President Trump on Wednesday announced the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Syria. The announcement, delivered on Twitter, came as a complete surprise to lawmakers and Pentagon officials.
“We have won against ISIS,” tweeted Trump. “We’ve beaten them and we’ve beaten them badly; we’ve taken back the land. And now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”
The announcement was met with bipartisan outrage, with lawmakers on both sides insisting withdrawal would cede Syria to Iran and Russia and facilitate the reemergence of ISIS.
According to the most recent estimates, roughly 30,000 ISIS militants remain in Iraq and Syria.
“[Withdrawal] will lead to devastating consequences for our nation, the region, and throughout the world,” argued GOP Senator Lindsey Graham. “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.”
Others have suggested the decision was a transactional arrangement with foreign powers – possibly part of an arms deal with Turkey or recompense to President Erdogan for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
“[Withdrawal] serves Russian interests. It serves Iranian interests. It takes the heat off of ISIS and does a favor for Turkey. How does it serve US interests?” asked CNN anchor Jim Sciutto.
“I would not call this withdrawal, I would call this a surrender,” added CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd. “The president’s decision is surrendering obviously to Russian, Iranian, Turkish, and Assad’s own designs in Syria, but it’s also surrendering to the very strong likelihood that ISIS or other terrorist groups will be resurgent in Syria based upon his decision.”
Author’s Note: All of the above arguments are valid, but the way I see it, the United States had no business in Syria from the beginning. The only thing our continued presence in Syria will accomplish is risking more American lives.
The US intervened in the Syrian Civil War under President Obama in 2014. Troops stationed there have been fighting ISIS and assisting the “rebel” forces trying to take down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The conflict has also exacerbated tensions between the US and Russia, which support opposing sides.