Small Wars Journal

Why the CENTCOM Chief Says a Long-Term Presence in Syria is Not a War-Footing Against Iran

Why the CENTCOM Chief Says a Long-Term Presence in Syria is Not a War-Footing Against Iran by Kyle Rempfer and Tara Copp - Military Times

Recent statements from the White House regarding a long-term presence of troops in eastern Syria to counter Iranian influence in the country should not be interpreted as a shift to a war-footing, Pentagon leadership said Thursday.

During a remote press conference, Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the chief of U.S. Central Command, told reporters he doesn’t view the focus against Iranian influence as a signal of an impending conflict.

“I don’t think we’re seeking to go to war with Iran,” Votel said. “I think the president has made it very clear that the Iranian regime needs to cease its destabilizing behavior and policies that spread violence and human misery throughout the Middle East.”

“The principal way that we are approaching that right now is through diplomatic and economic pressure,” he added. “And I support that. I don’t see that necessarily as being on the road to war with Iran. I don’t think we are.

U.S. troops have been in eastern Syria for several years to help partner forces eliminate Islamic State militants. ISIS fighters in the U.S. area of operations are reportedly surrounded in their final pocket of resistance

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