Trump: ‘We have to protect Israel,’ Shifting again on Syria withdrawal

Introduction – Feb 5, 2019

When Trump first announced his plan to withdraw from Syria we said that we wouldn’t be surprised if U.S. troops were still there in six months and increasingly it looks as if they will be. In large part this will be due to Israeli pressure.
Israel wants U.S. troops in Syria to oppose a build-up of Iranian forces in the country. Even though Iranian forces are in Syria at the invitation of President Assad, while U.S. forces are not. In fact Syria has demanded that U.S. forces leave.
That was last year and they are still in Syria and now Trump is going back on all his campaign promises. While running for president he vowed to drastically reduce America’s military footprint overseas.
That obviously hasn’t happened and now he’s also going back on his pledge to see an “immediate and full withdrawal” of U.S. troops from Syria.
And note how Trump takes credit for clearing ISIS from Syria. When in fact it was largely due to Russian and Iranian efforts. America had been ostensibly waging war on ISIS since mid-2014 with little success.
The tide of war only really turned when Russian forces entered Syria in Sept 2015. Prior to that the U.S. had been waging a phoney war, bombing empty desert rather than its proxies in ISIS.

Trump: ‘We have to protect Israel,’ Shifting again on Syria withdrawal

Michael Wilner – Jerusalem Post Feb 3, 2019

US President Donald Trump indicated this weekend that some US troops in Syria would remain there “to protect Israel,” in an apparent shift from his earlier insistence on an absolute withdrawal.

In an interview with Margaret Brennan of CBS News, Trump was pressed to identify precisely how much of America’s force presence there would be coming home – and how quickly.

“We’re going to be there and we’re going to be staying. We have to protect Israel,” he replied. “We have to protect other things that we have. But we’re – yeah, they’ll be coming back in a matter of time.”

“Look, we’re protecting the world,” he added. “We’re spending more money than anybody’s ever spent in history, by a lot.”

Israeli officials expressed alarm in December at Trump’s surprise decision to pull all 2,000 US troops from the Syrian battlefield, where it sees Iranian presence growing ever closer to its northern border.

They have been pushing the Trump administration to maintain a presence at al-Tanf in eastern Syria, which has served as an important base both in countering Islamic State fighters as well as Iranian influence.

Trump also revealed that he planned on keeping troops in Iraq for similar reasons.

“I want to be able to watch Iran,” he said. “Iran is a real problem.”

He claimed to Brennan that “99%” of ISIS’s territory had been conquered.

“When I took over, Syria was infested with ISIS. It was all over the place. And now you have very little ISIS, and you have the caliphate almost knocked out,” he said. “We will be announcing in the not too distant future 100% of the caliphate, which is the area – the land – the area – 100. We’re at 99% right now. We’ll be at 100.”