Jim Mattis

Trump Orders Pentagon to Consider Reducing U.S. Army Presence in South Korea

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According to an order that President Donald Trump issued to Pentagon, they will start the preparation to extract American troops from South Korea. This order was given only a few weeks before the leader of the United States meets with his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un.

This action has nothing to do with the meeting of two presidents. But if the negotiations between Trump and Kim go in the right direction, the need for 28,500 US soldiers on the South Korean soil will diminish.

The reason why POTUS wants to pull the troops from the south part of the peninsula is that the US has no benefits of having an army stationed there; that they spend more time protecting Japan than US interests; and that despite their presence there, North Korea managed to develop a nuclear arsenal.

This decision comes at the time when America and South Korea are negotiating on the subject of sharing the cost of US military presence in the SK. The talks are filled with tension as the expiration date of the current deal approaches. At the moment South Korea pays half of the cost which amasses up to $800 million a year. Trump’s administration demands that South Korea starts paying full price for US presence in their country.

Source: foreignpolicy.com

The Pentagon and White House officials are worried that if the United States lower the number of their troops in South Korea, they could cause frictions between them and Seoul. They are also concerned about the Japanese reaction as they are also another country threatened by North Korean nuclear potential.

At the moment we can’t tell how much of the troops will be withdrawn as it is highly unlikely that they will remove all of the 28,500 military personnel. Leaving South Korea entirely would be unwise regardless of the fact that current negotiations with NK are going smoothly.

Donald Trump wants to denuclearize North Korea, and officials in South are worried that he could offer Kim troops withdrawal as the part of the deal. Jim Mattis, the Defense Secretary, stated that the future of US military presence in the SK is on the table: “That’s part of the issues that we’ll be discussing in negotiations with our allies first, and of course with North Korea. For right now, we just have to go along with the process, have the negotiations and not try to make preconditions or presumptions about how it’s going to go.”

Source: www.si.com

The one who would benefit from the troop withdrawal the most is Donald Trump according to Victor D. Cha, a Korea scholar at Georgetown University. He bases his opinion on the fact that this move would save money for the US and it would be a valuable chip on the table with Kim. But what about its effect on South Korea? Mr. Cha said: “But from the perspective of the U.S.-South Korea alliance it would represent a major retrenchment.”

South Korea Government doesn’t want US troops withdrawn even if they sign a peace treaty with North Korea. On the other hand, if they do sign it, how would they justify US presence anymore? Talking about his subject Moon Chung-in, an adviser to the president said: “What will happen to U.S. forces in South Korea if a peace treaty is signed? It will be difficult to justify their continuing presence.”

After a meeting between North and South Korean presidents, Kim declared that he would stop insisting on the removal of the US troops as he wants focus turned to the economic matters of his country. But this no longer interests Donald Trump, as his goal is to reduce America’s spending. Since US presence started in SK, the nation has developed itself both economically and militarily. Same goes for Japan. Trump believes that these two countries should take care of their business by themselves as the US has more pressing needs for both their money and their army.

With his own words: “We’ve got our soldiers sitting there watching missiles go up. You say to yourself, ‘Well, what are we getting out of this?’ ”

Apparently, President Trump has made up his mind.

Source: nytimes.com

Donald Trump Claims Response To Syria Is Coming Fairly Soon

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The U.S. President Donald Trump stated that America still hasn’t made action plan regarding the situation in Syria. But, the decision will be made “fairly soon.” Talking to gathered reporters in White House, Trump stated that his team is taking this situation “very, very seriously.” The chemical attacks in the town of Douma have put the entire world on notice.

Western powers, led by U.K. and U.S. are gearing up for a strike, but Russia who is an ally of Syria is against taking any rash actions. The envoy of Russia in UN, Vassily Nebenzia said that a war between Russia and America could not be excluded. Talking to reporters on Thursday he said: “The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war.”

France, as one of the countries who want to launch air strikes on Syria, claims to have collected evidence that there was a use of chemical weapons in Douma. According to French President, Emmanuel Macron, his country has solid “proof” of this.

Source: www.politico.eu

The U.K. cabinet of ministers and its Prime Minister Theresa May stated that they are trying to “deter the further use of chemical weapons” and that they are trying to “keep working closely” with their U.S. allies.

According to sources from White House, Donald Trump also Talked with French President.

The UN Security Council has a scheduled meeting for later today to further discuss this crisis.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin is an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and according to Trump, he bore responsibility for “atrocity” that happened in rebel-held Douma.

Source: politico.eu

Donald Trump is at the moment gathering U.S. allies to get the support for the much-needed attack on Syria. During talks with France and U.K., he also used the Twitter platform to threaten Syria and Russia with words that “missiles are coming.” He later denied making those threats and said that air strike could commence “very soon, or not so soon at all.”

But in a most recent statement to the reporters President of The United Stats Mr. Donald Trump said: We’re having a meeting today on Syria… “We have to make some further decisions. So they’ll be made fairly soon.”

Jim Mattis, US Secretary Of Defense also talked to the gathered press and made a statement about chemical attacks: “I believe there was a chemical attack and we are looking for the actual evidence.”

Stay tuned as we bring more news about the development of Syrian crisis.

Donald Trump Still Not Sure How Will U.S. Retaliate To Syria

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British Prime Minister Theresa May called for an emergency meeting of the cabinet on Thursday, while the U.S. President remains undecided on the manner of retaliation.

Donald Trump still hasn’t decided how will the United States of America respond to chemical weapons attack conducted by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Damascus. The entire western world is gearing up to go against Syrian President.

Chief of Pentagon, Jim Mattis and the rest of Trump’s national security team had a meeting on Wednesday. Before that President Trump gave out a warning to Russia via Twitter: “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

Head of the U.S. threatened to fire a barrage of missiles on Syria, but despite this, the U.S. is not sure in which way are they going to retaliate. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the spokeswoman for White House, told the gathered reporters on Wednesday, that the president is conducting conversations with U.S. allies.

When asked what military steps are they going to take she responded: “We’re maintaining that we have a number of options and all of those options are still on the table. Final decisions haven’t been made yet on that front.”

The officials of White House were clear that the decision will be made after consultations with closest allies – French President Emmanuel Macron, and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May. The U.K. Cabinet will meet on Thursday to decide which actions will be taken after Assad regime allegedly used chemical weapons against Syrian Rebels located in Douma. Despite Russian claims that Syrian president is not to be blamed for the attack, U.K. Officials doubt that he’s not responsible.

Talking to reporters Therese May said: “All the indications are that the Syrian regime was responsible. We will be working with our closest allies on how we can ensure that those who are responsible are held to account. The continued use of chemical weapons cannot go unchallenged.” This was yesterday, and same as the U.S., the U.K. still has to decide which steps are they going to take.

Interestingly, despite the claims that conflict is imminent, the price of oil remains high. At the same time, Turkey’s currency weakened. Turkey is one of the country’s that has troops stationed in Syria.

This is the second time in one year span that the U.S. needs to take action in Syria. In April of 2017, they conducted swift air strikes that destroyed single Syrian base. This time around the U.S. needs to hit harder.

Assad’s political advisers claim that no chemical weapon was used. They are adamant that regardless of world’s reaction they will, together with their allies Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah prevail as winners: “They will not win in anything they do. We will be the winners.”

In order to avoid breaking of international law, the U.S. will have to strike together with their allies. It is expected that joint force of U.S, France, U.K., and Saudi Arabia would help “to build a case for the humanitarian mandate.”

Source: collider.com

Donald Trump was clear in one of his Twitter addresses to Russia: “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart.’ ”

Chief of Staff at Pentagon together with CIA Director Mike Pompeo stated that the U.S. is “ready to provide military options if appropriate.” Air strikes could possibly damage one of Russia’s assets in Syria, and if this happens even by accident, it could create a more profound conflict between America and Russia.

Ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Norbert Roettgen said about the situation: “There must be a consistent Syria policy, that is the key thing. There is no real U.S. policy on Syria. Assad and Russia have been given a free hand militarily.”

The high tensions prompted Syrian government to clear airports and military positions in expectations of U.S. air strike. One of the Syrian officials from the Foreign Ministry said: “The Americans are sponsoring the lies of “terrorists” as a pretext to attack Syria.”

Source: cbsnews.com

European air traffic agency, Eurocontrol, issued a warning to all air companies not to use the airspace above Syria due to the possibility of an air strike.

Talking about the matter Elena Suponina, a Mideast analyst at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies said: “The risk of military conflict between Russia and the U.S. in Syria is very high. If Trump takes this step and Russian citizens are harmed, the reaction will be very harsh.”