In late March, President Trump appeared to be following through on his campaign promises, saying the US would be "coming out of Syria very soon" and letting "other people take care of it now."
This was diametrically-opposed to the previously-outlined plans by the Pentagon and the State Department to keep troops in Syria to "support our partners,...prevent the return of terrorist groups" and transition to a "post-Assad leadership."
Then, just a few short weeks later, Syrian anti-government activists, including the White Helmets, claimed Assad launched a chemical attack that killed and injured dozens of civilians in Douma, a suburb of Damascus that he was close to decisively re-taking from militants, cornering The West and their red line into reacting and re-escalating with Trump promising Russia that "nice and 'smart'" American missiles would soon fly to Syria... and so they did.
When President Trump announced the strikes in an address to the nation on Friday evening in Washington, he insisted: "America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria - under no circumstances."
The US has about 2,000 personnel on the ground in eastern Syria supporting an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
And now, as RT reports, Haley says at the UN Security Council that America remains "locked and loaded" for more strikes should new "chemical attacks" come, and uses an if-clause when talking to Fox about the prospects of withdrawal from Syria. And while Trump's people say he wants a withdrawal "as quickly as possible," it's highly likely that it will not be very quick at all.
So who changed Trump's mind?
Common knowledge indicates that the arrival of warmonger John Bolton coincided with the escalation, but interestingly, French President Macron has confidently taken credit for persuading President Trump to leave Americans in harm's way in a nation that seems almost entirely irrelevant to America's 'safety'.
Macron, one of Trump's allies in the recent joint strikes on Syria, said he had convinced Trump to keep the troops in place for the unspecific "long term."
"Ten days ago, President Trump was saying 'the United States should withdraw from Syria'. We convinced him it was necessary to stay," Macron said.
This stunning claim was immediately denied by The White House, which proclaimed:
"The US mission has not changed – the president has been clear that he wants US forces to come home as quickly as possible," White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement cited by Reuters.
The US has some 2,000 troops and a number of military contractors acting in Syria. Before they go home, though, their mission has to be fulfilled.
"We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return. In addition, we expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region," Sanders said.
As RT concludes, the somewhat vague objectives, combined with Washington's refusal to hold any direct talks with Damascus and numerous demands for Assad to step down or be toppled, could effectively extend "as quickly as possible" to a nearly indefinite stretch.
Military Industrial 'Deep State' Complex 1 - 0 Trump (and his base).