News Release

Trump Backing Away from CIA in Syria?


newsrelease31President Donald Trump tweeted late Monday: “The Amazon Washington Post fabricated the facts on my ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad…..” The British Independent reports “Donald Trump confirms covert CIA programme in Syria on Twitter.”

The Washington Post recently ran a piece by Michael G. Vickers, formerly of the CIA, “The Trump administration should not give up on removing Assad in Syria.” Vickers writes: “President Ronald Reagan understood the potential of covert proxy wars to alter global power balances. Through stepped-up support for the Afghan mujahideen and other anti-Communist movements, and other, complementary strategic policies, he won the Cold War. It took the Carter and Reagan administrations more than five years to come up with a war-winning strategy (work that I helped to lead as a CIA officer) against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The same could be done in Syria today.”

In 2013, Ivan Eland wrote the piece “Hold U.S. Policymakers to Their Abysmal Record on Foreign Meddling,” precisely warning of a repeat in Syria: “In a situation similar to today’s Syria, U.S. weapons supplies to Afghan rebels fighting the Soviets went to the most radical groups, leading to the rise of al Qaeda and the Taliban, the 9/11 attacks, and ultimately the Afghan bog in which the United States now finds itself.”

IVAN ELAND, ieland at, @Ivan_Eland
Eland is senior fellow and director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute. His books include Putting “Defense” Back into U.S. Defense Policy.

He said today: “The problem with funding non-governmental fighting groups in Syria has always been one of shifting alliances and also the capture of U.S. war materiel by hostile terror groups. President Obama was leery of getting more involved in the chaotic, multi-sided civil war in Syria for exactly this reason. Yet he did fund and arm groups against the Assad government and also groups going after ISIS.

“President Trump has wisely ended aid to the anti-Assad groups, but whether they will now turn on the United States is unclear. Unfortunately, he has doubled down on support for the Kurdish-Arab coalition fighting ISIS. Where these arms will eventually end up is anyone’s guess. Even if ISIS is defeated, what is next? Will Trump allow Iranian-backed militias and Assad’s forces to take over territory that ISIS has abandoned or increase supplies for the Kurds/Arabs to fight them? If the Syrian forces and militias defeat the Kurds/Arabs, will they be made stronger by capturing U.S. war materiel? The next civil war in Syria may drag in both Russia and the United States supporting opposing sides — with the potential for escalation between two nuclear powers always in the background.”

Eland’s most recent piece warns of troop escalations in Afghanistan and Syria: “Trump’s Slide into Endless-War Syndrome.”

The Daily Beast recently reported: “Turkey Leaks Secret Locations of U.S. Troops in Syria.”

Also, see: “The CIA, Amazon, Bezos and the Washington Post.”