TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Echoing previous administrations, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the “new” strategy in Syria will involve a long-term American military presence and regime change in order to secure US interests.
Speaking at Stanford University's Hoover Institution Wednesday, Tillerson sought to distance President Donald Trump’s policy in Syria from former President Barack Obama’s approach.
“We cannot make the same mistakes that were made in 2011, when a premature departure from Iraq allowed Al-Qaeda in Iraq to survive and eventually morph into ISIS,” Tillerson said.
Instead, he said, the US now intends to maintain an open-ended military presence in Syria, and that the American mission in the country will be “conditions based.”
Tillerson said the US will remain in Syria until several “key end states” are met. These include, the defeat of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and stamping out the Iranian influence in the country.
However, his talking points are eerily similar to those made by the previous administrations.
Tillerson made clear that US troops will remain in Syria until IS and Al-Qaeda are defeated.
“Let us be clear, the United States will maintain a military presence in Syria, focused on ensuring ISIS cannot reemerge,” Tillerson said, adding that the terrorist organizations are “still a grave threat.”
He said the US would stay in the country until “ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Syria suffer an enduring defeat; do not present a threat to the homeland; and do not resurface in a new form; and that Syria never again serves as a platform or safe haven for terrorists to organize, recruit, finance, train and carry out attacks on American citizens at home or abroad or against our allies.”