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.
It should be no surprise that Jared Kushner was chosen for this vital role, considering that he has been such a key adviser for his father-in-law’s administration. Along with being named a peace envoy to the Middle East, Kushner has participated in talks with Mexican officials and other foreign leaders, according to the New York Times. Jared Kushner has also taken a leadership role in preparing for President Trump’s Mar-A-Lago meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week.
Jared Kushner’s role in the Trump administration extends far beyond being an international liaison. According to Fortune Magazine, Kushner has been tasked with four diverse roles. He is responsible for creating and running the Office of American Innovation, the aim of which is to apply wisdom from the business world to government administration. The office is focused on domestic issues, such as workforce development, opioid addiction, and Veterans’ Affairs. As peace envoy to the Middle East, Trump has charged Jared Kushner with the herculean task of negotiating peace between Israel and Palestine, calling his son-in-law “a natural deal-maker.”
According to the Washington Post, Jared Kushner is also a top contact for a variety of foreign officials, speaking to ambassadors and leaders from over two dozen countries. President Trump also named Kushner a White House senior adviser, stating that he would work closely with Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to implement the administration’s policies. Fortune Magazine notes Trump’s shining praise of his son-in-law.
“Jared has been a tremendous asset and trusted adviser throughout the campaign…and I am proud to have him in a leadership role in my administration.”
It remains to be seen what effect the meetings between Kushner, Bossert, Dunford, and military officials from both sides of the Iraq-U.S. coalition will have. If talks go well, it is likely that this Iraq trip will serve to expand Jared Kushner’s role as an international diplomat for the Trump administration.
[Featured Image by Olivier Douliery/Pool via CNP/MediaPunch/IPX/AP Images]