Published: Thu, January 03, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump Digs In on Syria Pullout After Graham Floats New Approach

Trump Digs In on Syria Pullout After Graham Floats New Approach

The president also said Syria was "lost long ago".

The U.S. has been providing support to the PKK's Syrian affiliate YPG under the pretext of fighting against Daesh, despite outcry from Ankara, who views the terrorist group's presence on its southern border as a grave threat.

The developments come a day after Trump tweeted that his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria was right and that USA military will be returning home "with victory" over Daesh.

National security adviser John Bolton was expected to travel to Israel and Turkey next weekend to discuss the President's plans with the American allies.

"But we're not the policemen of the world here", Graham said, adding that the "fighting a war against" Islamic State for its own security.

"After discussions with the President and (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph) Dunford, I never felt better about where we are headed", Graham said.

Much of the criticism surrounding the President's decision to withdraw troops from Syria - a move he frequently mentioned both on the campaign trail and in office - has been tied to the possibility that a lack of United States troops could allow ISIS to regain some of its strength in the region.

Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, will be traveling to Israel and Turkey in early January to discuss what the White House says is the "deliberate and coordinated" withdrawal of US forces from Syria.

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Graham said he knew Trump was "frustrated" by his limited options in Syria.

Trump said last week that he did not think America's removing its troops from Syria would endanger Israel by strengthening Tehran's hand in one of the Jewish state's immediate neighbors to the north.

For a president who has looked to the military for affirmation throughout his campaign and presidency and boasted about stocking his Cabinet with what he called "my generals", his decision December 19 to withdraw quickly from Syria was a significant split from his military and civilian advisers.

"It is Fake News and Pundits who have FAILED for years that are doing the complaining".

Nevertheless, Trump's latest plan left open the question of whether an orderly pullout from Syria would happen.

"Iran was going to take over everything and destroy Israel while they're at it. Iran is a much different country right now", he said, in comments that were at times incoherent.

The president went on to say that in pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran previous year, Washington had changed Tehran's calculus and stymied its efforts to destabilize, and spread its influence throughout, the region. There is an argument that says we just pull up our stuff, go home, let the region run itself.

"If you pull American influence out, you're likely to have greater instability, and of course it'll be much more hard for the United States to try to push events in any direction".

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