President Donald Trump is freezing more than $200 million in funds for recovery efforts in war-torn Syria amid a reassessment of the role the U.S. should play in the drawn-out conflict there, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The White House ordered the State Department to put the funds on hold, the report said. According to The Journal, Trump did so after reading a news report saying that the U.S. had recently committed an additional $200 million to early recovery efforts.
Fox News reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had pledged the money back in February in Kuwait at a meeting of the coalition trying to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS).
ISIS controls just 5 percent of the battered nation but are fighting to keep it and are losing little ground in the past few months.
The Journal said that a sped-up pullback of America from Syria could kick up concerns about yielding control of the combat-scarred country to Iran and Russia.
Fox News reports that in the past month, U.S.-led airstrikes supporting local forces on the ground have diminished. In January, Tillerson laid out a strategy in which the U.S. would remain in Syria for the foreseeable future to prevent an ISIS resurgence and keep Iran’s influence in check.
Now, The Journal said, Trump looks to be questioning that tack. He has said he would like to see regional allies like Saudi Arabia take on more of the burden, and the White House has asked Gulf Arab states to come up with billions of dollars for Syria’s recovery.
That makes sense.
Trump’s first public suggestion he was itching to pull out came in a news conference with visiting Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull on Feb. 23, when Trump said the U.S. was in Syria to “get rid of ISIS and go home.”
“We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon — very soon, we’re coming out,” Trump said.
Hell yeah! We’ve spent millions and millions of dollars and many American live have been lost fighting these savages.
I’m with President Trump all the way!
Of course, we could drop a few MOAB’s before we bail!