Liz Cheney: We ‘can’t be fooled into thinking’ withdrawal from Syria won’t reconstitute ISIS

Posted at 8:15 AM, Feb 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-10 16:27:05-05

Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney said Sunday that “we can’t be fooled into thinking” a withdrawal of US troops from Syria would mean that ISIS wouldn’t reconstitute again in the country.

“We’ve done tremendous work both in Syria as well as in Afghanistan. But in Syria, the issue is not the territorial control. In Syria the issue is whether or not we’re able to ensure that ISIS doesn’t reconstitute,” Cheney told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

“They’ve been doing crucially important work that you can only do there: providing air support, providing some artillery support. Helping to work with the local forces to really help ensure the defeat of ISIS,” she said of US troops in the country. “It’s got to be an enduring defeat, though. And so when you have a situation like we have now, where you’ve seen the caliphate, as the President is saying, there will be this announcement that the caliphate has been 100% taken back — I hope that’s right. But you cannot be — we can’t be fooled into thinking, you know, if we just withdraw the troops now, we come home, ISIS won’t reconstitute.”

The comments from Cheney, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, come just days after President Donald Trump praised the US and its allies for progress made in the fight against ISIS in a speech given to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS ministerial.

“The United States military, our coalition partners and the Syrian Democratic Forces have liberated virtually all of the territory previously held by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. It should be formally announced sometime probably next week that we will have 100% of the caliphate,” he said Wednesday, adding that he wants “to wait for the official word.”

There is now a proposed plan for the President to possibly make an announcement next week from the White House that the coalition has regained 100% of the territory ISIS once controlled inside Syria, several defense officials say. The timing of the announcement depends on when and if the military tells the White House that the last bit of the very southern tip of Middle Euphrates River Valley is no longer in ISIS’ hands.