In an announcement which has panicked Jews worldwide, US President Donald Trump has defended his decision to pull American special forces out of Syria, tweeting that the “USA should never have been in Middle East”—earning him “scathing bipartisan criticism” and “mounting concern in Israel,” according to the Times of Israel.
Trump lashed out over sharp bipartisan criticism of his decision to pull back US troops from northeastern Syria, saying he is focused on the “BIG PICTURE” that does not include American involvement in “stupid endless wars” in the Middle East.
“Fighting between various groups that has been going on for hundreds of years. USA should never have been in Middle East,” Trump said in a series of morning tweets. “The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!”
Turkey launched its offensive Wednesday against Kurdish fighters in Syria, who have helped the US against the Islamic State. Turkey views the Syrian Kurdish fighters as terrorists, and Trump’s decision to pull back US troops leaves them vulnerable to the military onslaught.
Trump’s decision is being condemned by some of his staunchest Republican allies.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a close Trump ally, stepped up his criticism of the president Wednesday, telling “Fox & Friends” that if Trump “follows through with this, it would be the biggest mistake of his presidency.”
Graham on Monday had warned of the consequences for Israel, saying “The US now has no leverage and Syria will eventually become a nightmare for Israel.” And former Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, told the New York Times on Tuesday that he was no longer sure Israel could “bank on” on the US, under Trump, to come to Israel’s aid at a time of serious war.
Trump defended his unpopular decision, arguing on Twitter that “GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY!” He said the US went to war under a “false & now disproven premise, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. There were NONE!”
Trump said he is “slowly & carefully” bringing home “our great soldiers & military,” in line with his campaign promise to do so. He added: “Our focus is on the BIG PICTURE! THE USA IS GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!”
Trump also claimed the US has spent $8 trillion “fighting and policing” in the Middle East, up from the $7 trillion figure he has cited numerous times.