BREAKING NEWS Redding Police searching for missing 'at-risk' 24-year-old woman Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump ignores his own warning in Syria

CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

Posted: Oct 7, 2019 7:20 PM
Updated: Oct 7, 2019 7:20 PM

Can anyone make sense of President Donald Trump's Syria policy, other than Donald Trump?

Not much will bring senior Republicans to push back against Trump, but his decision to pull American forces out of Syria has drawn condemnation from three grandees of the GOP: Sen. Lindsey Graham, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

And for good reason: Pulling the 1,000 or so American forces out of Syria makes no sense.

Those troops are not there on a combat mission but only in an advisory role to prevent the return of ISIS and also to provide some US leverage over events in Syria, whose regime is supported by Russia and Iran.

An American pull-out also allows the Turks free rein to carry out military operations against America's allies in the largely Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which were the ground troops that retook Syria from ISIS. The SDF is regarded as a terrorist group by Turkey, which has a restive Kurdish minority.

But the SDF have been the best kind of allies to the United States, losing, according to a statement from the SDF, some 11,000 soldiers fighting ISIS. This, while the US has had 17 soldiers killed in action in both Syria and Iraq during the past five years.

What is particularly odd is that we have already seen this movie before from Trump. Last December, President Trump ordered the withdrawal of the 2,000 US ground troops then in Syria.

This precipitated the resignation of the then-Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, who saw the move as an abandonment of American allies on the battlefield. Eventually, Trump was talked out of a total US withdrawal from Syria because of the possibility that ISIS might return, and because it would give Iran greater sway in the country.

If there is one key lesson learned from fighting jihadist terrorist groups in the 18 years since 9/11, it is that they thrive in weak or failing Muslim states such as Syria, and other countries where the United States has little to no presence.

The US has run a version of this play before. After the United States pulled out of Iraq, the group that later became ISIS first organized in Syria in 2011, before it invaded Iraq three years later and took over much of the country.

What is particularly odd about Trump's policy shift on Syria is that it does exactly what Trump repeatedly warned against during his presidential campaign: it gives America's enemies an early heads-up about US military plans.

During his campaign, Trump also had correctly critiqued the total American troop withdrawal from Iraq under Barack Obama in 2011 as helping pave the way for the rise of ISIS.

What Trump's announcement on Syria also underlines is the collapse of any kind of deliberative national security process. Trump appears to make unilateral decisions surrounded by a cabinet of yes-men and acolytes because he has chased out advisers like Mattis, former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and former Chief of Staff John Kelly, all of whom tended to push back against Trump's more ill-advised decisions.

Such as a precipitous withdrawal from Syria.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3573549

Reported Deaths: 52491
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles119295421467
Riverside2897733792
San Bernardino2867552940
Orange2614083921
San Diego2606253303
Santa Clara1107551781
Kern103422877
Fresno955481443
Sacramento935281484
Alameda807771242
Ventura77749852
San Joaquin668291126
Contra Costa62720681
Stanislaus56235949
Tulare48013761
Monterey42261328
San Mateo39059515
San Francisco34291422
Santa Barbara32050413
Solano30115164
Merced29147401
Sonoma28193298
Imperial26909635
Kings22082220
Placer19861232
San Luis Obispo19696235
Madera15496214
Santa Cruz14671183
Marin13231197
Yolo12851185
Shasta11017174
Butte10970163
El Dorado9160100
Napa905369
Sutter888097
Yuba577337
San Benito577261
Lassen562419
Tehama508652
Nevada397274
Tuolumne396059
Mendocino381643
Amador346641
Humboldt321033
Lake316441
Glenn223023
Colusa213613
Calaveras191049
Siskiyou176014
Inyo131337
Mono12144
Del Norte10035
Plumas6536
Modoc4564
Mariposa3957
Trinity3705
Sierra1000
Alpine820
Unassigned00
Chico
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 63°
Oroville
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 63°
Chico
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 63°
Red Bluff
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 16°
Feels Like: 68°
Red Bluff
Partly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 68°
Chico
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 63°
Sunshine and 70s for the next few days with a few clouds today the farther south you are located. We cool down this weekend with rain chances. Showers continue into next week.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events