These Kurdish forces have been the United States’ most reliable partner in fighting the Islamic State in a strategic corner of northern Syria.
Mr. Trump’s decision went against the recommendations of top officials in the Pentagon and the State Department who have sought to keep a small troop presence in northeastern Syria to continue operations against the Islamic State.
In a news analysis on the raid involving Mr. al-Baghdadi, David E. Sanger writes:
The death of the Islamic State’s leader in a daring nighttime raid vindicated the value of three traditional American strengths: robust alliances, faith in intelligence agencies and the projection of military power around the world.
But President Trump has regularly derided the first two. And even as he claimed a significant national security victory on Sunday, the outcome of the raid did little to quell doubts about the wisdom of his push to reduce the United States military presence in Syria at a time when terrorist threats continue to develop in the region.
Mr. Trump has long viewed the United States intelligence agencies with suspicion and appears to see its employees as members of the “deep state.” He also has a distinctly skeptical view of alliances — in this case, close cooperation with the Kurds, whom he has effectively abandoned.
“The irony of the successful operation against al-Baghdadi is that it could not have happened without U.S. forces on the ground that have been pulled out, help from Syrian Kurds who have been betrayed, and support of a U.S. intelligence community that has so often been disparaged,” Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said on Sunday.
“While the raid was obviously a welcome success, the conditions that made the operation possible may not exist in the future,” he said.
To Mr. Trump, the death of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was proof of the wisdom of his strategy of defending America at home without committing United States forces to “endless wars” abroad.
What do you think? What role do you think the United States should play going forward in trying to defeat ISIS in Syria and elsewhere? Do you think American troops should maintain a presence in the region to deter the reinvigoration of ISIS? Or can the United States defend itself at home without committing itself to wars abroad?
Need more information? Here are additional recent articles reporting on the United States’ role in fighting ISIS in Syria: