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Mixed Messages from President Trump on Syria

Robert Dimuro

Posted on April 8, 2018 12:24

2 users

How will President Trump's actions affect the balance of power between himself, Putin, and Assad in the Middle East?

Involvement, or no involvement, is the dilemma that the United States currently faces in Syria as ISIS has virtually been eradicated. But while the region has been liberated, the Syrian people are suffering the consequences of a brutal and protracted civil war, and recovery will be a long and arduous task. It is critical for President Trump that phase two (recovery) is successful in the long term.

We need not to look too far back in history to remember when our involvement in liberating the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein led to sectarian warfare following the withdrawal of our troops by President Obama. Under this climate ISIS was able to take control of large regions of Iraq and Syria.

If history repeats itself when we leave, the blame will be placed squarely on the shoulders of President Trump, and the decades-long mission of fostering peace and stability in the Middle East will be set back tremendously.

President Trump must take a stand on this issue, but he hasn't been very forthcoming about what his intentions actually are. In a recent tweet, he sharply condemned President Assad for the alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians, blamed Russia and President Putin for backing "Animal Assad", and said there will be a "big price to pay" for the atrocity.

While seeming to take a stand and assert control, he also stated last week that the United States will be withdrawing its troops from Syria “very soon” and froze over $200 million in funds to help Syrian recovery efforts.

Although it appears that Trump's advisors have convinced him that pulling out of Syria too quickly is dangerous and could undo all the work that has been done there, it is clear that he is drawing his own "line in the sand" between eradicating ISIS and investing in Syria's future and recovery efforts.

It is also clear that President Trump is not interested in fostering a better relationship with Russia - a position on which he persistently campaigned - and is acting to increase tension between himself and Putin. This goes beyond criticizing Russia's alliance with the Syrian regime.

In response to unproven allegations that Russia poisoned a former Russian spy and his daughter living in the United Kingdom, Trump ordered that 60 Russian diplomats be expelled and a Russian consulate in Seattle be closed.

President Trump's actions and intentions thus far indicate that he is willing to cede power and influence in the Middle East to Russia while, at the same time, aggravating the already bitter relationship between the White House and the Kremlin.

If this happens, the United States will have wasted its efforts in the war against ISIS. Consequently, Syria and Iran, with the support of Russia, will be poised to take firm control over much of the region. This is a situation that the United States and its allies cannot let happen.

Robert Dimuro

Posted on April 8, 2018 12:24

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Source: BBC
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Donald Trump says he will send home all Syrian refugees the US accepts if he becomes president.

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