Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Trump Defends Decision to Withdraw Troops From Syria

Trump Goes Wobbly on Threats Trump 'slowing down' planned withdrawal from Syria, senator says
Andrew Cummings | 03 January, 2019, 03:15

Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump has "ordered a slowdown" of the previously announced withdrawal of roughly 2,000 US troops from Syria, Republican senator Lindsey Graham had said.

"I think we're slowing things down in a smart way", he told reporters.

Still, Graham said, Trump remains committed to bringing American service members home, even as he continues to weigh the greater regional dynamics. "But the goal has always been the same".

Trump's statement comes a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss Syria and Iran.

The announcement also had shocked lawmakers and American allies, including Kurds who have fought alongside the USA against the Islamic State group and face an expected assault by Turkey. "We are proud that we can say that we as Syriac-Assyrian Christians have fought side by side with the United States".

Much of the criticism surrounding the President's decision to withdraw troops from Syria - a move he frequently mentioned both on the campaign trail and in office - has been tied to the possibility that a lack of United States troops could allow ISIS to regain some of its strength in the region.

However, Mr Trump said he did want to "protect" US-backed Kurdish fighters in the country as Washington draws down its 2,000 troops, which would happen "over a period of time".

"He has not reversed his decision", Graham said.

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The president has long campaigned for the removal of US troops from the Middle East, arguing that there was no benefit for the country to be involved in the many conflicts there. "The pause is to assess the effects of the conditions on the ground".

"If anybody but Donald Trump did what I did in Syria, which was an ISIS loaded mess when I became President, they would be a national hero".

He has joined other Republicans and Democrats in criticising Trump's order for the pullout of all 2,000 USA troops deployed in Syria in support of anti-IS fighters made up mostly of Kurds. He reiterated that he has fought against the "never-ending wars".

"It is Fake News and Pundits who have FAILED for years that are doing the complaining".

The president had seemingly shocked everyone - from Congress and the Pentagon, through to America's allies and enemies around the world - when he announced that USA troops were to pull out of Syria.

CNN reported that Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had communed with national security adviser, John R. Bolton, before the two men travel to Turkey and Israel.

Graham says Republicans are going to put on the negotiating table ideas that Democrats have embraced in the past as a way to move past the current impasse and government shutdown over funding for the President's wall, which Trump initially promised would be paid for by Mexico.

Military officials have scrambled to translate Trump's shifting directives and comments into actual orders for commanders in Syria and Iraq to carry out.

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