President Donald Trump’s decision to declare ISIS defeated and order a full US withdrawal from Syria has been met with anger and disbelief by the Washington establishment that hoped for regime change in Damascus.
Trump declared victory over Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) on Wednesday morning, as media reported that some 2,000 or so US troops will leave Syria within 60 to 100 days. Though Trump had openly spoken about wanting to leave Syria back in March, senior officials in his administration have said that US forces would stay there indefinitely.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), known as a foreign policy hawk, also disagreed with a withdrawal, calling it a “colossal” mistake and a “grave error that's going to have significant repercussions in the years and months to come.”
Rubio echoed Lehrich’s assessment that the US withdrawal would turn Syria over to Russia and Iran, adding that it might lead to another conflict between Israel and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, and lend strength to the (hypothetical) argument by Russia and China that Washington is an “unreliable ally.”
Another foreign policy hawk, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said the pullout would be “a huge Obama-like mistake,” enabling the revival of IS and putting the Kurds at risk.