April 06, 2018

Syria: What Trump is signaling to Mideast allies and foes about US priorities

Featuring Nicholas Heras

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

Journalist Howard LaFranchi

APRIL 5, 2018 —Late last year Secretary of Defense James Mattis laid out the details of a plan that would see the United States remaining in Syria well into the future – after the defeat of the Islamic State.

The US would stick around and shift to a stabilization role to make sure ISIS did not come back, and to keep cards in the diplomatic game (a game that includes adversaries Russia and Iran) to find a political settlement to Syria’s civil war.

This week President Trump, who earlier had signed off on Secretary Mattis’s plan, sent a different message to his Pentagon chief: Not going to happen quite like that.

After declaring publicly and on two different occasions – one a campaign-type rally in Ohio last week – that he would be pulling US troops out of Syria “very soon,” Mr. Trump agreed at a White House meeting Tuesday to modify his timetable slightly while still nixing any grandiose plans for an extended US role in Syria.

The roughly 2,000 US troops in Syria will likely be out in a matter of months, White House officials said, while the US role in anything other than finishing the job against ISIS will be scaled back, not expanded.

Read the full article at The Christian Science Monitor

  • Nicholas Heras

    Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. He is also a Senior Analyst at the Jamestown Found...