Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford contradicts reports that Flynn’s recommendation delayed the United States plan to retake the Islamic State’s capital.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters that the delay in approving the plan to retake the Islamic State’s capital of Raqqa had nothing to do with former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s recommendation against the plan during a press conference on Friday.
The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Flynn told President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, to hold off on arming the Syrian Kurdish forces, a decision that the AP claims delayed “the military operation for months.”
It was revealed only after Flynn’s decision that he had been paid $500,000 to represent the Turkish government, and that Flynn’s recommendation “was consistent with the wishes of Turkey, which had long opposed the United States partnering with the Kurdish forces – and which was his undeclared client.”
Eventually, President Trump agreed with the Obama’s administration’s plan to arm the Syrian Kurdish forces, but only after Flynn had been fired.
A reporter asked Dunford “if the decision at the end of the Obama administration to hold off on arming the Turks and let the Trump administration make that decision, did that have any affect on delaying the assault on Raqqa?”
Dunford, who was appointed by President Obama, told the reporter that this decision did not have any affect on delaying the assault on Raqqa.
“One of the preconditions for seizing Raqqa was the isolation of Raqqa, which included, just recently completed, a very difficult fight in an area called Tabqa,” Dunford told the reporter.
Dunford continued, “so we are just at about the point where the seizure of Raqqa would’ve taken place in a normal course of events. So it has not delayed the seizure of Raqqa.”
“The only delay was in our providing equipment to the Syrian Democratic Forces so they could go into the fight. But we were prepared for this decision. We had stockpiled equipment in the event that President Trump made the decision that he did,” Dunford concluded.
“We’ve been very quickly able to field that equipment to the Syrian Democratic Forces without an operational pause, that is without a delay in seizing Raqqa.”
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