When asked whether the United States had the resources to fight terrorism across Africa and the Middle East, General Neller admitted that the country didn’t possess “enough capacity to do it” on its own.
“The world is a big place, and that’s why part of the national defense strategy is building alliances and partnerships. We don’t have enough capacity to do it all by ourselves, and nor should we want to do it by ourselves. But we do have enough capacity to help other nations develop their own capabilities, their own counterterrorism forces and security forces,” Neller said.
Having underscored the significance of building partnerships, Neller proceeded to say that the United States has cooperated with its European allies as well as nations from other regions in order to address the threat from Daesh.
“And I think we’re working to do that not by ourselves but with our partners in the region, whether it be the French, the British, the Italians, or anybody else. We’re working with Nigeria, or working with West African countries, or anybody else,” he said.
The Commandant of the Marine Corps went on to explain that local forces would have to fight terrorism by themselves when the United States eventually withdraws its troops from the region.
“At the end of the day, we can’t stay there. […] We can train them, we can episodically go visit them, but we don’t need to stay there.”
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump said that the United States would be withdrawing its troops from Syria “very soon” and “let the other people take care of it.”
"We're knocking the hell out of ISIS [Daesh]. We'll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon, very soon, we're coming out. We're going to have 100 percent of the caliphate, as they call it--sometimes referred to as land. We're taking it all back--quickly, quickly," Trump told a crowd in Ohio.
The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against Daesh targets in Syria since 2014, without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate. Syrian authorities have consistently dismissed the US military presence in the country as “illegal.”
*Daesh, also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS, a terrorist group banned in Russia