Graham: The US is looking for allies to replace it in Syria

Graham: The US is looking for allies to replace it in Syria – Defenes News

MUNICH — With the U.S. due to announce the Islamic State group is destroyed and its troops withdrawing from Syria, it is looking for allies to step in and help stabilize the region, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Friday.

Speaking at the 2019 Munich Security Conference, Graham told the assembly of world leaders that the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, “would be coming to some of you in this room, and he will be asking for a contribution of forces to stabilize the region, post destruction of the caliphate.”

Graham called for a lean, joint military presence to enforce a safe zone that would protect American-backed Kurdish forces in Syria from Turkey, watch for the reemergence of ISIS and buy time for a Syria peace process in Geneva.

He echoed President Donald Trump’s recent announcements that ISIS — through the work of a multinational coalition — is all but defeated. The militant group holds only “a couple of kilometers and one town,” Graham said.

During a White House event earlier in the day, Trump said: “We have a lot of great announcements having to do with Syria and our success with the eradication of the caliphate, and that will be announced over the next 24 hours.”
Ahead of that announcement, Graham said in Munich: “The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is dead. It has been destroyed.” He congratulated Trump for “pouring on the gas in the last month or so. To every nation who’s contributed to this effort, God bless you.”

It’s unclear whether Graham was speaking for him or not about follow-on forces. The South Carolina Republican and Senate Foreign Relations Committee member is a confidant of Trump and an influential voice on U.S. foreign policy.

“I am hoping that President Trump will be coming to you and you will say, ‘yes,’ and in return the capability we have that’s unique to the United States will still be in the fight,” he said.

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