Well, this one woke everyone up: Republicans, Dems, friends and foes alike are all doing double-takes, but while most US MSM sources seem to miss the “plot”, Al Jazeera considers some likely factors in Trump’s shock announcement:
Declaration of ISIL defeat in Syria and pulling out of troops angers top Republicans and surprises some foreign allies.
President Donald Trump has announced the withdrawal of all 2,000 US troops from Syria as he abruptly declared victory over ISIL in the country, in a move that contradicted his own experts’ assessments and sparked surprise and anger among senior fellow Republicans who railed against it.
“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump presidency,” Trump said on Wednesday, referring to the armed group that once controlled vast areas of Syria and Iraq but is now confined to small pockets.
US officials said many details of the troop withdrawal had not yet been finalised, but they expect their country’s forces to be out by mid-January.
Washington began air raids in Syria in 2014, a year before US ground troops moved in to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group and train Syrian rebels in the war-ravaged country.
Later on Wednesday, Trump suddenly declared their mission accomplished, posting a video on Twitter in which he said is “heartbreaking” to have to write letters and make calls to the loved ones of those killed in battle.
“Now it’s time for our troops to come back home,” said Trump, who has long stated a desire to bring soldiers based in Syria back to the United States…
“They are also suggesting that Trump is doing this as a favour to Turkey – the reason he wants Turkey on side, perhaps, is to ease the pressure on Saudi Arabia, particularly over the death of Jamal Khashoggi,” said Fisher, referring to the October 2 murder of the Saudi journalist inside the kingdom’s consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
In Russia – a major ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, along with Iran – TASS news agency quoted the foreign ministry as saying withdrawing US troops from Syria created prospects for a political settlement.
Britain, meanwhile, said it strongly disagreed with Trump that ISIL had been defeated in Syria, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would study the decision and would ensure its own security…