Trump orders U.S. withdrawal from Syria
President Donald Trump is considering pulling out all 2,000 American troops stationed in Syria, citing the defeat of ISIS as reason to leave, officials said on Wednesday. The White House has ordered the Pentagon to to begin planning for immediate withdrawal.
“In a series of meetings and conference calls over the past several days, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other senior national security officials have tried to talk Mr. Trump out of a wholesale troop withdrawal, arguing that it would be a significant national security policy shift that would essentially cede Syria to Russia and Iran,” reported the New York Times.
Trump tweets this morning: “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”
FDD’s Mark Dubowitz emails us: “Pulling U.S. troops out of Syria would be a gift to Putin and to the mullahs in Tehran. And it would be disastrous for the region. The departure of U.S. forces would be an open path for Iran to continue its hegemonic activities in the Middle East. It would give up all of the U.S. leverage it has won in recent months, it would create an opportunity for Iran to finish the land bridge between Tehran and the Mediterranean, and it would eventually lead to the rise of ISIS again. This would be Obama 2.0, and I hope the president does not go down that path.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) responded in a statement: “If these media reports are true, it will be an Obama-like mistake made by the Trump Administration. While American patience in confronting radical Islam may wane, the radical Islamists’ passion to kill Americans and our allies never wavers.”
“An American withdrawal at this time would be a big win for ISIS, Iran, Bashar al Assad of Syria, and Russia. I fear it will lead to devastating consequences for our nation, the region, and throughout the world… It will make it more difficult to recruit future partners willing to confront radical Islam. It will also be seen by Iran and other bad actors as a sign of American weakness in the efforts to contain Iranian expansion.”
Aaron David Miller tweets: “We cannot accomplish any of our fantastical goals with 2,000 troops — checking Russians; beating back Iran, leveraging Assad out of power. Give me a compelling reason to stay.”
Miller clarifies to JI: “What I support is an honest conversation about what 2,000 US troops are doing in Syria when deploying them there – seemingly forever – cannot accomplish any of the goals we have identified. It’s an absurd policy. And I do not support a wholesale rapid withdrawal. But unless we can rationalize the mission, I think moving them out over time makes sense. If you think withdrawal makes us look weak, look at the situation now where we pretend to have influence and watch others have their way.”