American news website Axios reported that the US President Donald Trump has called on former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to compensate the United States for the costs of its invasion of Iraq and its stay there until the end of 2011.
The website quoted private sources as saying that Trump met Al-Abbadi last March in Washington and asked him that Iraq pays the cost of his invasion through oil instead of money.
The sources revealed that Al-Abadi responded to Trump saying that: “What do you mean? We work closely with many American companies, and American energy companies have interests in our country.” The US president then patted his shoulder.
Trump’s reiteration of the same request to Al-Abadi, in a phone call in the summer of 2017, aroused the discontent of US National Security Advisor Herbert McMaster, who considered the repetition of the US president’s offer as offensive to the reputation of the United States.
In his campaign for 2016, Trump complained that “the United States spent trillions in Iraq and lost thousands of lives but got nothing in return,” and noted that “America had to seize Iraqi oil fields as compensation for sharp costs of war.”
The sources pointed out that “prominent figures of US National Security Advisors condemned Trump’s proposal, describing it as abnormal and impractical, and considering it as a violation of international law, which would fuel propaganda to the enemies of the United States.”
In response to a question on Axios’ report, Dana White, spokeswoman for the US Defence Department, said that “We should not discuss the internal deliberations. The secretary’s advice to the president is private.”
The website quoted a spokesman for the National Security Council as saying that “we do not comment on the details of the president’s talks with foreign leaders.”
The spokesman added that “we have long sought to help Iraq achieve energy independence and continue to do so. We are encouraged by recent developments and believe that Iraq can meet its own energy demand, stop importing electricity, and increase its oil production.”
The American website said that what the sources reported lays bare Trump’s approach in the Middle East, as he expressed a firm determination to collect payments from the countries of the region in the form of natural resources.
Axios referred to what American journalist Bob Woodward, the author of Fear… Trump in the White House, said about Trump’s official steps to extract rare metals from Afghanistan to pay for the US war there, although the Afghan leadership was more open to Trump’s demands than Iraqi leaders.