Syria is at a point where the western powers must choose whether to cooperate in its future or turn their backs out of resentment for Russia
The Independent Voices
Why would the Trumps take 24 hours out of their Christmas schedule to visit US troops in Iraq? Let’s hazard some guesses.
One, because, having decided to forego his Florida holiday and remain in Washington during the government shut-down, Donald Trump wanted a break that would still look patriotic. Two, because it was the right thing to do, and previous presidents have made it a tradition to dole out holiday cheer to troops stationed in far-flung places. Three, because almost two years into his presidency, it was becoming embarrassing that Trump had not yet visited US troops abroad.
Well, probably it is all of the above – especially the last. But there is another, more immediate, reason why the US president might have decided to take the first lady and his national security adviser half-way around the world to address US troops at their garrison near Baghdad, and this was the vehemently negative response from the political establishment at home and from US allies in Europe to his announcement that he was ordering US forces back from Syria.
But he did not use his speech in Iraq to back down. He stood by his declared victory against Isis and the Syria withdrawal, it would appear, is still on. Americans, he said in a tweet, would come to appreciate it.
The only concession he made to his critics was to say that if Isis in Syria still proved troublesome, action could be taken from the “forward base” in Iraq (which might not have been what the troops stationed there necessarily had in mind).