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U.S. envoy in fight against Islamic State quits after Syria pullout


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U.S. envoy in fight against Islamic State quits after Syria pullout

By Lesley Wroughton

 

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FILE PHOTO - U.S. envoy to the coalition against Islamic State Brett McGurk attends the Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq, in Bayan, Kuwait February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top U.S. envoy leading a global coalition fighting Islamic State has quit over President Donald Trump's decision this week to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, a source familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

 

Brett McGurk, U.S. special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat the militant group, submitted his resignation effective Dec. 31 to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, a State Department official said.

 

In an abrupt policy shift, Trump announced on Wednesday that Washington would withdraw the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, upending a pillar of American policy in the Middle East and alarming U.S. allies.

 

The decision was followed on Thursday by the surprise departure of U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who in a resignation letter to Trump laid bare the growing divide between the two over foreign policy.

 

McGurk, who was slated to leave his post in February 2019, objected to Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, a person familiar with the matter said, and added that Mattis' departure had a "significant impact" on McGurk's resignation. 

 

A senior administration official referred to McGurk as "an architect of Obama's failed Iran deal," adding the envoy was already scheduled to leave his post next year. Trump earlier this year abandoned a 2015 landmark deal former President Barack Obama reached with Iran to curb its nuclear program.

 

McGurk was appointed by Obama in 2015 and has been instrumental in shaping Washington's policy in northern Syria, particularly its backing of Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militia that have been fighting Islamic State with U.S. support for three years.

 

The U.S. allied forces have won significant victories against the Sunni jihadi group in northern Syria, retaking key cities such as Raqqa, once deemed the capital of its self-declared caliphate. But McGurk, along with other U.S. government agencies, believed the fight against the militant group was hardly over.

 

"It would be reckless if we were just to say, well, the physical caliphate is defeated, so we can just leave now," McGurk told reporters in a Dec. 11 briefing at the State Department. "Nobody is declaring a mission accomplished."

 

By contrast, Trump has claimed victory against Islamic State and considers the mission in Syria over given the group's territorial losses. "Now ISIS is largely defeated and other local countries, including Turkey, should be able to easily take care of whatever remains," Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

 

Trump's declaration of triumph has alarmed key NATO allies such as France and Germany, who said change of course on Syria risks damaging the fight against Islamic State, which has now been squeezed to a sliver of Syrian territory.

 

U.S. officials have warned that taking back the group's territory would not be the same as defeating it.

 

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-12-23
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Donald’s foreign policy or lack there of is driving the few upper level management types away we are in deep with this incompetent president pray for us

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4 minutes ago, Tug said:

Donald’s foreign policy or lack there of is driving the few upper level management types away we are in deep with this incompetent president pray for us

The age of American overseas interventions is thankfully drawing to a halt. I don't think letting foreign sovereign nations control their own countries is a lack of Donald's foreign policy. It looks more like respecting other nation ie a good thing. Let's not forget how the American democrats felt when they suspected foreign nations took out facebook ads against their chosen candidate. Not very happy with foreign interference then were they? Islamic state will be wiped out thanks to Assad(the rightful Syrian leader) and his forces. We can all watch safely from a distance. And, yes, better stop any immigration from Syria to keep Americans safe until it's all sorted.

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Just another man of principal, objecting to Trumps absolute obedience to Erdogan and Putin. They had a long term plan in effect, and one phone called from Erdo changed all of that. Who knows what he promised? What we do know, is that Donald Trump is one of the most dangerous men in the world right now, with his extremely erratic behavior, his refusal to consult with, or listen to his experts, and his adolescent use of twitter. Someone needs to pry his phone from his very small hands. He has betrayed yet another ally, and has demonstrated to the world, that the US cannot be depended upon.

 

Donald Trump. Making America less safe again. Making America less relevant by the day. 

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12 minutes ago, spidermike007 said:

Just another man of principal, objecting to Trumps absolute obedience to Erdogan and Putin. They had a long term plan in effect, and one phone called from Erdo changed all of that. Who knows what he promised? What we do know, is that Donald Trump is one of the most dangerous men in the world right now, with his extremely erratic behavior, his refusal to consult with, or listen to his experts, and his adolescent use of twitter. Someone needs to pry his phone from his very small hands. He has betrayed yet another ally, and has demonstrated to the world, that the US cannot be depended upon.

 

Donald Trump. Making America less safe again. Making America less relevant by the day. 

We can only hope Europe has the moral dignity to step up to the plate and fill the vacuum.

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2 hours ago, TopDeadSenter said:

We can all watch safely from a distance. And, yes, better stop any immigration from Syria to keep Americans safe until it's all sorted.

 

The people that perpetrate the next catastrophe in the US will likely have never visited Syria.

 

IS is a "franchise":

 

"The future of the global jihadist movement is therefore likely to resemble its past, with peripatetic and divided groups of militants dispersing to new battlefields, from North Africa to Southeast Asia. There they will join existing civil wars, establish safe havens and sanctuaries, and seek ways of conducting spectacular attacks in the West that inspire new followers. In this fragmented and atomised form, IS could become even more dangerous and challenging for counterterrorism forces, as its splinter groups threaten renewed and heightened violence throughout the globe. Even if foreign fighters return home in much smaller numbers than initially expected, the next five-year period could very well be characterised by a spike in attacks."

The Future of the Global Jihadist Movement After the Collapse of the Caliphate

Rand Corporation, Dec 11, 2018

 

 

The Islamic State in Africa: Estimating Fighter Numbers in Cells Across ...

Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point, August 18)

 

 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Boon Mee said:

The Turks will mop up the few remaining ISIS terror - mongers. Good to bring the boys home. 

Let’s keep that in mind to remind you when ‘the boys’ ( and girls) are sent back out again to deal with the threats created by a currently very much relieved ISIS.

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1 hour ago, Cryingdick said:

We can only hope Europe has the moral dignity to step up to the plate and fill the vacuum.

Europe should keep out of it , not our business , let them sort it out themselves

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I have no sympathy for Trump and resent his racist, white supremacist overtures. But this action I applaud. Time for US to bring all troops back home. The swamp people thrive on the $800B/yr burden on US taxpayers. That's why the revolt en masse when even a hint takes place of stopping that gravy train. 

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1 hour ago, Cryingdick said:

We can only hope Europe has the moral dignity to step up to the plate and fill the vacuum.

Something a sane president would have considered and discussed with these Euro powers, before announcing his decision.

 

Trump has acted irresponsibly in this... perhaps not towards his troops (although obviously general mattis, an expert in the field, disagrees, as does McGurk)... but certainly towards his allies

 

stepping up, as you propose, will be far harder with this desertion of local allies, and what will be unorganized chaos on the ground.

 

yall call this winning? Lol

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28 minutes ago, Chomper Higgot said:

Let’s keep that in mind to remind you when ‘the boys’ ( and girls) are sent back out again to deal with the threats created by a currently very much relieved ISIS.

 

You think too mutt.... donal will sort the future out during a future temper tantrum... don worry, he’s a genius, after all. Just ask him.

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18 minutes ago, farcanell said:

 

You think too mutt.... donal will sort the future out during a future temper tantrum... don worry, he’s a genius, after all. Just ask him.

Is he a hidden genius like his son-in-law?

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55 minutes ago, ReMarKable said:

Is he a hidden genius like his son-in-law?

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/story/201512140019

 

a hidden genius, disguised as an idiot..... or an idiot, disguised as a hidden genius? 555

 

i think a genius con man, pulling one over on the American people’s.... but that’s OK... fool me once, shame on you (Donald)... fool me twice, shame on me (US citizenry)

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3 hours ago, Boon Mee said:

The Turks will mop up the few remaining ISIS terror - mongers. Good to bring the boys home. 

The Turks will annihilate the Kurds in N-Syria. Trump will be directly responsible for this foreseeable massacre.

 

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2 hours ago, Kasane said:

I have no sympathy for Trump and resent his racist, white supremacist overtures. But this action I applaud. Time for US to bring all troops back home. The swamp people thrive on the $800B/yr burden on US taxpayers. That's why the revolt en masse when even a hint takes place of stopping that gravy train. 

 

You may want to read up on pending/suggested US arms deals with Turkey before going on about "swamp people" or "gravy train".

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3 hours ago, Boon Mee said:

The Turks will mop up the few remaining ISIS terror - mongers. Good to bring the boys home. 

 

Because Erdogan said so? Because Trump says so? Anything to support this "objective" contribution?

 

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1 hour ago, farcanell said:

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/story/201512140019

 

a hidden genius, disguised as an idiot..... or an idiot, disguised as a hidden genius? 555

 

i think a genius con man, pulling one over on the American people’s.... but that’s OK... fool me once, shame on you (Donald)... fool me twice, shame on me (US citizenry)

I like what Michael Murphy said about Trump, "Trump is not stupid, he is an evil genius."

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6 hours ago, TopDeadSenter said:

The age of American overseas interventions is thankfully drawing to a halt. I don't think letting foreign sovereign nations control their own countries is a lack of Donald's foreign policy. It looks more like respecting other nation ie a good thing. Let's not forget how the American democrats felt when they suspected foreign nations took out facebook ads against their chosen candidate. Not very happy with foreign interference then were they? Islamic state will be wiped out thanks to Assad(the rightful Syrian leader) and his forces. We can all watch safely from a distance. And, yes, better stop any immigration from Syria to keep Americans safe until it's all sorted.

ISIS 's ability to survive all the "victories" proclaimed by its various enemies is and will remain its main recruiting argument. Including in western countries.

With a billion Muslims and at least 10% of Salafists, the potential of recruitment for Islamist groups remains immense and consequently their survival is assured - the threat is underestimated,

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Brett McGurk has quit over Trumps stupidity and ignorance. He will not listen to advice. Trump is trying to please his despot friends. In many nations Donald Trump would be tried for treason & put to death. The nation & the American people mean nothing to him. He has demonstrated it repeatedly. Now the shutdown. Does he care? No. A vast majority of the American people do not support the wall. Yet he continues with his nonsense. 

 

There is now a less than zero percent chance of him getting reelected. The planet will celebrate that. So will I. 

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7 hours ago, Cryingdick said:

We can only hope Europe has the moral dignity to step up to the plate and fill the vacuum.

I’m sure Mr Makron who is a good supporter of Iran’s regim can acomplish the mission by getting help from 40 years friend. Great team of two in Syria.  🤪😀🤣

 

 

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7 hours ago, Cryingdick said:

We can only hope Europe has the moral dignity to step up to the plate and fill the vacuum.

One European country already has and, no doubt will step up it's efforts......Russia.

 

Putin - Making Russia Great Again (with a little help from his friend, The Donald).

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3 hours ago, The Theory said:

I’m sure Mr Makron who is a good supporter of Iran’s regim can acomplish the mission by getting help from 40 years friend. Great team of two in Syria.  🤪😀🤣

 

 

 

Makron is hardly a "good supporter of Iran's regime". If anything, he's one of the few European leaders who were rather straightforward when commenting on Iran's ballistic missile program and arsenal. Not that this topic is about him, obviously.

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18 hours ago, Cryingdick said:

He was leaving already to take a job at a university on Feb 1st. With Trump pulling out his job was effectively over anyway.

He didn’t even know who he was, yet he declared ISIS is history 🙄 iSIS has a horde of cash and gold waiting to be used.  Anyway, they got the USA out of the way of Russia, Turkey and Iran who are ecstatic about the announcement 

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