Senate rebukes Trump over Syria, Afghanistan pullouts

The US Senate approved by a large majority Monday an amendment critical of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan, in a sign of the deep discontent
caused by the policies within his own Republican ranks.

The resolution was sponsored by the Republican leader of the Senate Mitch
McConnell, who said last week the measure “would acknowledge the plain fact
that Al-Qaeda, ISIS and their affiliates in Syria and Afghanistan continue to
pose a serious threat to our nation.”

It passed by a majority of 70 to 26 — opposed by only three of the 53
Senate Republicans. The amendment will eventually be incorporated into a
broader security law on the Middle East.

According to the text, the “precipitous withdrawal of United States forces”
from either country “could put at risk hard-won gains and United States
national security.”

In December, Trump tweeted plans to remove America’s 2,000 troops out of
Syria, arguing that the Islamic State group had been defeated, even though
his intelligence chiefs testified last week that the jihadists remain a
potent threat and are seeking a comeback.

The president has also vowed to pull half of the 14,000-strong American
force from Afghanistan, where the US has had a military presence since 2001,
citing the high cost in blood and treasure.

Senators, including prominent Republicans, inflicted a resounding rebuke to
the president in December, holding the Saudi crown prince responsible for the
murder of Jamal Khashoggi after the Trump administration had been largely
supportive of Prince Mohammed bin Salman.