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Wed Oct 16, 2019, 08:31 AM

US withdrawal from Syria makes countering ISIS more difficult

The Hill
10/16/19 08:30 AM EDT

Two arguments have been puzzling for European allies in the discussion on U.S. involvement in northeast Syria — first, the idea that Syria was one of America’s “endless wars in the Middle East,” and second, the notion that Washington alone has been footing the bill for engagement in northeastern Syria.

Syria has been a low-cost, high-efficiency U.S. counterterrorism operation, not a “senseless, endless war.”

In contrast to Afghanistan and Iraq, the conflict in Syria was not triggered by an American intervention. But it has been shaped by the reluctance of the U.S. to counter the unprecedented level of Iranian intervention (billions of dollars of financial support to Damascus and more than 60,000 Iran-backed foreign mercenaries), as well as Russian diplomatic help (dozens of vetoes at the United Nations Security Council) and military assistance (air support and up to 5,000 troops on the ground).

... There also is a reputational cost for the U.S. — its partners will acknowledge that effective alliance with Washington can vanish overnight.


As a side note, IT45 increased US presence in the Mideast last Friday by pulling out 1,000 troops from Syria but it is also sending an additional 2,800 more American troops to Saudi Arabia. I reckon that is plus 1,800 troops.

“During a brief Q&A with reporters, the president faced the obvious question: “Mr. President, why are you sending more troops to Saudi Arabia when you just said it’s a mistake to be in the Middle East?” After acknowledging that he is, in fact, deploying more American troops to Saudi Arabia, Trump explained his thinking on the matter:

“The relationship has been very good. And they buy hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of merchandise from us, not only military equipment. In military equipment, about $110 billion. It’s millions of jobs.

“Now, with that being said, we are sending troops and other things to the Middle East to help Saudi Arabia. But are you ready? Saudi Arabia, at my request, has agreed to pay us for everything we’re doing. That’s a first. But Saudi Arabia – and other countries, too, now – but Saudi Arabia has agreed to pay us for everything we’re doing to help them. And we appreciate that.”


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