Former National Security Advisor McMaster Calls Syria Withdrawal ‘Unfortunate’
JNS.org – Former US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster on Thursday said it was “unfortunate” that his former boss, US President Donald Trump, ordered the withdrawal of US forces from northeast Syria this week—a move that has allowed Turkey to invade the area, attack the Kurdish population and possibly allow the release of ISIS prisoners.
“This is coming from this sentiment that the president and others perceive that our forces are not accomplishing a worthwhile outcome,” he said at an event at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, DC.
“The troop commitment in northeastern Syria was immensely helpful to US security and US interests,” he continued. “Terrorists groups, as you know, after you defeat them on the physical battlefield, they just don’t go away. … They maintain their networks and they build their capabilities.”
McMaster noted that the Syrian Democratic Forces, which consist of Syrian Kurds, “happen to be sitting on top of 65 to 70 percent of Syria’s oil reserves.”
“Guess who really wants that badly? [Russian President] Vladimir Putin and the [Bashar] Assad regime,” he said. “Once you cede control there, you cede influence.”
Additionally, said McMaster, “What’s unfortunate I think about the decision is I think a lot of people who may have been talking to the president, the president himself, may not have focused maybe on the importance of that force in connection w/defeating a terrorist organization.”
Moreover, McMaster said that in addition to the Turkey-Kurdish battle, there are three other simultaneous crises in the Middle East: the intensification of the Syrian civil war, the destabilization of Iraq and the intensification of Iran’s proxies, such as Hezbollah.
Finally, on a separate note, McMaster, when asked during the question-and-answer session, said it was “absolutely not” appropriate for Trump to ask Ukraine in July, according to a whistle-blower complaint, for assistance in the 2020 election by requesting it investigate former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who served on the board of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma.
The call has prompted increased calls for Trump to be impeached, as US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry in late September.