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Old 12-22-2018, 01:42 PM
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Arrow The US Envoy On ISIS, Brett McGurk, Quit In Protest Over Trump's Withdrawal From Syri

The US Envoy On ISIS, Brett McGurk, Quit In Protest Over Trump's Withdrawal From Syria
By: Amber Jamieson - BuzzFeed News Reporter - 12/22/18, at 12:56 p.m. ET
RE: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article...?ref=bfnsplash

The US envoy for the global coalition to fight ISIS, Brett McGurk, is resigning over President Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, BuzzFeed News has been told.

McGurk, who has served in the post since 2015, had been set to leave his position in February, but moved forward his departure to Dec. 31 because he disagreed with Trump's plans. His resignation came just one day after Defense Secretary James Mattis announced he was leaving the Trump administration because of differing views with the president on defense and foreign policy.

In a resignation letter given to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday and described to the Associated Press, McGurk said that, contrary to Trump's claims, militants in Syria were not yet defeated and that pulling US forces would encourage the growth of ISIS.

Just 11 days ago, McGurk said it was "reckless" to think ISIS was defeated and said the battle against the militant group was a "long-term initiative."

"Nobody working on these issues day to day is complacent. Nobody is declaring a mission accomplished," he said at a State Department briefing. "Defeating a physical caliphate is one phase of a much longer-term campaign."

Yet, Trump suddenly announced the withdrawal of troops on Wednesday, writing on Twitter, "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency."

In subsequent posts he seemed to acknowledge that ISIS had not been totally eliminated but still maintained it was time for US forces to return home.

"On Syria, we were originally going to be there for three months, and that was seven years ago - we never left," he tweeted Saturday. "When I became President, ISIS was going wild. Now ISIS is largely defeated and other local countries, including Turkey, should be able to easily take care of whatever remains. We’re coming home!"

Many national security experts, as well as several top Republicans, have expressed alarm at the president's decision, which was subsequently followed by an announcement that Trump was withdrawing 7,000 troops from Afghanistan.

The Global Coalition To Defeat ISIS, where McGurk serves as the US Special Envoy, was set up by former president Obama in 2014. The next meeting of the 79-partner coalition is to be held in February.

The president initially claimed Mattis was retiring, however in his resignation letter released publicly, Mattis made clear his frustrations with Trump's decisions.

"We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances," Mattis wrote, suggesting the president was emboldening US enemies, including Russia, by leaving Syria.

"Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position," he wrote.

Mattis will continue in his role until the end of February.

About the writer & Mike Giglio contributed reporting.
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