On November 12, 2020, Jim Jeffrey, the United States’ outgoing Special Representative to Syria, announced that he and other leading officials in the Trump administration constantly misled President Donald Trump on the number of troops present in the Middle East.
Jeffrey told Defense One that he was able to convince Trump to keep between 200 to 400 troops in the region in 2019 to “secure” oil fields that U.S. allies held in addition to other key positions. This runs counter to President Trump’s goal of completely withdrawing from the Middle East.
“We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there,” he remarked. “When the situation in northeast Syria had been fairly stable after we defeated ISIS, [Trump] was inclined to pull out. In each case, we then decided to come up with five better arguments for why we needed to stay. And we succeeded both times. That’s the story.”
Jim Sciutto, CNN’s national security correspondent, revealed on Twitter that senior Defense Department officials shared similar stories with him when he interviewed them for his book, “The Madman Theory.”
“If you look at his tweets, they were definitive about leaving,” Sciutto said on November 13, referencing a passage from the book. “And then we didn’t leave. And now we haven’t left, we’re still there, and that’s a good thing.”
In #TheMadmanTheory, senior DOD officials told me how they fooled Trump into leaving troops on the ground:
“If you look at his tweets, they were definitive about leaving. And then we didn’t leave. And now we haven’t left, we’re still there, and that’s a good thing.” https://t.co/vo3HBxb7tg
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 13, 2020
The Daily Caller reported that Jeffrey was originally an opponent of Trump’s foreign policy before he joined the administration in 2018. However, he did give Trump praise during his interview with Defense One. He cited Trump’s “modest” way of handling Middle Eastern policy as far more effective than his predecessors such as George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
“Nobody really wants to see President Trump go, among all our allies [in the Middle East],” he commented. “The truth is President Trump and his policies are quite popular among all of our popular states in the region. Name me one that’s not happy.”
Recently, Trump has been on a tear by firing Defense Secretary Mark Esper and bringing in interventionist critic and retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor as an advisor. The Trump administration has been somewhat of a disappointment on foreign policy. Questionable staffing decisions along with institutional inertia due to the influence of the defense industry has made the Trump administration unable to follow through with some of his most bold foreign policy goals.
If the worst happens and Trump is removed from office, America First nationalists must take up the mantle of non-interventionism and avoid the mistakes the Trump administration has made.
Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Pick Told Hillary Clinton Al Qaeda “Is On Our Side in Syria”
Sullivan said as such in a 2012 email.
The man Joe Biden intends to appoint as his National Security Advisor if inaugurated as President told Hillary Clinton that Al Qaeda “is on our side in Syria” in a 2012 email. Jake Sullivan was a Director of Policy Planning for the State Department at the time, and went on to serve as the National Security Advisor to then-Vice President Joe Biden.
Sullivan made the claim that Al Qaeda (“AQ”) was aligned with American interests in a email leaked through Wikileaks’ Hillary Clinton email disclosures.
Islamist rebels who seek to overthrow the Alawite Ba’athist regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are heavily infiltrated by Jihadist elements, such as al-Qaeda. The neoliberal foreign policy establishment has long sought to empower Syrian rebels, attempting to remove Assad from power as early as 2010.
Al Qaeda and ISIS-aligned Jihadists have since gone on to attempt to purge Christians and Alawite minorities from Syria, in some cases making use of American weaponry either placed in the wrong hands or commandeered by terroristic elements. Western support for jihadist rebels may have prolonged the bloody and seemingly endless Syrian conflict for years, in turn creating a refugee crisis in Europe.
It remains to be seen whether Joe Biden will place emphasis on Syrian regime change as a foreign policy priority, with more information on the Islamist elements of the Syrian opposition since having come to light.
Biden has tasked other “progressive” warhawks to staff senior positions of his administration, including Iraq War advocate Tony Blinken as Secretary of State.
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