Weekly Recap: US Withdrawal from Syria

US forces ordered to protect Syrian oil fields

U.S. forces have been ordered to prepare to provide security for oil fields in eastern Syria to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Islamic State militant group, a defense official told NBC News

Why it matters: President Trump has been adamant about getting the U.S. military out of Syria and the rest of the Middle East and tweeted last week about the victory of bringing all the troops home. However, in a press conference, Trump went back on that promise and instead announced: “a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil”. Fox News reports the White House has been receiving heavy criticism for these contradictory statements, as America remains confused about our Syria policies. 

What the left is saying: The New York Times discusses the uncertainties of the Pentagon’s plan. It is unclear if Kurdish forces would “continue to sell some of the oil from the fields”. Syria’s eight-year war forced them to shut down most of their oil wells and damaged their pipelines. The Times also reports that the Kurds “accused the United States of betrayal” as the Kurdish forces are worried that without help from the U.S. they will not be able to guard prisons holding thousands of Islamic prisoners or defend themselves from Turkish attacks. 

What the right is saying:  Jared Malsin and Dion Nissenbaum, writers for Wall Street Journal, report that keeping troops in Syrian positions reflects the White House’s desire to “preserve leverage in that region”. They also question how the U.S. will be able to export this oil because the area is still under the Damascus government, which could cause issues with Russia, who said the “move was illegitimate and would enable oil smuggling”.

Find out who’s right on Quibbl: 

  • Will Trump impose more sanctions on Turkey’s economy (link)?

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