(January 29, 2019 / JNS) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to introduce an amendment to warn against a “precipitous withdrawal” of troops from Syria or Afghanistan.
Speaking on the Senate floor on Tuesday, McConnell said his measure would “acknowledge the plain fact” that Al Qaeda and ISIS, in addition to their affiliates, “pose a serious threat to us here in home.”
“It would recognize the danger 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,” he said. “My amendment would also urge continued commitment from the U.S. military and our partners until we have set the conditions for the enduring defeat of these vile terrorists.”
This development comes a day after the Senate finally invoked cloture on a bill that includes fresh sanctions on Syria.
Though the bill doesn’t directly address the planned withdrawal of U.S. troops that the president announced last month, lawmakers are expected to join McConnell and introduce amendments to address the issue.
Because the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force doesn’t explicitly permit American troops to fight offensively against Iranian forces, a new AUMF might be introduced giving U.S. forces the capabilities to take the fight to Iran and its proxies, including Hezbollah in Syria.
“I’ve seen talk of introducing an AUMF in some legislation that’s flowing around,” Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), a former U.S. Army special forces officer, told JNS.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) filed an amendment that would authorize the president to utilize the U.S. military to defend Syrian Kurds.