Trump’s surprise withdrawal from Syria betrays allies and bolsters rivals

By | December 20, 2018

BuzzFeed reports:

The US is set to shut a special forces base in Syria that has been the subject of repeated Russian complaints — and that some US officials have cast as a key part of US efforts not just to defeat ISIS but to counter Iranian influence in the country.

Muhannad al-Talla, a rebel commander at al-Tanf, a US base near the Syrian border with Jordan, told BuzzFeed News that the base would see the withdrawal of the US troops who have trained and fought alongside rebels there.

The withdrawal at al-Tanf added to the concerns among US partner forces in Syria that they will be abandoned mid-fight — and it came as Secretary of Defense James Mattis issued a resignation letter stressing the need for the US to stand by its allies.

Mattis resigned on Thursday, writing in his letter that US cooperation with its allies is key to its stability — just as US officials and analysts tracking the conflict were fretting over the ramifications of abandoning US allies in Syria. “One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships,” Mattis wrote. He cited the “Defeat-ISIS coalition” as “proof.”

At the same time, citing Russia, Mattis stressed a need to be “resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours.”

The closure of al-Tanf underlined that President Donald Trump’s surprise decision to pull US troops from the country threatens to do the opposite of what Mattis laid out: While US allies in Syria face the sudden prospect of destruction, the removal of US troops will strengthen the hand of Russia and Iran. [Continue reading…]

Follow by Email
Visit Us
Follow Me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.