Jared Kushner, the Jewish son-in-law of US President Donald Trump, reportedly traveled to Iraq over the weekend with a number of defense officials. Kushner, who has been tasked by Trump with the onerous burden of fostering a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, serves as one of the president’s closest and most trusted advisors, but his role on the short Middle East trip is unclear.
The White House has not made any formal announcement or statement regarding the trip, nor Kushner’s participation, declining to even confirm his presence in the Middle East. The New York Times reported that Kushner had been invited to join by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph F. Dunford Jr.
A senior Trump official said on Sunday that Kushner had wanted to see the situation in Iraq, where the US military is active, first-hand, as well as show support for the US-backed Iraqi government.
The US is part of a military coalition supporting the Iraqi army’s attempts to battle the Islamic State. Currently coalition forces, strengthened by 275 recently-deployed US troops, are attempting to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS.
While the 36-year-old Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, is the president’s choice to broker Middle East peace, he also fills a number of wide-ranging roles in the administration. After guiding Trump’s presidential campaign to victory, he was installed in the White House as a senior advisor to the chief. Last week it was also announced that he will take over the newly established, White House-based Office of American Innovation, which aims to reduce government inefficiencies by implementing business-derived solutions.