‘No Reason to Panic’ Over US Decision to Withdraw Troops From Syria Says Former Israeli General

December 23, 2018

2 min read

Former Israeli Gen. Amos Yadlin said on Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria should not be met with panic, considering the administration’s goals in the area.

“Trump’s declaration on US forces withdrawal from Syria is a significant step, but there’s no reason to panic,” posted Yadlin in a Twitter thread. “2000 US troops came to Syria to fight against ISIS and had no authorities to act against Iran.”

The “authorities” Yadlin appears to be referencing is the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress that allows the United States to fight those responsible for the 9/11 attacks. It does not include Iran.

Yadlin, currently the executive director of the Institute for National Security Studies, reassured that “Syria, Israel was and remains the only actor enforcing red lines on the Iranians. Israel has always been defending itself, and seeks no foreign forces’ defense. Not even by our greatest friend and ally, the U.S.”

Instead, he remarked that “the important role of America is to push Iran diplomatically (Pompeo’s 12 demands) and by sanctions, and it’s important they continue, effectively and determinately.”

Regarding the withdrawal itself, Yadlin said that is probably the U.S. President Donald Trump’s “drive to decrease U.S. presence and casualties, the U.S. people’s fatigue from the nation’s long wars, but perhaps mainly what looks like a ‘grand deal’ with Turkey.”

However, Yadlin acknowledged that the ramifications that may come with this possible U.S. move, including benefits for Turkey, whose president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reportedly talked with Trump last week and influenced the latter’s decision.

As Yadlin correctly predicted: “The deal may [include] withdrawing the U.S. protection of the Kurdish areas in northeast Syria, opening the door to Turkish military action there, blocking Turkey’s acquisition of Russian S400 air-defense system and replacing it with $3.5 billion U.S. Patriot system” and possibly allowing both the sale of F-35 and the extradition of cleric and dissident Fathullah Gulen to Turkey.

However, Trump has not committed to extraditing Gulen and the sale of the Patriot system, which Congress can block within the next 13 days, does not also include giving the F-35 to Turkey, as that has been temporarily blocked under the National Defense Authorization Act that Trump signed in August.

Moreover, Yadlin said Trump’s decision could be “seen by many as betraying its Kurdish partners in the war on ISIS, undermines U.S. reputation and credibility.”

Finally, he said, “Trump’s decision embolden its rivals which are committed to the region on the long term: Russia, Iran, Assad and ISIS.”

“In summary, this step effect on Israel, but there is no reason for immediate or military concern,” he concluded in the Twitter thread.

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