Trump Ally Graham: Syria Pullout Would Be Nightmare for «Israel»
By Staff, Agencies
US President Donald Trump's sudden decision to pull back US troops from northern Syria drew quick, strong criticism Monday from some of his closest allies in Congress, among them South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who warned that the move would ultimately be "a nightmare" for the “Israeli” entity.
“By abandoning the Kurds we have sent the most dangerous signal possible,” Graham said on Twitter.
“America is an unreliable ally and it’s just a matter of time before China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea act out in dangerous ways. The US now has no leverage and Syria will eventually become a nightmare for ‘Israel’,” the normally close ally of the president said.
It was condemned, too, by Kurdish fighters who would be abandoned to face a likely Turkish assault after fighting alongside Americans for years against the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”].
The announcement threw the military situation in Syria into fresh chaos and injected deeper uncertainty into US relations with European allies.
Syria's Kurds accused the US of turning its back on allies and risking gains made in the years-long fight against Daesh.
Trump defended his decision, acknowledging in tweets that "the Kurds fought with us" but adding that they "were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so."
"I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home," he wrote.
If the Turks go too far, he tweeted later, "I in my great and unmatched wisdom" will destroy their economy.
Hours after the White House announcement, two senior State Department officials minimized the effects of the US action, telling reporters that only about two dozen American troops would be removed from the Turkey-Syria border, not all the US forces in the northeast of the country. They also said Turkey may not go through with a large-scale invasion and the US was still trying to discourage it.
Both officials spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss what led to the internal White House decision.
Both Republicans and Democrats in the US have warned that allowing the Turkish attack could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and send a troubling message to American allies across the globe.
US troops "will not support or be involved in the operation" and "will no longer be in the immediate area," in northern Syria, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in an unusual late-Sunday statement that was silent on the fate of the Kurds.
There are about 1,000 US troops in northern Syria, and a senior US official said they will pull back from the area – and could depart the country entirely should widespread fighting break out between Turkish and Kurdish forces.
For the moment, the US troops are not leaving Syria, officials said.
A US official confirmed that American troops were already moving out of the security zone area, which includes the Syrian towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad. That official was not authorized to speak for the record and was granted anonymity to comment.
Sunday's announcement followed a call between Trump and Erdogan, the White House said Sunday.
The decision is an illustration of Trump's focus on ending American overseas entanglements – one of his key campaign promises. His goals of swift withdrawals in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have been stymied.
As he faces the impeachment inquiry at home, Trump has appeared more focused on making good on his political pledges, even at the risk of sending a troubling signal to American allies abroad.