Feb. 6, 2019– Mary Greeley News – US Congress’ upper chamber also approves amendment that breaks with Trump by opposing any plans for an abrupt withdrawal of troops from Syria.
The US Senate passed a Mideast policy bill on Tuesday including a measure that would allow states to penalize businesses that take part in boycotts of Israel and an amendment that breaks with President Donald Trump by opposing any plans for an abrupt withdrawal of troops from Syria.
The Senate backed the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act by a lopsided 77-23 on Tuesday, hours before Trump delivered his annual State of the Union speech discussing his policies for the year.
Many members of Congress, including several fellow Republicans, strongly disagree with a plan Trump announced in December to withdraw 2,000 US troops from Syria on the grounds that the terror group no longer posed a threat.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who rarely breaks from Trump, introduced the non-binding amendment passed on Tuesday. It 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.
The amendment 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 bill also includes provisions supported by both Republicans and Democrats to impose new sanctions on Syria and guarantee security assistance to Israel and Jordan. Those are seen as efforts to reassure allies worried about shifts in US policy, including Trump’s Syria plan.