Trump son-in-law Kushner visits Iraq

Washington: President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was in Iraq Monday with the top US military officer to meet with Iraqi leaders and review the fight against Islamic State, a military spokesman said Sunday.

General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asked Kushner and White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert to accompany him on the trip, Navy Captain Greg Hicks said in an emailed statement to AFP.

“General Dunford invited Mr Kushner and Mr Bossert to meet with Iraqi leaders, senior US advisors, and visit with US forces in the field to receive an update on the status of the counter-ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria,” Hicks said, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State group.

“As well as receiving briefings and updates, Mr Kushner is traveling on behalf of the president to express the president’s support and commitment to the government of Iraq and US personnel currently engaged in the campaign,” he said.

“Mr Bossert is traveling in his role as assistant to the president and will participate in meetings and briefings to reinforce the strong US-Iraqi partnership to defeat ISIS,” he added.

The United States is leading an international coalition fighting IS in Iraq and Syria.

Coalition-backed Iraqi forces have been engaged in a grinding battle for west Mosul since last month, prompting more than 200,000 civilians to flee the northern city, Iraq’s second largest.

Although Kushner has no previous experience in government, he has become one of the most powerful men in Washington as a trusted adviser to the president with a broad portfolio of responsibilities.

Valued by Trump for his discretion and loyalty, the baby-faced 36-year-old is officially a White House senior adviser with far-reaching influence over domestic and foreign policy.

His wife Ivanka, the 35-year-old first daughter, also plays a key role in advising her father.

A regular presence in the White House since Trump’s election, she officially became assistant to the president last week amid accusations about possible conflicts of interest involving the couple’s business interests, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.