Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Trump and husband of Ivanka, arrived in Iraq Monday on a surprise trip, according to NBC News. Kushner is accompanied by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Joseph Dunford and homeland security adviser Thomas Bossert. This is the first trip to Iraq for both Bossert and Kushner, who is also President Trump's peace envoy to the Middle East. As fighting intensifies in Mosul, many are wondering what the purpose of this unannounced visit could be.
Dunford's spokesman, Captain Greg Hicks, said that Kushner was traveling "on behalf of the President" to express "the President's support and commitment to the government of Iraq and U.S. personnel currently engaged in the campaign," reports USA Today. This gesture comes days after U.S.-backed Iraqi troops suffered devastating losses in the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. According to USA Today, this conflict was the deadliest urban battle since World War II.
Hicks stated that the purpose of Dunford's trip was to attend meetings with American, Iraqi, and coalition officials, reports NBC News. He also said that Kushner and Bossert would visit U.S. troops in the field as well as attend meetings with senior U.S. advisers and Iraqi leaders. According to USA Today, Bossert's role in the meetings will be to reinforce a strong partnership between U.S. and Iraqi forces to defeat ISIS.
USA Today reports that according to the head of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, a total of 774 Iraqi troops were lost and 4,600 were wounded since October when the Mosul offensive began. The U.S. military is determined to help, ordering 275 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division to deploy to Mosul, according to NBC News. The goal of these reinforcements is to help Iraqi forces take over the ISIS-held city. Kushner's role during this difficult time is to obtain updates on the situation as well as to provide an official message of support from the Trump administration.