Bolton says Israel's defense 'assured' after US withdrawal from Syria
Sebastian Scheiner (POOL/AFP)
US President Donald Trump's National Security adviser said Sunday during a visit to Israel that the American withdrawal from Syria must be done with the defense of allies "assured" while touting the alliance between the United States and Israel.
"We're going to be discussing the president's decision to withdraw, but to do so from northeast Syria in a way that makes sure that ISIS is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again," John Bolton said when meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
"And to make sure that the defense of Israel and our other friends in the region is absolutely assured, and to take care of those who have fought with us against ISIS and other terrorist groups."
Bolton later wrote on Twitter following a visit to the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem that ties between Israel and the United States were "unbreakable" and reaffirmed US support for Israel's right to self defense.
The alliance between the United States and Israel is unbreakable, and under this Administration, our ties grow ever stronger by the day. U.S. support for Israel’s right to self-defense is unwavering.— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) January 7, 2019
Trump's announcement on December 19 that the US would immediately withdraw its troops from Syria led to concerns among allies, and he has since spoken of "slowly" sending troops home "over a period of time".
US withdrawal from #Syria conditioned on security of regional allies 'who fought alongside us' against #ISIS and other terror groups, @AmbJohnBolton says while addressing Syria pullout: pic.twitter.com/vyKgAAsyoM— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) January 6, 2019
Israel is especially worried over whether it will allow its main enemy Iran to expand its presence in the neighboring country.
Bolton told journalists travelling with him earlier in the day that conditions such as guarantees on the safety of Kurdish allies must be met before American troops are withdrawn from Syria, NBC News reported.
Bolton also said all 2,000 US forces may not be withdrawn, according to the report, adding that the withdrawal would take place in northeastern Syria, while some forces could remain to the south at the al-Tanf garrison as part of efforts to counter Iran's presence.
Netanyahu thanked Bolton for Washington's commitment to Israel's security, as well as defending the Jewish state in the United Nations.
The Israeli Prime Minister also recalled Trump's historic decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, joking that the US ambassador to Israel is now much easier to visit.
On Monday, Netanyahu will show Bolton around in the Golan Heights, if the weather allows for such a trip.
“When you’re there, you’ll understand why we’ll never leave the Golan Heights, and why it’s important for all countries to recognize Israeli sovereignty,” Netanyahu told Bolton at the press conference.
After Trump's announcement to withdraw from Syria, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also assured Netanyahu about Washington's commitment to the security of Israel.
“The decision the president made on Syria in no way changes anything this administration is working on alongside Israel. The counter ISIS campaign continues, our efforts to counter Iranian aggression continues, and our commitment to Middle East stability and protection of Israel. We will continue the same way as before this decision was made,” Pompeo said at a press conference with Netanyahu in Brazil last week.
An Israeli official told reporters after the meeting that “Israel received almost everything it wanted. Israel had 8 requests — 7 of which were answered” by Pompeo,
You need to be logged in in order to post comments. Sign up or log in
As usual POTUS administration flip flops again and again and again. Today’s policy? Yesterday’s policy? Tomorrow’s policy? Impulsive Unreliable. Unpredictable., How can anyone from allies to adversaries know what they can count on?
This man Bolton, is a disgrace...
This administration keeps u on ur toes. Not flip Flopping!!!