- 23 Dec
By Edward Carney
On Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani traveled to Istanbul to hold talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The previous day, Voice of America News declared that talks between the two leaders would be taking place at a “tense time,” given the announcement on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump would be withdrawing American troops from Syria. Despite previous indications that the White House had pivoted toward a strategy specifically aimed at obstructing the expansion of Iranian influence in and around Syria, Trump now insists that the only reason for a US troop presence during his administration was the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – a fight that he now considers to be largely concluded.