Senate raps Trump on Syria, Afghanistan

Saul Bowman
February 3, 2019

The amendment from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Islamic State and al-Qaida militants still pose a serious threat to the United States and warns that "a precipitous withdrawal" of USA forces from Syria and Afghanistan could allow the groups to regroup and destabilize the countries.

Washington D.C., Feb 1: United States President Donald Trump early on Friday (local time) defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan stating it is now time to start coming home after spending money for many years wisely in the region.

This week, USA intelligence chiefs publicly broke with Trump, contradicting several of his foreign policy positions by telling senators that ISIS has not been defeated, Iran is probably not producing nukes and North Korea is unlikely to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

In December, over Trump's objections, the Senate voted to end us military support for the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen and blame Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

It is likely that McConnell, not National Security Advisor John Bolton, is the most ardent opponent of Trump's new strategy yet.

The non-binding resolution was passed with overwhelming support from the Republican majority, setting them squarely against parts of President Trump's foreign policy. The 2001 authorization for the Afghan War was built around 9/11 and the defeat of al-Qaeda.

Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott said the president was in listening mode and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., said the administration has been "very open to speaking to us".

The US Senate voted to advance an amendment seeking to rein in President Donald Trump's announced withdrawal of American special forces from Syria and put parameters around plans to reduce the number of US forces in Afghanistan.

TRT World spoke to Paolo von Schirach, President of the Global Policy Institute for his analysis.

US troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar Province, Afghanistan, August 7, 2018.

"Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues are advertising it as a package of urgent measures to save American democracy", McConnell said on the Senate floor. Bernie Sanders said he opposes the McConnell troops pullout amendment but also opposes the way Trump is pulling troops out without consulting allies and having a sensible withdrawal.

McConnell's comments attracted widespread scorn on Twitter from politicians past and present, including Sen.

"Perseverance is a key ingredient to changing US foreign policy", Paul Kawika Martin, senior director of Peace Action, said Wednesday.

On Thursday, a majority from the US Senate voted in favour of Mr McConnell's amendment and in rebuking the White House policy. BDS stands for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. While Republican support for using emergency powers to build a wall was 20 points lower than for the wall overall, 67 percent of Republicans favored Trump taking emergency action, including a majority who supported this "strongly". Marco Rubio, R-Fla. "If you give them any belief that they have a chance to win because you have withdrawn".

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