US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis Resigns over Trump's Decision to pull US Troops from Syria
US Defence Secretary Gen Jim Mattis (C) President Donald J. Trump, (right,) | (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

That US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull American troops out of Syria was not supported by his own party members or by his own defence administration became obvious when no high-level official backed it publicly. However, that there is outright opposition to Trump’s decision has been revealed after US Defence Secretary James ‘Jim’ Mattis has sent his resignation to the president within 24 hours of the Syria announcement.

In his resignation letter to the US President, Mattis writes, “Because you have the right to have a secretary of defence whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down."

That Trump’s announcement has caught the U.S.’s strategic allies off-guard was also highlighted in the letter. He writes "One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies," he added.

James Mattis has served for 40 years in the US military and rose to the ranks of a four-star general. He has extensive experience in war situations and commanded the 1st Marine Division during the U.S.’s 2003 invasion of Iraq.

However, Mattis’s time under President Trump was fraught with difference of opinions from North Korea to the proposed border wall and to Syria. Reports over the last few months in American media had hinted that Trump had side-lined Mattis due to these differences.

The announcement of Jim Mattis stepping down was first announced by Donald Trump on Twitter, saying the defence secretary was retiring in February 2019.

Minutes after the tweet, news outlets reported that Jim Mattis had in fact resigned over Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria and that it was the last straw in what has been a tumultuous stint as the country’s defence secretary.