Trump’s son-in-law, Kushner, flies into Iraq with top US general
BAGHDADU.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, flew into Iraq on April 3 with the top U.S. general to get a first-hand assessment of the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from U.S. commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders.
For Kushner, who has not been to Iraq before, the trip comes at a critical time as Trump examines ways to accelerate a U.S.-led coalition campaign that U.S. and Iraqi officials say has so far been largely successful in uprooting ISIL militants in Iraq and Syria.
The visit appears to demonstrate the far-reaching portfolio of Kushner, 36, who is part of Trump’s innermost circle and who has been given a wide range of domestic and foreign policy responsibilities, including working on a Middle East peace deal.
Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. 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 U.S. forces.
“I said, ‘Hey, next time I go to Iraq, if you’re interested, come and it’d be good,” Dunford said, adding he extended the invitation weeks ago.
That kind of ground-level awareness of the war helps inform strategic decisions, Dunford said, adding it was the same reason he regularly leaves Washington to visit Iraq.
“The more appreciation you could have for what’s actually happening on the ground, the more informed you are when you start talking about the strategic issues,” Dunford said.
Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, did not speak with reporters.
After arriving, Kushner joined Dunford for meetings with the U.S. 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 ISIL and U.S.-led coalition assistance, including aiding civilians displaced by the fighting.
“The delegation affirmed its support to Iraq in the war on terror,” Abadi’s office said in a statement.