Small Wars Journal

U.S. Strategic Shift in Syria Turns Focus to Iran From ISIS

U.S. Strategic Shift in Syria Turns Focus to Iran From ISIS by Alexa Corse – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. will turn its focus in Syria to moving to reduce Iranian influence there, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a policy speech that marked a shift in U.S. strategy in Syria away from Islamic State.

Mr. Tillerson on Wednesday said the U.S. will reinvigorate diplomatic efforts and maintain U.S. troops in Syria for the foreseeable future as part of a new focus on countering Iran, as well as pursuing overall political stability in the country.

The Trump administration wants to be engaged in Syria as the threat from Iran rises and Islamic State recedes, he said.

“Iran has dramatically strengthened its presence in Syria by deploying Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops, supporting Lebanese Hezbollah and importing proxy forces from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere,” Mr. Tillerson said.

He accused Iran of spending billions to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and wage proxy wars—complaints that were voiced in Iranian protests across the country this month.

Mr. Tillerson made the remarks at an event hosted by the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University…

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