One of the hallmark successes of the Trump Administration is the eradication of ISIS in much of Iraq and Syria, where it had been on the move in the power vacuum created by the Obama administration, and the stabilization of eastern Syria under the control of a military force that not only seems moderately competent, fairly humane, and opposed to the control of the area by Syria’s Assad and the ethnic cleansing and colonization project of Turkey’s Erdogan. In fact, the Administration has hit a sweet spot that is not only bleeding Russia (or at least the couple of hundred Russian mercenaries we mauled), Russia, and Iran, while increasing US prestige and influence and with fewer annual casualties than are generated by a typical Chicago Saturday night. That seems to be over:
— CNN (@CNN) December 19, 2018
(Sort of laughed at this. The military doesn’t do anything like this where the words “full” or “rapid” can be used.)
The U.S. military is preparing for a full withdrawal of its forces from northeastern Syria, throwing the campaign against ISIS into question https://t.co/rONUiBd0WH
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) December 19, 2018
JUST IN: U.S. considering complete troop withdrawal from Syria – officials pic.twitter.com/i6xhftl6FF
— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) December 19, 2018
If true, this does not look good. At all.
First, it looks like Erdogan’s information operation on the killed Muslim Brotherhood apostle and WaPo opinion writer, Jamal Khashoggi, had its desired effect. You’ll note that no one is talking about this beacon of press freedom in the past week.
Second, this is a huge win for Iran, for Bashar Assad, and for Vladimir Putin. They have gone from being on their heels strategically to having turfed us out of Syria without lifting a finger.
Iran, now effectively allied with both Turkey and Russia, will be unhindered in its quest to create the so-called Shia Crescent that terminates on the Mediterranean.
Regional partners will see that we are not a reliable ally, particularly when their every existence is at stake. Not only will Erdogan be free to continue with the Turkish policy of ethnic cleansing and re-peopling the area with Turks, it will put Erdogan’s boot on the throat of the cause of Kurdish self-determination. Other people are going to notice.
Russia goes from participating in a conflict that generates enough dead Russians that the Russian government has to hid the funerals to being seen as the regional kingmaker.
Withdrawal of this small American force in Syria would be a huge Obama-like mistake. https://t.co/atsjHUyJlB
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 19, 2018
The only saving grace is that this has the marks of a leak designed to stop the action from taking place. My guess would be the source of this leak is someone who lost the policy battle and now is trying to generate public debate over the decision before the policy can be implemented.
UPDATE: It looks real.
We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
Marco Rubio railed on the president’s decision to pull out of Syria, saying whoever advised him has done a “great disservice” to the country. He said to us that Trump has put the US at risk by his decision – and it will make the world view America as an unreliable partner.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 19, 2018
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