Jared Kushner visits Iraq, discusses battle against Daesh

US President Donald Trump's senior adviser, Jared Kushner, is in Iraq to assess the battle against Daesh and to meet with Iraqi officials.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R), Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2nd R), and US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner (3rd L) in Baghdad, Iraq April 3, 2017.

Updated Apr 4, 2017

President Donald Trump's son-in-law and top aide Jared Kushner is in Iraq to meet with top Iraqi officials to discuss the fight against Daesh.

He arrived on Monday; the trip’s timing is critical for Trump who slammed his predecessor's policies in the region and even accused Barack Obama of founding Daesh.

Trump said Obama "did not get it," and vowed to obliterate the terror group on the battlefield.

The visit also comes as Iraqi forces battle to retake Mosul from Daesh with support from US-led air strikes that have recently been criticised for causing civilian deaths in the city's west.

US Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the US military's Joint Chiefs of Staff said he invited Kushner and Tom Bossert, White House homeland security adviser, to accompany him so they could hear "first-hand and unfiltered" from military advisers about the situation on the ground and interact with US forces.

After arriving, Kushner, who has no previous experience in government, joined Dunford for meetings with the US ambassador to Baghdad and the senior American commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend.

Dunford's delegation also met Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al Abadi, whose office said their talks focused on the ongoing battle to retake the city of Mosul from Daesh and US-led coalition assistance, including aiding civilians displaced by the fighting.

Dunford and Kushner were also to meet Iraqi Defence Minister Irfan al Hayali, ministry spokesman Colonel Laith al Nuaimi said.

Trump, who campaigned on defeating Daesh, has yet to announce any dramatic shift in war strategy.

Now that he is president, Trump's policy appears to be no different to that of Obama, which US and Iraqi officials say has been largely successful so far in uprooting Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

Kushner, 36, is part of Trump's innermost circle and has been given domestic and foreign policy responsibilities, including working on a Middle East peace deal.

Battle for Mosul

As the battle to defeat Daesh in Mosul rages on, nearly 290,000 people have managed to escape, according to the UN.

The loss of Mosul would be a major defeat for Daesh.

It was from the northern Iraqi city that its leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi declared a so-called caliphate spanning parts of Iraq and Syria nearly three years ago.

What happens to the US military role in Iraq if Mosul is recaptured remains unclear.

Influential Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr has previously called on Iraq's government to order the withdrawal of US and allied forces after the battle of Mosul is over.

TRTWorld and agencies