Patrick Shanahan named acting Secretary of Defense as of January 1st

Minnie Murray
December 27, 2018

Meanwhile, the USA military has confirmed that the order to withdraw USA troops from Syria had been signed, after Trump held talks with his Turkish counterpart to negotiate a pullout that has stunned Washington's allies.

An acting defense secretary is highly unusual.

Another defence official, who is close to Mattis and spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said: "I think it's fair to say that there is a lot of uncertainty about this week".

Zuo Xiying, a professor at Renmin University of China, said the confrontations between Mattis and Trump is the embodiment of the dissatisfaction the two have had toward each other. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, both previously said to be on Trump's short list, are also both out of the running.

Minutes later, further questions were raised as the president went on to appear to link the Syria withdrawal to expanding trade deals with Turkey - just as Turkish troops began to mobilise on the Syrian border.

"When President Obama ingloriously fired Jim Mattis, I gave him a second chance". While, there may be solid reasons for withdrawing our troops from Syria, a sensible way of proceeding would include careful planning and plenty of advance notice to our allies on the ground as well as achieving enforceable security guarantees from Turkey. Historically when a secretary has resigned, he has stayed on until a successor is confirmed. I believe Deputy Secretary Shanahan will be able to successfully serve as acting Secretary of Defense.

The move comes just three days after Mattis resigned in protest over Trump's decision to pull all US troops out of Syria, and delivered a blistering letter to the president that roiled Washington and reportedly angered the White House. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

Trump made the decision to withdraw US forces from Syria and pull out about half of the 14,000 USA troops in Afghanistan, against the advice of his top aides and USA commanders.

A states he is stepping down so that Trump can hire a defense secretary who has views more in line with the president's own. They asked Trump to withhold a final decision for 90 days to allow time to study the impact of the decision, but Mulvaney told ABC that Trump wouldn't change his mind.

The outgoing defense secretary also says Trump isn't hard enough on Russian Federation and China, writing that "we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach" to them.

Critics argue that the decision could undercut U.S. leverage in the region and undermine diplomatic efforts to the end the Syrian civil war, now in its eighth year. Brett McGurk, the top USA envoy to the worldwide coalition fighting the Islamic State militant group, also resigned in protest over Trump's Syria decision. The proud son has been quoted as saying, "growing up, my understanding of the war came from my dad, his friends and the few stories they would share".

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