government's official TV channel, which cited foreign and interior ministry sources. Torn apart by power struggles and undermined by chronic insecurity, Libya has become a haven for jihadists since the ouster and killing of Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

24 December, 2018

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US envoy to anti-IS coalition resigns after Trump's Syria decision

US envoy to anti-IS coalition resigns after Trump's Syria decisionBrett McGurk, the US special envoy to the anti-Islamic State group coalition, has resigned, a State Department official said Saturday, capping a chaotic week that saw the departure of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Donald Trump's stunning decision to pull troops from Syria. McGurk's resignation, effective December 31, comes on the heels of Mattis's decision to quit the Trump administration over key disagreements with the US president, notably the Syria withdrawal. Just last week McGurk, a Barack Obama appointee whom Trump kept on, said "nobody is declaring a mission accomplished" in the battle against IS -- just days before the president blindsided politicians and allies with his announcement of victory against the jihadist movement.