Foreign Policy

Trump Says ISIS is Alive And Well After Declaring Victory

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump arbitrarily declared victory over the so-called Islamic State yesterday and gave the order to withdraw from Syria as quickly as possible, but has ISIS really been defeated?

Experts will tell you they haven't been defeated, but so will Trump depending on what day of the week it is.


It's that second tweet that really caught the world's attention this morning. He says others will have to fight ISIS, which still exists, and he's warning ISIS not to attack us; implying that they still exist and still have the capacity to attack us.

Just yesterday, Trump declared victory. We have "won against ISIS" he said in a video he also posted to Twitter.


Early reports suggested the military was given a deadline of 60 to 100 days to withdraw, but according to the New York Times they only have 30 days to withdraw. Moreover, the order was given on December 14th so that leaves about four weeks to pack up everything and very rapidly abandon our Kurdish allies in the field.

The Kurdish forces who've done most of the heavy fighting against ISIS are expecting an invasion from Turkey and, if that happens, they will also abandon the fight against what remains of ISIS.

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s defense minister on Thursday said Kurdish forces in Syria would be “buried in their trenches” in any Turkish operation to rout the fighters from the border, just one day after President Trump announced a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.

Speaking from the Qatari capital of Doha, Hulusi Akar said Turkey was preparing “intensely” for a military offensive east of the Euphrates River in Syria, where Kurdish-led forces have battled the Islamic State.

The fighters have dug trenches and tunnels in the area in anticipation of the operation, Akar said, according to Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency.

Everything we currently know tells us Trump gave the order to withdraw from Syria almost immediately after speaking to Turkish President Recep Erdogan on the phone last week.

The big question is what did Erdogan give him?

Like many others, I suspect Erdogan offered to back away from the investigation of the assassination of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. Persuading Trump to withdraw from Syria may have been Erdogan's goal from the beginning.

  • Badgerite

    The Kurds have been our best allies in the region. We are betraying them. And we are betraying them for the corrupt purposes of a person who is compromised by Russia, Saudi Arabia and who knows who else. This has nothing whatsoever to do with our national security or the regional security or anything the country and the military has a right to expect from its political leaders.

  • muselet

    Occam’s Razor leads us to the inescapable conclusion that Donald Trump hasn’t the first clue what he’s talking about, with regard to either Da’esh (ISIL/ISIS) or other countries’ reaction to his sudden declaration of victory.

    The theory that Recep Erdoğan is engaged in a crude carrot-and-stick manipulation of Trump over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder is sound, and fits with Trump’s transactional view of the world: if some Kurds get slaughtered because of the deal, well, at least Mohammed bin Salman gets to keep palling around with Jared Kushner (and carrying Trump’s debt).

    –alopecia

    • Tony Lavely

      Certainly makes the best sense of anything I’ve heard.

  • katanahamon

    Why isn’t the media saying Rump now wants American taxpayers to pay for his wall because he’s trying to shut down the government to get five billion for it? Saving money through a new deal, supposedly, is also a tax on Americans because any trade savings go to private entities.. How stupid are these jackasses that support Rump? Oh yeah..I forgot..very, extremely, disablingly stupid..

  • simpfan

    Schrödinger’s ISIS: they both are and are not defeated.