Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other leading Senate Republicans introduced a resolution on Tuesday opposing President Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.
The senators contend that the president’s decision has benefitted ISIS, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia, and Iran.
“If not arrested, withdrawing from Syria will invite more of the chaos that breeds terrorism and creates a vacuum our adversaries will certainly fill,” McConnell said.
The measure introduced by McConnell would require the president to report to Congress that both ISIS and al Qaeda have been defeated “before initiating any further significant withdrawal” of troops from the region.
According to McConnell, Russia will “gain more leverage” in the Middle East, Iran could get greater access to a “strategic corridor that runs all the way from Tehran to the very doorstep of Israel,” and the Assad regime will be enabled to “reassert its oppressive control” — all unless the president reverses his decision.
McConnell simultaneously urged President Trump to rescind his White House invitation to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan until a “more enduring cease-fire” between Turkish and Kurdish forces has been achieved.
Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Congress “didn’t have an opportunity” to provide input before the president went ahead with the withdrawal.
“Congress has a voice and now is the time ... to exercise it,” Burr stated.
A separate resolution in the House of Representatives to protest the president’s decision won a bipartisan 350-60 vote in the House.
Following President Trump’s withdrawal, Turkish forces moved into northeast Syria to push out Kurdish forces, prompting many lawmakers and pundits to declare that the president is facilitating “ethnic cleansing” against Kurds who helped the United States combat ISIS.
The Kurds whom Turkey wishes to remove from its border are governed by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
PKK is a revolutionary left-wing group that in the 1980s engaged in a violent conflict with the Turkish state that left tens of thousands dead. Labeled a “terror group” by Turkey’s government, PKK still regularly attacks Turkish security forces.
The Turkish government invaded northeastern Syria to remove from its border a “terror corridor” where the PKK could hide and attack from. Turkey also seeks to use the territory as a “safe zone” to allocate some of the 3.5 million refugees it currently hosts, most of them from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The House’s resolution has twice been blocked from being brought up for a vote in the Senate — most recently on Tuesday and both times by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
“If Democrats want to send our young men and women to fight in the Syrian civil war, let's have that debate. By all means, let's have the constitutional debate today on the Senate floor right here, right now,” Paul said of the measure.
The House’s resolution goes further than McConnell’s, calling on Turkey to end its military action, committing the United States to defending the Kurds, and calling on the White House “to present a clear and specific plan for the enduring defeat of ISIS.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) took aim at Paul’s insistence that getting involved in foreign conflicts like Syria requires a congressional declaration of war.
Paul’s understanding of what requires a congressional declaration of war is “different than 99.9 percent of America and from every other single person in this chamber,” Schumer said.
Paul shot back that if the United States wants to “create a Kurdish homeland ... hell yes we need a debate and a vote and authorization of force.”
“It's an utter and complete mess,” the Kentucky senator added. “It is time we get the hell out.”
The White House negotiated a ceasefire in which Turkish forces ceased their military onslaught in exchange for not implementing U.S. sanctions and having the Kurds withdraw from an area of the Syria-Turkey border.
And on Tuesday, Turkey and Russia reached an agreement whereby Russian military police and Syrian servicemen will be deployed to the northeastern Syrian border and Kurdish militias must retreat into Syria beyond 30km from the border with Turkey.
President Trump has said his Syria withdrawal is in line with his vision of ending American involvement in foreign wars that do not serve the national interest.
As he wrote on Twitter: “After defeating 100% of the ISIS Caliphate, I largely moved our troops out of Syria. Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land. I said to my Generals, why should we be fighting for Syria.... and Assad to protect the land of our enemy? Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!”
Luis Miguel is a writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.