U.S. won't cede helm in fight against Islamic State despite Syria pullout, Mike Pompeo assures coalition

The Japan Times 

WASHINGTON - America will not cede leadership of the fight against the Islamic State group, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday, as he tried to allay fears that President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw forces from Syria could imperil gains against the militants there and neighboring Iraq. Trump's announcement in December shocked U.S. allies and led to the resignations of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the top U.S. envoy to the anti-IS coalition, Brett McGurk. While the withdrawal would fulfill a Trump goal, U.S. military leaders have pushed back for months, arguing IS remains a threat and could regroup. U.S. policy had been to keep troops in place until the extremists are completely eradicated. Fears that IS fighters are making a strategic maneuver to lay low ahead of the U.S. pullout has fueled criticism that Trump telegraphed his military plans -- the same thing he accused President Barack Obama of doing in Afghanistan.