• 73°

Other Voices: Syria pullout is a big mistake

The Trump administration may have sent ISIS a lifeline. It could be a costly decision — for the United States, for the nations of the Middle East, for the world.

The murderous butchers of Islamic State were on the ropes, their “caliphate” in tatters, their existence largely limited to remote sections of Syria. Several thousand American soldiers — many of them Special Operations troops from Fort Bragg — are in the region, working with an assortment of militias and some allied forces to exterminate what remains of the vicious insurgency that once claimed a broad swath of Syria and Iraq, including the latter country’s second-largest city, Mosul.

But an intense effort by Iraqi, American and other allied forces — especially tough Kurdish fighters — recaptured most of Iraq’s territory and drove ISIS into Syria, with the goal of neutralizing and eliminating the fanatic force.

But the effort was still a long way from the final death knell. As American Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in September, “Getting rid of the caliphate doesn’t mean you then blindly say, ‘Okay, we got rid of it,’ march out and then wonder why the caliphate comes back.” As recently as the beginning of this week, Pentagon officials were saying that the U.S. is in it for the long haul, prepared to continue the effort to crush the insurgency.

But all that changed on Wednesday morning, when the White House announced that all American troops in Syria would be brought home. The president tweeted that the United States had “defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” The move makes good on a longstanding Trump vow — first stated during his presidential campaign — to get American troops out of Syria.

The trouble is, ISIS hasn’t been fully defeated. That’s still a work in progress, which is why we’ve had as many as 4,000 American troops there, coordinating with other forces, training and supplying them, and sometimes directly engaging with ISIS remnants. Our presence has also served as a balance to efforts by Russia and Iran to extend their influence throughout the region — a mission of considerable importance.

Bringing our troops home before the job is done and there is some stability in the region is a dangerous risk unlikely to work out well for us or our allies. …

— Fayetteville Observer

Comments

Local

‘Meet the need’: Rowan County Health Department looks to add to vaccination options

Local

Seaford is first woman in county hired for town manager position since the ’90s

Local

Colonial Spring Frolic makes a comeback to kick off museum’s year

Local

Concord City Council wants to name bridge for fallen officer, Rowan native

Education

RSS administration will recommend selling Faith Elementary property to charter school

Business

Inspired by advice from father-in-law, Angela Mills launches her own business in memory of him

Local

Rowan County Democrats re-elect leaders, pass resolutions

Local

Baseball: Memories come alive in Ferebee book

Local

During Child Abuse Prevention Month, professionals reflect on detecting abuse in a virtual world

Business

Biz Roundup: Small Business Center announces spring slate of workshop for business owners

Clubs

Kiwanis Pancake Festival starts Friday

Local

Rowan fire marshal seeks to clear up confusion, worry caused by solicitation letter

Education

Fun every day: Fifth anniversary for Yadkin Path Montessori School

Nation/World

Charles: Royal family ‘deeply grateful’ for support for Philip

News

North Carolina sites to resume J&J vaccines after CDC review

News

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Playoff time means get ready for ‘big-boy football’

High School

High school football: Hornets overpower South to secure playoff spot

Crime

Jeffrey MacDonald won’t be released despite deteriorating health

Business

Amazon warehouse workers reject union in Alabama

Nation/World

Ex-NFL player’s brain to be probed for trauma-related harm after Rock Hill shootings

Education

Duke University to require COVID vaccinations for fall term

Education

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Record night for Pinckney as East cruises; Carson wins thriller in OT