- Austin most senior official in Biden administration to visit Iraq
- Says troops to remain at invitation of Iraqi government
- Trip comes ahead of 20th anniversary of U.S.-led invasion
- Also aims to support Sudani’s push back against Iranian influence in country -experts
Pentagon chief, in unannounced visit to Iraq, pledges continued U.S. troop presence
BAGHDAD/ERBIL, Iraq March 7 (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, making an unannounced trip to Iraq on Tuesday nearly 20 years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, said Washington was committed to keeping its military presence in the country.
The 2003 invasion led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and created instability