King Felipe pays surprise visit to Iraq to visit Spanish troops

King Felipe VI of Spain arrived in Bagdad, Iraq, this morning on a Spanish Air Force plane for a surprise visit with Spanish troops stationed in the country. They are stationed in Iraq as part of an international coalition in the fight against ISIS.

Casa Real released several images after His Majesty’s arrival in the Middle Eastern country. He will spend time with the troops training Iraqi forces in Bagdad and Besmayah.

Margarita Robles, the Minister of Defence, accompanied him on the trip. The trip was kept secret for security reasons.

The King is due to meet with the head of NATO training, David Fortin of the UK, as well as US Lieutenant General Paul J. Lacamera who is the commander of the global military coalition.

His Majesty will also meet the President of Iraq, Barham Salih, at the Presidential Palace.

This is the first time King Felipe has visited Iraq, but it is not the first time he has visited Spanish troops in a foreign country as King. The last time was in 2015 when he travelled to Lebanon. Most Spanish troops are stationed in Lebanon; the number of Spanish forces in Iraq is slightly lower.

Spanish troops arrived in Iraq four years ago as part of an international coalition of 60 countries led by the United States. The ‘Inherent Resolve’ was agreed upon in 2014 a NATO Summit in Wales to combat ISIS.

The King has chosen to travel to spend time with Spanish troops on his 51st birthday. He made the trip solo, without his wife, Queen Letizia, who presumably remained home in Madrid with the couple’s two children: Leonor, Princess of Asturias (13) and Infanta Sofía (11).

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Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites.