US Senate Rebukes Trump’s Plan to Withdraw from Syria, Afghanistan

Photo: AP

The US Senate voted to advance legislation drafted by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to express strong opposition to President Trump’s plans to withdraw American forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

The Senate voted 70-26 in favor of a non-binding amendment saying the Senate believes that Islamist militant groups in both countries still pose a “serious threat” to the United States.

The amendment acknowledged progress against Islamic State and al-Qaeda in Syria and Afghanistan but warned that “a precipitous withdrawal” could destabilize the region and create a vacuum that could be filled by Iran or Russia.

It called on the Trump administration to certify conditions had been met for the groups’ “enduring defeat” before any significant withdrawal from Syria or Afghanistan.

The vote added the amendment to a broader Middle East security bill making its way through Congress. The Senate voted 72-24 to advance the broader bill in a procedural vote on Monday after the amendment vote. To become law, however, the bill would need to pass the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

The votes marked the second time in two months that the Senate supported a measure contradicting Trump’s foreign policy, although legislation to change his policies has yet to become law.

 

[Sources: Reuters, The New York Times]