US SYRIA ENVOY JEFFREY: I WAS NOT CONSULTED BY TRUMP ON WITHDRAWAL

Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (photo credit: FLICKR)

US Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy for the anti-ISIS coalition, James Jeffrey, admitted to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that he wasn’t consulted by US President Trump about the decision to withdraw from Syria. He testified to the Senate on a hearing “assessing the impact of Turkey’s offensive in northeast Syria,” in a grilling that revealed a deep breakdown in the way the US conducts foreign policy.

Jeffrey, a former ambassador, said that the US offered incentives to Turkey before its invasion. He still referred to the Syrian Democratic Forces as colleagues even though the US opened the skies to Turkey to bomb the SDF. Jeffrey indicated that at least one war crime had been committed during Turkey’s operations. He claimed the US was still committed to defeating ISIS and removing Iranian-commanded forces in Syria, even though the US was withdrawing.

Jerusalem Post American Politics
US SYRIA ENVOY JEFFREY: I WAS NOT CONSULTED BY TRUMP ON WITHDRAWAL
Jeffrey claimed that Iran is under pressure from Israel, which he claimed is supported by the US.
BY SETH J. FRANTZMAN OCTOBER 22, 2019 23:22
2 minute read.

Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C
Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (photo credit: FLICKR)

US Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy for the anti-ISIS coalition, James Jeffrey, admitted to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that he wasn’t consulted by US President Trump about the decision to withdraw from Syria. He testified to the Senate on a hearing “assessing the impact of Turkey’s offensive in northeast Syria,” in a grilling that revealed a deep breakdown in the way the US conducts foreign policy.

Jeffrey, a former ambassador, said that the US offered incentives to Turkey before its invasion. He still referred to the Syrian Democratic Forces as colleagues even though the US opened the skies to Turkey to bomb the SDF. Jeffrey indicated that at least one war crime had been committed during Turkey’s operations. He claimed the US was still committed to defeating ISIS and removing Iranian-commanded forces in Syria, even though the US was withdrawing.

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US Senator Benjamin Cardin slammed Jeffrey and the administration for withdrawing, asking whether Jeffrey believed that Turkey would still invade if US troops had remained. “That’s not believable.” Cardin said that Jeffrey had lost credibility. US Senators criticized Turkey. US Senator Marco Rubio asked how much thought went into the decision. “I can’t determine how much thought went into it specifically. We were prepared since December 2018 when the US announced withdrawal, to deal with the situation without [boots] on the ground. We had plans in place,” Jeffrey said. He said the SDF was still detaining ISIS members and that stabilization operations by the SDF were still going on. There are some 14,000 ISIS fighters still scattered in desert areas.

Jeffrey claimed that Iran is under pressure from Israel, which he claimed is supported by the US. He also claimed the US supports Israel’s actions against Iran in Syria. Asked about what exactly Turkey was going to do against ISIS, Jeffrey claimed that there wasn’t much ISIS presence in Turkey’s areas. US Senator Jeanne Shaheen asked how the US could do anything against Iran if the US isn’t in Syria. Jeffrey claimed the US air force was present. “Military power isn’t the only tool we use,” Jeffrey said, arguing that he was a diplomat and not a soldier. Shaheen pointed out the US had already pulled out diplomats, US AID and other diplomatic tools such as stabilization. “The other tools have also been taken away.”Live: Senate Foreign Relations holds hearing on impact of Turkey’s offensive in Syria

The US envoy claimed the US would continue to work with the SDF, even though the US had opened the air space to let Turkey bomb the SDF and drive 200,000 people from their homes. Jeffrey said the US had encouraged the creation of the SDF and encouraged it to be a Kurdish and Arab force.

Asked about what leverage the US has today in Syria the US ambassador claimed that the US has the “leverage of a broken state.” He claimed that “Assad has Israel to contend with.” He also claimed the US has no problem mobilizing international consensus on Syria. He said he was not abreast of what the Pentagon was doing and noted that the US only has control of airspace over its own troops.

Article URL : https://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/US-Syria-envoy-Jeffrey-I-was-not-consulted-by-Trump-on-withdrawal-605482

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