Top Washington officials have worked over the past several weeks to thwart an abrupt U.S. military pullout from Syria, that after President Donald Trump announced in December his decision to withdraw the American forces that are operating in the war-torn-country. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who sits on both the committees of Foreign Relations and Intelligence, revealed the decision to slow-down the process of withdrawal to assure the protection of U.S. allies and partners that are expected to be impacted by the move. “We have been able to sort of get the pace of the retreat or withdrawal slowed, which is important, I think a precipitous withdrawal would have been catastrophic for various reasons which we can outline in a moment. A lot of attention has been paid to northeast Syria and our presence alongside the Kurds, but we also have a presence in southern Syria which is largely an anti-Hezbollah presence. In essence, we have a base in which we have– it’s not an enormous number of U.S. personnel– but around it is sort of security zone and that serves not just to protect around 50,000 migrants living in that zone, but it has sort of made it difficult for Iran and their surrogate Hezbollah to operate right on the border with Israel. If the withdrawal includes that area as well, which I anticipate it does, it has other implications,” Israeli PM Netanyahu said.
In efforts to reassure Washington’s regional allies of ongoing American support, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton embarked yesterday on a four-day trip to Israel and Turkey, to discuss the future implications of the anticipated military withdrawal. After first arriving in Jerusalem yesterday, Ambassador Bolton met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he underscored the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security and its right to self-defense. “for the United States a sovereign nations ability to defend itself is the ultimate mark of sovereignty and President Trump has said repeatedly that he backs Israel’s right to self-defense he says it proudly and unequivocally I would just say to any nation whether in this region or not in this region that has any doubt about America’s support for Israel’s self-defense they better think about it again,” John Bolton, U.S. National Security Advisor.
In addition to Washington’s resolve to assure the safety of its allies and partners in the Middle East, President Trump’s National Security Adviser underscored the commitment of the U.S. Administration to work with the leadership in Jerusalem to thwart Iran’s ongoing efforts to acquiring nuclear weapons. “we’ve got the continuing threat of Iran’s quest for deliverable nuclear weapons and despite getting out of the Iran nuclear deal despite the sanctions we have little doubt that Iran’s leadership is still strategically committed to achieving deliverable nuclear weapons the United States and Israel are strategically committed tomaking sure that doesn’t happen,” John Bolton, U.S. National Security Advisor.
In contrast to ongoing efforts by European and other international powers to preserve the nuclear agreement with Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted that the decision by President Trump to pull away from the deal is respected by countries who sincerely care about curbing Tehran’s aggressive behavior. “President walked away from the dangerous Iran deal and reimpose sanctions that’s number one that’s important to America to Israel to the world and everybody who wants to stop Iranian aggression respects that deeply,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli leader also took the opportunity to reiterate Jerusalem’s resolve to protect its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is perceived by many among the international community as part of Syria. “The Golan Heights is tremendously important for our security and I think that when you’re there you’ll be able to understand perfectly why we’ll never leave the Golan Heights and why it’s important for that all countries recognize Israel sovereignty Over Golan Heights,” Netanyahu said.