Abadi meets Trump at White House for new strategy to defeat the militant group of Iraq and Syria
Abadi’s remarks followed his first face-to-face meeting at the White House with Trump, who took office on Jan. 20 pledging a new strategy to defeat the hardline militant group that seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria in 2014. Even before Trump took office, Iraqi forces recaptured a string of major cities from Islamic State, shrank the militant group’s finances and significantly stemmed the flow of foreign fighters, all with the support of U.S.-led coalition air strikes and military advisers. A White House statement about the meeting said both Trump and Abadi agreed that “terrorism cannot be defeated by military might alone”, and the two leaders called for deepening commercial ties, including in the energy sector. At the forum, Abadi called for more financial contributions from the international community. Abadi is in Washington this week ahead of a gathering of world leaders of a coalition fighting Islamic State. In many ways, his visit comes at a high point for him after successfully appealing to Trump to remove Iraq from a list of countries included in a revamped travel ban. Trump decided this month’s revised order temporarily banning the entry of travelers from several Muslim-majority nations would not include Iraq because of its cooperation with the United States. Both the initial Jan. 27 travel ban and the revised version have been blocked by federal courts. Detractors argue the ban discriminated against Muslims in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom. Trump says the measure is necessary for national security to protect the country from terrorist attacks.