Small Wars Journal

Behind the Latest U.S. Policy Zag in Syria

Behind the Latest U.S. Policy Zag in Syria by Michael R. Gordon – Wall Street Journal

In the spring, President Trump had an easy answer on how to deal with the carnage in Syria. The president vowed to quickly wrap up the fight against Islamic State and bring the troops out “very soon.”

The message, which Mr. Trump delivered at a rally in Ohio, was a popular one for a political base that has embraced Mr. Trump’s “America First” message.

Now, with a climactic battle looming for Syria’s plan with Russia and Iran to retake rebel-held Idlib province, Mr. Trump is making a course correction—in tune with national-security officials determined to push back against longstanding adversaries.

The administration is keeping 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, imposing sanctions on businessmen close to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and plunging more deeply into diplomacy.

The principal objectives are to roll back Iran’s role in Syria and ensure that Islamic State can’t make a comeback, U.S. officials say…

Read on.