Bolton Walked Back Syria Statement. His Disdain for Debate Helped Produce It.

08 January, 2019, 06:28 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters

Trump's abrupt announcement last month that he was bringing home the roughly 2,000 troops in Syria, saying they had succeeded in their mission to defeat Islamic State there, sparked concern among officials in Washington and allies overseas and prompted Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to resign.

A delegation of top U.S. officials will visit Turkey on Tuesday to discuss joint plans after the United States withdraws from Syria. "I'm sure Jim is going to have an bad time in Ankara because of things someone else said".

Shocking his cabinet, the State Department and lawmakers from both parties, Trump said the 2,000 USA troops stationed in the war-ravaged country would be out in 30 days.

"These disjointed messages reflect the lack of a real policy process inside the government", Sloat continued.

As the president's national security adviser, Bolton has largely eliminated the internal policy debates that could have fleshed out the troop decision with timetables, conditions and a counterterrorism strategy for after the troops leave.

Bolton's explanation of the conditions for withdrawal appeared to contradict U.S. President Donald Trump's December 19 Twitter announcement that ISIS had been defeated and that U.S. forces were "coming back now".

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"First of all, this is an effort by John Bolton to make up for what was clearly ... a huge missed opportunity, ... it is damage control", Miller, now with the Wilson Center, told Al-Monitor. "Turkey would not accept any USA demand to allow the YPG to freely roam the region".

"Bolton did not go rogue", Miller added. "Our boys, our young women, our men, they're all coming back and they're coming back now".

Bolton's clarification follows a backlash from U.S. lawmakers and other nations that the Kurds' fate was left in doubt by Trump's surprise announcement last month that he would quickly withdraw.

According to Erim, if Turkey doesn't see Bolton's requests as feasible, then it will go back to square one, meaning Turkey will conduct a military operation despite USA military presence in Syria.

Bolton's remarks and Turkey's response mark the latest chapter in the White House's decision to withdraw its troops from Syria - a move that culminated in the resignations of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the top presidential envoy in the fight against ISIS.

"You have to remember, Iran hates ISIS more than we do, if that's possible. We won", Trump said. Recep Tayyip Ergodan considers the YPG to be a part of the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group that both Turkey and the U.S. consider to be a terrorist organization. But these are countries that hate ISIS.

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Pompeo is also headed to the region this week to reassure Arab allies that the United States will not abandon them to either the Islamic State or to Iran.

"It's going quickly", Trump said about the timeline.

"Timetables or the timing of the withdrawal occurs as a result of the fulfillment of the conditions and the establishment of the circumstances that we want to see", Bolton said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

All of this stands in marked contrast to statements from Trump himself.

In July 2018, Trump met with Putin in Helsinki, talking without aides present for over two hours, then emerging to declare that the Russian leader "was extremely strong and powerful in his denial" of meddling in the 2016 election.

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