Lindsey Graham, Nikki Haley on Trump's Syria plan: Disaster in the making

"The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades," Trump said in a series of tweets.

By REUTERS, JERUSALEM POST STAFF
October 8, 2019 00:53
4 minute read.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 74th session o

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City, New York, U.S., September 25, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS)

US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria, drew sharp criticism from political allies and rivals alike, some of whom said they would promote bipartisan sanctions in Congress against Turkey.

The United States was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, that was many years ago. We stayed and got deeper and deeper into battle with no aim in sight. When I arrived in Washington, ISIS was running rampant in the area. We quickly defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate,.....


Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close ally of the president, tweeted that if press reports about the move are accurate, "this is a disaster in the making."
"If this plan goes forward," Graham added, "[I] will introduce Senate resolution opposing and asking for reversal of this decision. Expect it will receive strong bipartisan support."

Later, in an interview with Fox News, he called Trump's decision "impulsive," and added that it is a big win for Iran, Assad, and ISIS. "This to me, is just unnerving to its core," he said.


Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said he agrees with Graham. "I’m working with Lindsey Graham to make sure Turkey knows that Congress will not abandon our key allies in the war against ISIS and stand by while U.S. foreign policy is outsourced to Russia, Iran, and Turkey," he tweeted.

The two said they would introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey "if they invade Syria and will call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the U.S. in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate."

MK Yair Lapid (Blue and White) released a statement of support in the upcoming bipartisan decision. "I join my friends Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Chris Van Hollen in their call to impose sanctions on Turkey and suspend it from NATO in response to any attack on the Kurds in northern Syrian," he said. "I also welcome President Trump making the cost of any such attack absolutely clear to Erdogan. ‪The world has a moral responsibility to the Kurds who led the fight against ISIS and paid with their blood."

Former US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, tweeted a similar message. "We must always have the backs of our allies if we expect them to have our back," she wrote. "The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake."


Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said that if reports about US retreat in Syria are accurate, "the Trump administration has made a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria."


"It would confirm Iran's view of this administration and embolden them to escalate hostile attacks which in turn could trigger much broader and more dangerous regional war," he said.
Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of FDD, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan policy institute, told the Jerusalem Post that withdrawing from Syria would be a mistake. "America is developing a reputation over two administrations of abandoning allies," he said.

"The Kurds fought and died to defeat ISIS and save American lives. And Washington abandoned them to appease Turkish president Recep Erdogan, an anti-American authoritarian. IRGC Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani once said that America always abandons its friends. The U.S. shouldn’t be in the business of proving him correct. Trump’s decision demonstrates that Israel must never assume that Washington’s support is eternal," he added.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), released a statement calling Trump's decision "a catastrophic mistake that puts our gains against ISIS at risk and threatens America’s national security."

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) voiced a similar message, calling the move "reckless and dangerous decision to abandon SDF." He said that the Kurds "have been critical US partners and most effective in the fight against ISIS. Again, POTUS makes a major policy decision after phone call w/ foreign leader that ignores the advice of our own military leaders and facts on ground."

"Erdogan only cares about Turkish interests here," he added. "Why is POTUS deferring? Does he not understand long-term risks to US security?"



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