[pjw] NEWS: US pulling out of Syria in 60 to 90 days (CNBC 12/19)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Wed Dec 19 17:57:53 EST 2018

Supporters of Peace and Justice

I never would have imagined that under the reckless leadership of Donald J 
Trump I would read in two weeks time headlines that the "Green Zone" in 
Iraq was re-opened for the general public


and that the US is planning to pull its troops out of Syria.

Of course, caveats are always needed with US policy regardless of who 
declares it-- this is about taking the ground troops out in the next 60-90 
days and says nothing about conventional or drone aircraft/bombs.

However, for the President who ordered a major bombing in Syria without 
legal justification earlier this year (and Afghanistan last year) and who 
took us to the brink of nuclear war with North Korea, I am going to put 
this in the.... I am at least slightly optimistic category???

More headlines from last week's Iraq AG meeting are coming soon, but this 
headline is fresh from today's headlines.
dan h
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

White House says the US is pulling its troops from Syria after Trump declares
victory over ISIS
      * President Trump declares in a tweet that the U.S. mission to defeat
        the militant group in Syria has been accomplished.
      * The White House says the troop pullout will "transition to the next
        phase of this campaign."
      * The decision will reportedly take 2,000-plus U.S. servicemembers
        out of the country, ending the ground strategy against the
        so-called Islamic State.
    [25]Kevin Breuninger | [26]@KevinWilliamB
    Published 7 Hours Ago Updated 5 Hours Ago CNBC.com

    President [27]Donald Trump declared in a tweet Wednesday that the U.S.
    mission to defeat the so-called Islamic State in Syria has been

    Defeating the militant Islamic group in the region, he said, was "my
    only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency."

      [28]Trump tweet We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for
      being there during the Trump Presidency.

    Earlier Wednesday, news reports said the U.S. military was planning a
    complete and sudden withdrawal from Syria in a reversal of U.S. policy,
    as the declining threat of ISIS has been supplanted by increasing
    tensions with other world powers in the region.

    Numerous Republican lawmakers reacted harshly to reports of the
    withdrawal, decrying the decision as a grave mistake that could even
    restore ISIS's strength.

    Shortly after Trump's Twitter declaration, White House press secretary
    Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed in a statement that "We have started
    returning United States troops home as we transition to the next phase
    of this campaign."

    "Five years ago, ISIS was a very powerful and dangerous force in the
    Middle East, and now the United States has defeated the territorial
    caliphate," Sanders said. "These victories over ISIS in Syria do not
    signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign."

    Sanders added that the U.S. and its allies "will continue to work
    together to deny radical Islamist terrorists territory, funding,
    support, and any means of infiltrating our borders."

    Chief Defense Department Spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement
    that "the campaign against ISIS is not over," despite the transition
    out of Syria:

      "The Coalition has liberated the ISIS-held territory, but the
      campaign against ISIS is not over. We have started the process of
      returning U.S. troops home from Syria as we transition to the next
      phase of the campaign. For force protection and operational security
      reasons we will not provide further details. We will continue
      working with our partners and allies to defeat ISIS wherever it

    A U.S. official told Reuters that all State Department personnel in
    Syria will be evacuated from the country within 24 hours, and that all
    U.S. forces will depart once that final operation against ISIS has been
    completed. The troops are expected to be withdrawn within 60 to 100
    days, the official told Reuters.

    The decision would take 2,000-plus U.S. servicemembers out of the
    country, ending the ground strategy against the Islamic State, a U.S.
    defense official [29]told The Washington Post.

    The move appears to contradict the existing stance on the conflict in
    Syria advocated by senior Trump administration officials. They called
    for a longer-term presence in the country and even to expand the
    mission beyond defeating ISIS. National security advisor John Bolton
    reportedly [30]said in September that the U.S. was "not going to leave
    as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders."

    Before the White House's announcement Wednesday, Defense Department
    spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters, "At this time, we continue
    to work by, with and through our partners in the region."

    The surprise pivot comes just days after Turkey [31]reaffirmed to CNBC
    that it would not soften its rhetoric against the U.S.-backed Kurds in
    northern Syria. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his
    country's military was "not risking American soldiers' lives" through
    its targeting of the Kurdish factions.

    During a news briefing Wednesday morning, a spokeswoman for Russia's
    foreign ministry knocked the existing U.S. forces in Syria as "a
    dangerous obstacle to the path to" a peace settlement, Reuters
    reported. The spokeswoman also accused the U.S. of keeping its troops
    in Syria illegally.

    The State Department and the Russian Foreign Ministry did not respond
    to CNBC's requests for comment on the reports.

    Later Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a close ally of the
    president, warned in four-tweet thread that removing the U.S. presence
    in Syria would be a mistake of "Obama-like" proportions.

    Graham added: "A decision to withdraw will also be viewed as a boost to
    ISIS desire to come back."

    In a [34]Facebook livestream, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said that
    "while ISIS has been significantly degraded ... it is not fair or wise
    to say that they have been defeated."

    "I believe the decision was a grave error that will have incredible
    consequences, potentially not fully thought through," Rubio said.

    "This is a bad idea because it actually, it goes against the fight
    against ISIS, and potentially helps ISIS," Rubio said, adding that
    "this decision runs the risk of triggering a broader conflict that
    could pull the United States in, but most certainly will impact our
    close ally in the region, Israel."

    GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who currently serves as an Air
    National Guard pilot, responded to Trump more tersely: "This is simply
    not true."

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