Published 12:01 p.m. ET Dec. 22, 2018
WASHINGTON – Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the global coalition fighting the Islamic State group, has resigned in protest to President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, joining Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in an administration exodus of experienced national security officials.
Only 11 days ago, McGurk had said it would be “reckless” to consider IS defeated and therefore would be unwise to bring American forces home. He decided to speed up his plan to leave in mid-February.
McGurk, appointed to the post by President Barack Obama in 2015 and retained by Trump, said in his resignation letter that the militants were on the run, but not yet defeated, and that the premature pullout of American forces from Syria would create the conditions that gave rise to IS. McGurk also cited gains in accelerating the campaign against IS, but that the work was not yet done.
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