Trump Should Uphold the Syrian Cease-Fire He Negotiated

    Bennett Gross, Shadi Martini

    Security, Middle East

    A man gestures as he rides a motorbike in Deraa, Syria, July 4, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

    Trump’s team negotiated a ceasefire. Now he must uphold it.

    Say what you will about President Trump, no one ever accused him of a lack of chutzpah. For good or ill, he can make pronouncements no one else does and take actions that no other leader would even consider—like meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. And, whenever a foreign leader does something he doesn’t like—be it Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, or Angela Merkel—President Trump will call them out.

    Yet, the President’s trademark chutzpah has been MIA in Syria. Unfortunately, this lack of chutzpah will harm U.S. interests across the Middle East. It will empower Iran, destabilize Jordan, and harm Israel, the country President Trump called America’s greatest friend.

    The President must thump his chest and show he is committed to the ceasefire in southwest Syria that the United States agreed to a year ago. Otherwise, he risks allowing the Assad regime to force tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to seek Israeli protection by taking up camp along the Israeli border and force thousands more to join the over one million people who have fled to Jordan. Furthermore, a collapse of the ceasefire will bring Iranian-backed forces within shouting distance of the Israeli border.

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