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Sen. Lindsey Graham calls troop withdrawal from northern Syria a ‘nightmare for Israel’

(JTA) — Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria will “eventually become a nightmare for Israel.”

Graham, one of the president’s staunchest supporters in the Senate, called the move “shortsighted and irresponsible” in a series of tweets.

“The most probable outcome of this impulsive decision is to ensure Iran’s domination of Syria,” he tweeted. “The U.S. now has no leverage and Syria will eventually become a nightmare for Israel.

“This decision to abandon our Kurdish allies and turn Syria over to Russia, Iran, & Turkey will put every radical Islamist on steroids. Shot in the arm to the bad guys. Devastating for the good guys.”

The move came following a phone call between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said Turkey would begin a military offensive in the area.

“Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” a statement issued Monday from the White House said. “The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘Caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area.”

Dennis Ross, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who served as a peace negotiator in the Obama, Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, criticized the move.

“Another Trump call with Erdogan, another impulsive decision for the US to withdraw,” Ross tweeted Monday. “Good news for Putin and Khamenei who want the US out of a Syria. Turkey’s deeper move into Syria will mean more refugees, ISIS can re-emerge, and the US betrays those who actually fought ISIS.”