Why Trump is holding off on withdrawing troops from Syria

Trump vs. the Generals

'Netanyahu, Trump clash over Syria early withdrawal plan'

The Pentagon, the State Department and Central Intelligence Agency are all deeply concerned about the potential ramifications if the US leaves behind a power vacuum in Syria, as are Israel, Arab leaders and other nations in the USA -led coalition that has fought Daesh terrorist group in Iraq and Syria since 2014.

The White House followed up his comments Wednesday with a statement noting that "the military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being nearly completely destroyed".

Their argument is that if USA forces suddenly withdrew, the ISIS fighters could regroup and once again become a serious threat. By this decision, Trump seems like he wanted to say that the world's biggest power is not responsible for what is happening and can withdraw at any moment, thus leaving the field to several evil powers. Trump wants to have the option of announcing a supposedly triumphant end to the Syrian intervention on the eve of the November 6 congressional election, now seven months away.

The Washington national security bureaucracies had gotten Trump to agree to delay U.S. withdrawal until pockets of Islamic State-held territory could be mopped up and forces could be trained to stabilize the captured Syrian territory, Eland cautioned. He is acutely aware-and the audience response at the rally demonstrated it-that the American public is deeply hostile to military interventions in the Middle East.

But at the same time, Trump's insistence on a Syria drawdown also reflects a shift in focus to Asia and the North Korea challenge, he adds.

"If the U.S. withdraws from Iraq and Syria, it will just make the problems worse", said Alireza Nader, consultant associated with the RAND Corporation.

With ISIS at bay, US efforts among the 2,000 troops in northern and eastern Syria have concentrated on various missions to stabilize areas that were previously under militant control. "We've completed that task".


The question remains, however, as US military efforts have aided in diminishing the physical presence of the Islamic State over the last four years, what measures might be put in place to address the causes that brought about the insurgent group in the first place. And, on Wednesday, the White House issued a statement that declared the IS mission is "coming to a rapid end" but avoided specifics altogether. Iran and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would escalate their brutal campaign of atrocities in Syria - including crossing Trump's red line on the use of poison gas - which would radicalize the Sunni population, driving them into the waiting arms of al-Qaeda. The three presidents agreed on maintaining the territorial integrity of Syria, an implicit rejection both of Kurdish aspirations in the region.

American diplomacy failed largely because the United States lacked leverage on the ground and so could not force other parties to bargain honestly or respect agreements. And that might have been a problem that we saw before in Afghanistan, where we operated against a timeline that was known to the enemy.

The U.S. -led coalition was set up in 2014 to battle Islamic State fighters in both Syria and Iraq, who were largely defeated past year. "We've always thought that as we reach finality against ISIS in Syria, we're going to adjust the level of our presence there".

On the other hand, General Joseph Votel, the commander of the U.S. Central Command which coordinates anti-Daesh operations in Iraq and Syria, implied that the United States will not yet leave Syria, saying there "are still some areas where Daesh terrorists are present".

The real attitude towards Trump's vacillations about Syria was spelled out in a scathing editorial published Thursday night by the Washington Post, which has been aligned with the Democratic Party efforts to push Trump towards a more confrontational policy against Russian Federation.

Tillerson also warned "US disengagement" from Syria would provide Iran - which is backing Assad - with "the opportunity to further strengthen its own position in Syria". "We do a lot of things in this country".

That Trump's intended retreat is a gift to Vladimir Putin perhaps should not be surprising.

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