Mideast Daily News

National Security Adviser Tries Damage Control in Israel

By Michael Friedson | The Media Line

January 6, 2019

(Photo: TURKISH PRESIDENCY/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Recent pronouncements by President Trump have been unsettling to Israeli leadership to the point where National Security Adviser John Bolton has been dispatched to Jerusalem to review issues and explain his boss’s thinking to Prime Minister Netanyahu and senior officials. Atop the leader-board of concerns is the pending withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria – a development that has resulted in many self-described Trump supporters breaking with the chief executive on the issue. Notably, it was the final straw resulting in the resignation of former secretary of defense James Mattis. But across the political divide in Israel, voices were asking whether the Jewish state was “being thrown under the bus by the guy who promised he’ll always have our back.” That the void left by departing American soldiers would open an unobstructed route from Damascus to Beirut – the route over which Iranian arms travel from Tehran to the Hizbullah terrorists – ignited deep concern, as did the frightening prognosis for the Kurd fighters who fought with the U.S. against the Islamic State. The latter was made worse by a seemingly suddenly new and as yet unexplained connection between President Trump and Turkish President Erdogan who views the Kurdish forces as terrorists and to whom the American president is abandoning them. That the American team – which includes Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dunford – plans to move on to Turkey after the Israel visit where Erdogan and company will be “warned” against launching an offensive against the Kurds is unlikely to provide much solace for the Kurds. Israeli defense experts are apparently equally uninspired by suggestions that American forces in Iraq are available if necessary, after the pullout from Syria.

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