News

National Security & Defense

Senate Passes Bill Opposing Syria, Afghanistan Troop Withdrawals

U.S. Army Third Infantry Division soldiers provide security during an Afghan-led operation near Kabul, Afghanistan, September 16, 2018. (Sean Kimmons/US Army)

The Senate on Tuesday approved a Middle East-policy bill including a rebuke of President Trump’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops currently stationed in Syria and about half of those in Afghanistan.

In a bipartisan 77 to 23 vote, the upper chamber passed and sent to the House the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act, which includes a provision from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell warning against a “precipitous” withdrawal of troops from the area.

“It would recognize the dangers of a precipitous withdrawal from either conflict and highlight the need for diplomatic engagement and political solutions to the underlying conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan,” McConnell said of his provision to the bill on the Senate floor last week.

The rest of the bill, sponsored by Florida Republican Marco Rubio, would impose new sanctions on Syria’s bank and those supporting Syria’s government while increasing military aid to Israel and Jordan. It also includes a controversial measure that divided Democrats, which would allow states and local governments to refuse contracts to entities involved in the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement that seeks to punish Israel.

On December 19, President Trump promised to withdraw the approximately 2,000 troops currently stationed in Syria and about half of the U.S. troops in Afghanistan, announcing that the Islamic State had been “defeated” in the region. The move drew bipartisan criticism, including from usually staunch allies of the president such as Senator Lindsey Graham, who called the decision an “Obama-like mistake.”

U.S. intelligence chiefs, the Department of Defense inspector general, and the top U.S. general in charge of military operations in the Middle East have all warned over the last week that ISIS is likely to be encouraged by the absence of U.S. troops in Syria and regain control over territory.

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.

LEARN MORE

Most Popular

Elections

A Reckoning Is in Store for Democrats

The crisis of the Democrats is becoming more evident each week. Those of us who have been loudly predicting for years that the Russian-collusion argument would be exposed as a defamatory farce, and that the authors of it would eventually pay for it, are bemused at the fallback position of the Trump-haters: that ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar: A Hostage Situation

‘It has to stop,” says Representative Ilhan Omar. No, it does not. Representative Omar, the Jew-hating Minnesota Democrat, is engaged in one of her usual games of misdirection, a pattern of hers that by now is familiar enough to be predicted: She says something outrageously stupid, offensive, ... Read More
Elections

Why ‘Stop Sanders’?

'Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?” T. S. Eliot asked. “Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” And where is the intelligence we have lost in cleverness? Cleverness is the plague of our political classes, an influenza of the intellect. The consultants are always trying to ... Read More
Immigration

Trump Is Hell-Bent on ‘Owning the Libs’

President Trump is looking into giving a free trip to San Francisco, New Orleans, or other great American cities to tens of thousands of refugees from Central America. All so he can own the libs. “Owning the libs” is one of those phrases to have emerged over the past few years that vacillates between ... Read More