A formerly “Never Trump” Syria envoy who admitted to lying to the President about the number of American troops in Syria now insists his successors should follow his approach to the Middle East.
“Trump’s administration, he said, has looked at the Middle East through a geostrategic lens and kept its focus on Iran, Russia, and China, while keeping the metastatic “disease” of Islamist terror in check,” the former Syria envoy noted.
The individual in question, Jim Jeffrey, a career ambassador of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, revealed his routine deception of President Trump and his advisers in an exit interview with Defense One.
The piece, “Outgoing Syria Envoy Admits Hiding US Troop Numbers; Praises Trump’s Mideast Record” reveals that Jeffrey would play “shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there,” referencing Syria:
He acknowledges that his team routinely misled senior leaders about troop levels in Syria.
“We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there,” Jeffrey said in an interview. The actual number of troops in northeast Syria is “a lot more than” the roughly two hundred troops Trump initially agreed to leave there in 2019.
Despite the President’s efforts to withdraw troops from Syria, Jeffrey insisted “There was never a Syria withdrawal.”
“When the situation in northeast Syria had been fairly stable after we defeated ISIS, [Trump] was inclined to pull out. In each case, we then decided to come up with five better arguments for why we needed to stay. And we succeeded both times. That’s the story,” he emphasized – a clear threat to the chain of command.
Jeffrey, however, insists that the “incoming Biden administration stick with Trump’s foreign policy in the Middle East,” noting “Trump’s “modest” and transactional approach to the Middle East has yielded a more stable region than either of his predecessors’ more transformational policies.”
“Jeffrey believes Trump has achieved a kind of political and military “stalemate” in a number of different cold and hot conflicts, producing a situation that is about the best any administration could hope for in such a messy, volatile region,” he continued.