, 18 tweets, 28 min read Read on Twitter
The media is *the* platform of choice for US officials trying to coerce a reversal in #Syria policy -- the reality is more complex & less promising.

My latest for @politico, questions durability of #America's presence in #Syria vis-a-vis #ISIS's future:

@politico (1) A long-term U.S. presence in al-Tanf depends heavily on #Jordan's support.

But the reliability of that support remains uncertain, given #Amman's doubling investment in ties with #Assad's #Syria & pursuit of renewed trade links.

Have we got that assurance? I don't think so.
@politico (2) For now, #Trump has permitted a "residual force" in #Syria on the condition that it convinces EU allies to (a) stay & (b) expand their presence.

As of today, (a) is possible but (b) is an outright No.

That means the status quo, which we know #Trump opposes altogether.
@politico (3) Beyond US policy chaos/confusion, #ISIS lives on, despite losing its territorial Caliphate.

Attacks in #Iraq are rising; today 8 soldiers killed & average of 4 attacks/day. #Syria is even more concerning.

The conditions that gave rise to #ISIS in 2011-14 are now *worse.*
@politico (4) To claim #ISIS is "defeated enough" - as many do - is profoundly naive & underlines the extent to which we have still not learned the lessons of the recent past.

Military gains are tactical; we have yet to win a strategic victory.

Every cycle seems to bring worse threats.
@politico (5) Most concerning are numbers; the remains of #ISIS & its broader network in #Syria & #Iraq.

100,000+ people in #Iraq & about the same in #Syria are (a) in prison; (b) in [internment] camps; or (c) now on the loose.

That's immeasurably worse than 2011-14. We need to wake up.
@politico Really important here, from @MosulEye, who says #ISIS is already back to its pre-2014 extortion network days in #Mosul, plus PMF predatory behavior & deep local corruption.

I'd heard the same, so it's good [& deeply concerning] to hear more confirmation.

@politico @MosulEye So, President #Trump has confirmed:

(1) #ISIS is defeated
(2) The U.S will keep 400 troops in #Syria - 200 in the NE & 200 in al-Tanf.

(1) is factually incorrect and (2) represents an unsustainable policy based on assumptions that won't come true.


@politico @MosulEye NEW - The last remaining #ISIS territorial holding outside #Baghouz on the bank of the #Euphrates has reportedly been captured.

In effect, #ISIS's *territorial* Caliphate is dead.

In all likelihood, expect a "victory" statement from the #SDF in the next hours.
@politico @MosulEye Interesting that @POTUS/@realDonaldTrump knowingly shared a map that shows #ISIS retains a "residual" presence in vast areas of #Iraq & some areas of #Syria.

The map is also inaccurate - #ISIS also remains de facto in control of Badiya territory east of the #Euphrates in #Syria.
#pt: It’s worth also noting that the #ISIS “residual” presence that @POTUS @realDonaldTrump just revealed to the world is something that has **worsened** & **expanded* significantly since he was elected as president in late-2016, particularly in #Iraq.

So much for success.
Days after its Defense Minister visited #Washington, #France has received "no answers" from the #Trump admin about its #Syria deployment/withdrawal plans.

Utterly extraordinary -- the U.S. expects #Europe states to doubly invest in an undefined strategy.

#Trump is "backing a policy that’s wholly unsustainable... the idea that keeping 200 troops spread throughout 33% of #Syria on a ‘hold’ and ‘support’ mission is a joke."

- My comments to @Joyce_Karam on the "400-man residual force"

@Joyce_Karam When I wrote my @politico piece on #Trump's #Syria "policy" & what remains of #ISIS, I thought the numbers around #Baghouz were bad.

They've got worse.

2,000 more ISIS family-members arrived at al-Hol IDP camp overnight = 72,000 total now (up from 55,000 a week ago).
@Joyce_Karam @politico #pt: In my piece for @politico, I argue that:

(1) #Trump's new "plan" for #Syria remains unrealistic & more importantly:
(2) #ISIS remains a very real threat in #Syria & #Iraq
(3) the scale of that threat is immeasurably bigger than post-2010 #Iraq.

@Joyce_Karam @politico #pt: While US prospects in #Syria look increasingly dim, pressure is mounting in #Iraq to "oust" #America's 5,200 troops from the country altogether.

@AbdoGeneive hits the nail on the head here. This is developing fast & could have profound implications.

@Joyce_Karam @politico @AbdoGeneive 1,100+ foreign children of #ISIS fighters currently lie in some form of detention in #Iraq, largely forgotten.

185 children (108 boys & 77 girls) aged 9-18 have been convicted & imprisoned.

Quite a story from @rayajalabi:

@Joyce_Karam @politico @AbdoGeneive @rayajalabi After yesterday's #Mosul ferry tragedy, protesters attacked Governor al-Akoub's car w. bricks demanding an end to corruption.

Anger has been simmering in #Mosul for months due to corruption, militia predation & lack of investment.

(video v. @AliBaroodi)
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