As I’m sure you’ve already heard, just before the end of 2018, President Trump announced that he would be pulling 2,000 American troops from Syria and removing the United States’ presence from the area. The move was motivated by what the President referred to as Isis’ defeat in Syria as well as the cost in terms of U.S. lives and taxpayer money. In mid-December, when announcing the removal of troops from the area, President Trump tweeted, “We have defeated Isis in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump presidency.”
Shortly after Trump’s announcement, General James Mattis announced his resignation as Defense Secretary alongside Brett McGurk, who served as a special presidential envoy to the coalition fighting Isis. McGurk has been instrumental to building the 74-nation coalition against the terror organization. Mattis’ and McGurk’s resignations are a blow to the United States’ defense around the world. Each had experience and knowledge that will be difficult to find elsewhere. In addition, Mattis was well-regarded by both Republicans and Democrats and an asset as Defense Secretary.
Despite the vocal opposition of his allies both at home and around the world, as well as the experts who would certainly know the best way forward, President Trump has determined that removing troops from Syria would be best for the United States in the long run. He did this seemingly unpredictably taking a lone wolf approach to global security. That’s not good.
While this issue is now somewhat overshadowed in America by the government shutdown, it should remain a vital concern for U.S. citizens. It certainly hasn’t been overshadowed for the Kurds in Syria who have been fighting Isis for years. It also has remained at the forefront of the minds of Israelites who are now looking to increase their efforts in Syria in order to protect their own borders from renewed threats.
For Americans, it’s important to know that Isis has not been defeated and we know that terrorism is never far from home. The terrorist organization has at least 2,500 fighters in the area and, while fighting has slowed in recent years, there is more to be done. The task of finishing the fight in Syria will now fall to the Kurds, who have been armed by the U.S. but have received little support, and Turkey, a longtime foe of the Kurdish militants. In addition, and also a huge concern, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been vocal in his animosity towards Israel.
Despite this, shortly after announcing his intentions to remove U.S. troops from Syria, President Trump and President Erdogan spoke on the phone. During that call, President Erdogan promised to eradicate Isis in the area and President Trump reportedly said, “OK, it’s all yours. We are done.”
Erdogan’s history of lashing out against Israel (he made comments against the country days after that phone call with Trump) as well as Turkey’s fight against the Kurds is counterintuitive to the country destroying Isis in Syria.
Call to Action: The bottom line is, regardless of the best advice available to him President Trump has made a unilateral decision that will have a ripple affect around the world. Claiming this move is in the best interests of America is a copout that I fear will soon come home to roost. Don’t stay in the dark about these issues. Fights that happen in the Middle East affect us here in big ways. We can’t just turn our back and say it’s not our business.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”