This morning, it was announced that President Trump is considering a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. The reason given is that the terrorist organization ISIS no longer holds territory in Syria, thus the primary objective of a U.S. military presence there is completed. Yet ISIS is far from the only Syria-based danger to America's interests and allies. Before reaching a final decision on the matter, the Trump Administration should consider the threats still posed from Syria's borders.
Israel shares a northeastern border with Syria. Since the Syrian Civil War began seven years ago, the threat facing Israel from that border has risen. The shifting power vacuum created by the war offered opportunities for several dangerous forces to gain a foothold. One was ISIS; another was Iran. It is now abundantly clear that Iran has installed forces in Syria in a fresh bid for regional hegemony. Like Lebanon, Syria offers a new front for terror and violence against Israel, a country it wishes to wipe from the map. Just this spring, an Iranian drone entered sovereign Israeli territory from Syria - the first ever direct attack on Israel by Iran. Additionally, Hezbollah, a terrorist organization backed and armed by Iran, has now established a presence in Syria as well.
The situation in Syria remains immensely complex and unstable. It is important that U.S. decision-makers fully consider the implications a fast and full withdrawal could have for Israel, for other American allies, and for containing the violent regional aspirations of the Iranian regime.
American Jewish Congress