In Shafaaq

On an unannounced visit, Trump’s deputy and his defense minister arrive at a military base in Iraq

An Iraqi security source revealed the arrival of US Vice President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Asper on Saturday night at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province on an unannounced visit.

The source said in a special statement to Shafak News, that US Vice President Mike Pence arrived this afternoon at Ain Al-Assad Air Force Base, while US Defense Secretary Mark Esber later arrived at sunset.

The source added that Pence and Esber’s visit comes  in order to review the process of setting up and activating the Patriot defense system and to inspect their country’s forces and the international coalition.

It was not immediately clear if the two US officials would meet Iraqi officials.

The Washington Post reported, on Saturday, that Patriot defense systems were activated in Iraq to protect American forces from bases that were attacked in the past, which claimed the lives of soldiers from the international coalition against ISIS.

And the US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esber, announced earlier this year that the United States is working with Iraq to deploy the Patriot air defense system after the Iranian strike on the Iraqi military bases where the American forces are stationed.

The United States has about 5,000 soldiers in Iraq to train and advise Iraqi security forces in their fight against extremist groups such as ISIS, and to provide protection for those forces.

Patriot systems consist of highly sophisticated radars and interceptors that can destroy a ballistic missile while it is flying.

A US official said earlier that two batteries arrived at Ain al-Assad base in Anbar province, and a silk base in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, adding that two other batteries are still in Kuwait pending their transfer to Iraq. Source