Photo: Getty Images
President Trump
Photo: Getty Images

Israeli source: Trump not listening to intel, doesn't get Iran moves in Syria

Unnamed senior official says U.S. president going against expert advice by saying that Iran can do 'whatever they want' in Syria, vows Jewish state will keep acting against 'Iranian entrenchment'

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to allow Iran “to do what they want” in Syria following the imminent withdrawal of American troops, was made contrary to the advice of the intelligence services and shows he does not understand the situation on the ground, a senior Israeli source said Thursday.



The statement came in response to Trump’s remarks a day earlier indicating the American leader appeared to change course on Syria. “They can do what they want there, frankly,” Trump said of Iran’s presence in the war-battered country. "Iran wants to survive now ... they were going to take over the whole Middle East, but Iran is a much different country right now."


"It’s unfortunate that he isn’t paying attention to the evidence provided by the intelligence services," said the source.


President Donald Trump (Photo: Getty Images)
President Donald Trump (Photo: Getty Images)


"We are in a state of shock. Trump simply doesn’t understand the extent of the Iranian military's presence in the region,” the source said. “What is comforting is that at least Trump isn’t opposed to Israel’s operations in Syria … The president's statement will not change the situation as far as we are concerned, we will continue to act resolutely against the Iranian entrenchment.”


Two weeks ago, the Trump administration announced it was to withdraw all of the approximately 2,000 American troops in Syria—against the advice of top national security aides and without consulting lawmakers or U.S. allies participating in anti-Islamic State operations—as the White House declared victory over IS militants.


Trump did not provide a timetable for the planned military exit from Syria, but said it would happen “over a period of time,” and vowed to protect the U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in the country even though he finds it’s irritable that the Kurds are selling oil to Iran.


President Trump during Wednesday's press conference

President Trump during Wednesday's press conference


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“I didn’t like the fact that they’re selling the small (amount of) oil that they have to Iran, and we asked them not to sell it to Iran... We’re not thrilled about that. OK? I’m not happy about it at all,” he said.


“We want to protect the Kurds, nevertheless. We want to protect the Kurds, but I don’t want to be in Syria forever. It’s sand. And it’s death.”


Trump’s contentious remarks come a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brasília to discuss Syria and Iran.


Following the meeting, a senior source in Jerusalem said that Israel got “almost everything it asked for” when Pompeo granted “seven out of eight” requests Netanyahu made during their talk.


Reuters contributed to this report. 


פרסום ראשון: 01.03.19, 11:40
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