Continetti: Without 'Continual Pressure' From U.S. Forces, ISIS Will Resurface

February 5, 2019

Washington Free Beacon editor in chief Matthew Continetti said Tuesday that President Donald Trump needs to keep American soldiers in Syria and remain committed to the Middle East to prevent the Islamic State from being resurgent.

"The president needs to worry about ISIS being resurgent if we leave too precipitously. He doesn't want a Benghazi happening in the midst of his reelection campaign just like it did in the midst of President Obama's," Continetti said on Fox News, referring to the 2012 terrorist attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Libya.

"And why did Benghazi happen?" Continetti continued. "Among the reasons was that we looked away from the Middle East, and without the continual pressure of U.S. forces, ISIS and its affiliates will resurface."

Continetti's comments came in response to a question from host Bret Baier, who noted that Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, said earlier in the day that, despite Trump's plan to withdraw American soldiers from Syria, "the fight against ISIS and violent extremists is not over and our mission has not changed."

Votel also said he was "not consulted" before Trump announced his decision on Syria. Trump's announcement on leaving the war-torn country led Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, special envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS, to resign from their respective positions.

"We are adjusting our military posture in Syria, planning and executing a deliberate, safe, and professional withdrawal of personnel and equipment while preserving sufficient power in the region," Votel testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

A new inspector general report released Monday says that ISIS will re-emerge in Syria within six to 12 months if the U.S. does not keep pressure on the terrorist group. The report also said ISIS maintains "excellent command and control capability" in Syria and attracts about 50 foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq each month.