Posted by Curt on 21 December, 2018 at 10:25 am. 2 comments already!


President Trump’s decision to pull US forces out of Syria is being described as abrupt, but he has said he would do this for some time. The announcement seems to have caught many in national security by surprise. But planning for this eventuality has been underway for a while.

Security Studies Group (SSG) was asked in early 2018 to draft a plan for US withdrawal, with a focus on working with allies in the region and some tribes in Syria. The concept was to work with Sunni tribes similarly to the Anbar Awakening in Iraq during the period known as The Surge. As ISIS was pushed out, the plan would be to arm and train local citizenry into militias and police forces so they could protect themselves. Kurdish forces, that had been so helpful in the fight against ISIS, were also predicted to continue to act as security for their own areas.

SSG’s plan further anticipated working with TurkeySaudi ArabiaJordan and other regional allies to provide resources and security assistance to this effort. This followed the President’s stated desire that those who live in the neighborhood should have skin in the game. Once ISIS was defeated, the goal was (then) to ensure Iran could not solidify a land bridge to the Mediterranean Sea and to implement applicable United Nations Security Council Resolutions relating to Syria.

We published a public version of this plan on April 8, 2018 and provided a more detailed version to the Trump Administration. During the intervening months, the actions against ISIS have continued quite successfully and President Trump determined that the military mission would end. This did not mean efforts to achieve other US goals for Syriawould stop but that they would be pursued using other modalities of US power and with assistance from allies.

SSG recently released the portions of our plan that were redacted from the public version. We did this following the President’s withdrawal announcement, which made revealing vulnerabilities of US forces and potential negotiations with allies no longer a concern.

Read more

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x