Contradictory stances of Trump officials vis-a-vis withdrawal from Syria: Commentary
Despite US President Donald Trump announcing withdrawal of all US forces from Syria on 19 December 2018, conflicting statements and contradictory stances of officials within his administration shows the depth of disagreement within the Trump team, and the fact that some officials have no idea how troops would be withdrawn from Syria.
Iran Press/ Middle East: US President Donald Trump initially called for withdrawal of all US troops from Syria within a 30 day period, but afterwards, due to certain political and military considerations pushed back the deadline to 120-days.
However, it is still unclear how many US soldiers will be withdrawn from Syria, and how this will be accomplished. The mechanism of US troops withdrawal from Syria is not certain.
Meanwhile, NBC News has quoted sources within the Trump administration as saying US government plan to station some part of its forces in southern Syria for an indefinite period of time, and also some US forces in Syria will be redeployed to neighbouring Iraq after withdrawal.
We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 19 December 2018
This report suggests that despite Trump's initial determination about a complete US troops withdrawal from Syria, some officials within Trump's security team have convinced him to keep some military forces within Syria.
In fact, senior US security officials, including John Bolton, US national security advisor are opposed to Trump's withdrawal plan from Syria, and insist that some US troop presence in Syria is essential.
On 31 December 2018, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a Trump backer and leading voice on national security and foreign affairs on Capitol Hill, had lunch with the president and emerged from the White House saying that Trump was slowing down the withdrawal from Syria.
Graham said his meeting with Trump was reassuring. "The president will make sure any withdrawal from Syria will be done in a fashion to ensure ISIS is permanently destroyed".
But without considering opposition and pressures, Trump is serious about military withdrawal from Syria.
The Washington Post newspaper on 5 Jan reported that Trump rejected a joint plan by National Security Advisor, John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to postpone US troops withdrawal from Syria.
This shows a deep split between Trump and his National Security team vis-a-vis Syria. Against the advice of senior officials, Trump is adamant about troop withdrawal.
Many oppose Trump's decision, including politicians from his own party, senior Republican officials and some Think Tank institutes in the US.
David Hendrickson on January 4, 2019 in a report on The American Conservative wrote: "With his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, Trump has wounded, perhaps mortally, the neoconservative plan to use the Kurds as a lever against both Turkey and Iran."
Noting to the growing disagreements and discussions on negative impact of US troops withdrawal from Syria by the oppositions, now evidence show that the US does not intend to complete withdrawal from Syria, and even at the present time, there are some excuse created possibility for more intervention in syria affairs and even a military strike against Syria.
In this regard, John Bolton, the national security adviser of the United States, claimed that there was no change in the American red lines in Syria, including the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army.
John Bolton wrote in his Twitter account that any use of chemical weapons by Syrian army will be faced with rapid and strong US army reaction.
This claim mentioned while the Syrian government joined the UN Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013 and its chemical facilities was destructed under UN inspectors' supervision.
In fact, US-backed terrorist groups have been using chemical weapons in recent years in some parts of Syria, and Western countries, including the US turned a blind eye on them.
It seems that Trump administration just deploy some of its forces to Iraq instead of complete troops withdrawal from Syria and keeps its readiness for possible military intervention in Syria. 205/103
Written by: Seyyed Reza Mirtaher