‘What Withdrawal?’ Senior Official Boasts About Openly Lying to Trump to Keep US Troops in Syria

In late 2018, Donald Trump ordered the immediate withdrawal of almost all US troops from Syria within 90 days. He repeated the order in October 2019. Several hundred US troops remain in Syria to this day, notwithstanding the president’s executive decisions.

Jim Jeffrey, outgoing US special representative for Syria and special presidential envoy for the Western coalition against Daesh (ISIS),* has frankly admitted that he and members of his staff deliberated obfuscated and covered up the true size of the US military footprint in Syria from the president.

“What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal,” the veteran diplomat cheekily added, referring to Trump’s repeated orders in late 2018 and then again in 2019 to bring US troops home.

“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,” Jeffrey boasted.

Jeffrey, 74, served as US ambassador to Iraq under Barack Obama, and as deputy national security advisor to George W. Bush. In August 2016, he joined nearly 50 other Republican national security officials in signing a letter suggesting Trump was not qualified to be president and would put American security at risk if he won.  Trump appointed him to his administration anyway in 2018. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that…

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