Is Trump Doing the Right Thing, Withdrawl from Syria?

by Jack

President Trump wants a quick removal of U.S. forces from the Syrian conflict, but some of his key advisers say the move is premature and that it would endanger our Kurdish allies.

The Kurds, under US advisers and armed with US supplied weapons, have been extremely successfully in fighting ISIS since it appearance in Iraq over 18 years ago.  Without the Kurds, the US forces would have been compelled to rescue the Iraqis from ISIS or watch them fall to almost certain defeat.  In the later case, there is no question that Iran would have stepped in and seized control over major portions of Iraq.

Under US direction, the Kurds have pursued ISIS into Syria. This action indirectly aided Assad’s government.  But, seems li8ke every action in the Mid-East has the double edge sword effect.  At the time the Kurds to the fight to ISIS in Syria Assad was fighting a losing battle on two fronts.  Our war on terror allowed Assad to regroup and focus against the rebel factions.

Currently the Kurds control several small regions of Syria adjacent to the Turkish border and further inland they hold a larger, but more sparsely inhabited region of Syria to the North, closer to Iraq.

Ironically, Christian churches have sprung up in the Kurdish held areas of Syria, something rarely seen in this part of the world.  This makes them extremely vulnerable to radical Islamic forces that would surely take over as Kurdish forces withdraw.  Kurds are largely Muslims, but they are also Christian, Atheists and Shebaks, which incorporate some of Christianity and Islam.  The short explanation is, they have a more liberal and more tolerant view of religions outside Islam than most other Muslims in the Middle East, thus the Christian churches in their Syrian held territory.

Meanwhile, Turkey under President Erdogan has become increasingly militant towards Kurds as well as American interests.   Sentiment inside Turkey has always swayed back and forth when it come to America, but as Islamic radicalism gains more traction thanks to President Erdogan, it’s clearly moving to anti-American.   Erdogan is an Islamic hardliner and favors Sharia law, but is held in check by Turkey’s Constitution. His first two years in office was spent singing the praises ISIS, that is, until ISIS suicide bombings inside Turkey caused him to rethink his endorsement. So, to consider Erdogan’s regime as a US ally in the war on terror is just wishful thinking.

Erdogan’s spokesman, Kalin: “The U.S. runs the risk of losing Turkey as a whole. The entire Turkish public is against U.S. policies that disregard Turkey’s legitimate security demands. Threats, sanctions and bullying against Turkey will not work,” he said.

Recently (and allegedly) Erdogan issued Trump an ultimatum to get out of Syria and to stop aiding the Kurds, which he considers terrorists.  Kurds in Turkey make up 20% of their entire population and they’re a strong secessionist movement.

Erdogan would like to crush the Kurdish movement for independence, but first he would like to gain control over Syrian oil fields (see map above) in the north near Turkey’s border.  He’s prepared to invade the oil fields, except for one thing.  We and our Kurdish allies are in the way.

During the previous few years this oil rich region was controlled by ISIS. Turkey (illegally) bought oil from ISIS on the black market and this helped fund the war.  If Erdogan’s forces move on the Syrian oil fields and neighboring areas to battle Kurds, it would almost certainly mean attacking US military forces currently acting as advisors.   If this was not enough, Erdogan also (allegedly) threatened to close the US operated air base at Incirlik, should the US not cooperate.

Many mid-east experts, including several of Trump’s top advisors, fear that a premature withdrawal from Syria would result in genocide against Christians and leave our Kurdish allies in harms way.   It could also allow ISIS an opportunity to return, undoing much of our hard won gains.

What happened in Iraq under Obama is evidence of what we are risking now in Syria, so say many of our top advisors.   Brett McGurk, the US special envoy to the anti-Islamic State group coalition, resigned in protest of Trumps intended withdrawal. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also resigned and moved his departure date from mid-Fed. to January 1st. Mattis and McGurk view abandoning our Kurd allies as a huge mistake that will have catastrophic consequences.

Trumps position is that ISIS has been effectively defeated in Syria.  We need to know when to call it a win.  And he reminds us, that was our only reason for being there.  He noted that the Kurds have been extremely helpful, but on the other hand, we’ve given them much aid and now it’s time for them to go home, back to Northern Iraq.   As for the Christians and their churches in those Syrian-Kurdish areas…well, that’s not really our problem at the moment.

Trump believes Syrian resistance fighters and pro-Assad fighters can deal with whatever is left of ISIS while fighting each other in civil war.    President Trump says that American support must end some day and the sooner the better.   It’s time for US forces to pull out. He says we’ve done our part and we can’t hold their hands forever.  If fact, we’ve done more than our fair share in helping to defeat ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  In short, Trump thinks any more money and lives spent in either Syria or Afghanistan is a fool’s errand.

However, ISIS in Syria is by no means defeated and they are shifting their operations back to Afghanistan where the Taliban have retaken control over 70% of the country. It’s highly possible that once they (ISIS et al) share control in Afghanistan with the Taliban, they will resume the mission that led to 9-11.

US military advisors also warn of slaughter and oppression for all those who supported the US coalition and/or liberalization of civil rights during the Afghan civil war, should the Taliban resume total control.

There are no clear wins here for America and making the wrong choice could be a huge disaster.   No matter which way Trump turns, he will incur plenty of criticism because there really is no good answer in Syria or Afghanistan.  So, what would you do, stay in Syria a little longer and risk conflict with Turkey?  Would stay in Afghanistan and keep propping up the corrupt government that is pro US and believes in a reformed version of Islam?  Would you pull out and let fate decide the future?

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20 Responses to Is Trump Doing the Right Thing, Withdrawl from Syria?

  1. Joe says:

    Afghanistan and Syria are fools errands and besides the feral government is nearly $22 trillion in debt with at least a couple hundred trillion of unfunded liabilities. Then there’s trillions more of state and local debt. The country can’t afford it. Yet the politicians continue to dump more and more money in these hell holes.

    If you want to see what winning looks like in Afghanistan check out this documentary.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ja5Q75hf6QI

    • Tina says:

      And Joe, the state (federal state and local gov’ts) are taking so much from taxpayers they are forced to live on credit, often for their basic needs. It’s insane!!

      • Joe says:

        It will get worse here. The Demorats have s super majority in the state legislature and they have many expensive new programs they will push through. And locally, the city council has hired a consultant to get a sales tax increase passed. These parasites take and take and then take some more and it is never enough.

  2. Chris says:

    Excellent post, Jack.

    Trump has no way of knowing whether this is the right decision or not. He tweeted yesterday that he did not even know Brett McGurk, which if true, is a damning indictment of his management over the ISIS situation.

    He has repeatedly ignored the advice of experts within his own administration to go with his gut instead, despite his complete lack of military experience. He said during the campaign “I know more than the generals,” and that is exactly how he has governed. He circumvented the Pentagon to pass the travel ban his first week in office, leading to chaos at airports. He did the same with the ban on trans soldiers. He’s ignoring the advice of experts on the right in his pointless and futile quest to build a wall, which won’t work. None of these moves were actual about national security; if they were, actual national security experts would support them. They were about filling his gullible supporters with a false sense of security while punishing groups they don’t like.

    Add that to his insults of POWs and Gold Star parents, and I don’t know how anyone who claims to support the troops could also support Trump.

    • Joe says:

      ” I don’t know how anyone who claims to support the troops could also support Trump.”

      Yeah! How dare Trump bring the troops home instead of leaving them in unwinnable wars that are bankrupting the country and where these troops can be killed or maimed.

      • Chris says:

        Again…the problem is not that Trump “brought the troops home,” it’s that he did so suddenly, with no plan, against the advice of literally everyone more knowledgeable than he is (so, everyone).

        Did you even read Jack’s post?

        And I guarantee you did not feel the same way when Obama pulled troops out of Iraq (on Bush’s timetable, with a clear plan, with tons of support).

        But go ahead and ignore all the other examples above of Trump disrespecting the military. Here, go ahead and ignore this too:

        “[The risk of getting STDs] is my personal Vietnam.”

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deA6MMXSjCg

        • Tina says:

          “with no plan”

          Nonsense. The diplomatic plan articulated in the material Peggy posted is a major part of his plan. It’s a plan he articulated from the beginning of his presidency. The decision is NOT unsupported and you have NOT heard from all the experts.

          Your response is a thread bare talking point that exists in the deplorable context, “things to say to discredit/disrespect Republicans and their positions/decisions.

          “you did not feel the same way when Obama pulled troops out of Iraq”

          Did Obama announce to the ME nations that America would no longer take the lead in handling local problems? Did he tell the leaders that the terror problem was something only they could solve? Did his diplomatic corp work with those leaders and their diplomatic personel to develop plans for just that?

          Not to my knowledge! Obama was much too arrogant to think of anything like that. He always saw things in terms of himself and what he was going to do I even though he often didn’t follow through) This is a function if his background. He was an organizer. Hid forte is getting people riled up to hit the streets…or courtrooms. People folow blindly to such charismatic leaders…and they did.

          What he and his State Department did was draw meaningless lines in the sand, micromanage every military decision, fail to plan for refugees camps, and give support to our enemies (Iran/Muslim Brotherhood/ ISIS.

          His “plan” was dubbed “leading from behind ” and his poor leadership caused a lot of problems and chaos.

          It may be in the future that Trumps plans won’t work. It’s likely there will be some problems. But the accusation that he doesn’t have a plan or incapable is wrong…and stupidly so. It’s built on resentment and hate.

          Howard Stern led that conversation and it was targeted toward, I would bet, a majority progressive, hippy dippy, “love the one you’re with” audience…the left! Trump lived through that entire era. The thing YOU don’t know, cause you’re such an infant in the scheme of things at this point, is that before the left pushed to change the culture, STD’s existed in very small segments of society. The WWII generation literally had them nearly wiped out in our culture. Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll changed all of that. Normalizing nudity and deviant behaviors and loosening morals was a thing in the seventies. The infant thinkers in my generation called that freedom…now your generation is paying for it and you don’t have the good sense to stand with those trying to restore some sense of responsibility and decency…including people like Trump that have as they matured realized the error and want to make amends. YOU can’t even muster a bit of interest or curiosity about the wisdom and experience behind of our positions.

          You, sadly, have become a ugly partisan punk and you don’t seem able t help yourself.

          • Chris says:

            Tina,

            Trump said he did not even know our top diplomat in charge of relations with the anti-ISIS coalition. Knowing that, how could you think he has a good grasp of the situation on the ground there?

            You can’t claim that Obama was arrogant and not have a problem with Trump’s arrogance. Well, you can, but not without making your hypocrisy crystal clear.

            including people like Trump that have as they matured realized the error and want to make amends.

            But he hasn’t realized his error and expressed a desire to make amends. You made that up in your head.

            Show me one time Trump made an honest apology for his promiscuous past. He’s had every opportunity to do so with the Stormy Daniels affair coming to light. Instead, he lied about it, denying that the affair ever happened, denying that he had anything to do with the illegal pay-off…a pay-off which was done to hide said affair from the public.

            But you don’t care.

      • Joe says:

        If Trump listened to the “experts” you mention this country would never get all the troops home and the taxpayers would continue to dump billions down each of those hell holes every month.

        How the hell do you know what I thought about Obama pulling troops out? Can you find a single quote I made on that?

    • Tina says:

      McGurch was scheduled to resign in February. His leaving early is not the exploding headline you imagine.

      President Obama had even less military experience and you had no problem with him making decisions as President. His backward leadership helped to create the rise and expansion of ISIS and empowerment of Iran, the world’s premiere support structure for terror.

      Quite frankly, your opinion isn’t worth a damn.

      • Chris says:

        President Obama had even less military experience and you had no problem with him making decisions as President.

        If that were true, it would only be a good point if my argument was “Trump shouldn’t be president because he has no military experience.” As anyone who can read can see, that is not, and has never been, my argument.

        (It isn’t even true, though. Neither man had any military experience at all before becoming president, so Obama couldn’t have “less” than Trump.)

        My argument was that Trump should not constantly insult and demean the military and declare that he knows better than they do about military matters. He should rely on his military advisers instead of ignoring them. He should consult the Pentagon before making major military decisions.

        All of those statements would be true even if Trump did have military experience. But since he has absolutely none, it simply makes his behavior even worse.

        (They’re also completely uncontroversial statements. Everyone agreed with them until Trump became president. Yet another set of standards he’s demolished.)

        And Trump is, as you know, the first president with no government or military experience. Every previous president at least had experience in either government or the military. Obama at least had experience in government.

        For all of the above reasons, your comparison is incredibly stupid.

  3. Chris says:

    Wow.

    “This from the same guy who took credit for my release — the one @brett_mcgurk negotiated — when it happened. thehill.com/blogs/ballot”

    https://twitter.com/jrezaian/status/1077228186973413379?s=21

    • Tina says:

      The president always gets the credit, you know that.

      • Chris says:

        But Trump wasn’t president when Rezaian was released. Obama was. Trump took the credit anyway. And as Rezaian pointed out, Trump is now bashing McGurk, the guy who was *actually* responsible for Rezaian’s release, for no other reason than McGurk had the audacity to gently criticize him. Because Trump is a child.

  4. Post Scripts says:

    RHT, thanks for the link to that great article on Syria. A lot there I can easily agree with.

  5. Tina says:

    Don Surber makes an interesting observation on media opinion (this time a military media person who should know better!), “Military writer does not understand chain of command”

    • Chris says:

      It will never fail to mystify me how you can read a blatant misrepresentation as an “interesting observation.” Nowhere in her column does Copp show a lack of awareness of the chain of command–in fact, she explicitly acknowledges that Trump had every right to order Mattis around, and explains chain of command issues clearly. It is also clear in her article that by a “check on the president,” she means someone who can influence his actions in a positive direction and urge him away from acting unilaterally. Surber is simply misrepresenting Copp’s position.

      But you like it when people do that.

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