Senate defies Trump plan to withdraw troops in Syria, Afghanistan

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The Republican-led Senate voted 68-23 in favor of the amendment introduced by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Only 4 Republicans and 19 Democrats voted against it.

Specifically, the amendment asserts that the US faces continued threats from terrorist groups in Syria and Afghanistan, and a quick withdrawal of USA forces could risk those gains and national security.

Trump's planned drawdown in Afghanistan and total withdrawal from Syria triggered a backlash from the US national security establishment earlier this month, including the resignation of top officials like former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. It could also damage our credibility with our allies fighting with us in the coalition, like the Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, and raise the possibility ISIS could regain territory.

Last month, Trump stunned Capitol Hill and the Pentagon with the announcement that the roughly 2,000 US troops fighting the Islamic State in Syria would withdraw from the country within 30 days.

"I inherited a total mess in Syria and Afghanistan, the "Endless Wars" of unlimited spending and death". The vote was in part also a condemnation of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is suspected of playing a role in the murder of Washington Postjournalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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Donors from his home state of NY contributed almost $82,000 to his campaign committee in the final months of 2018. Some Democrats said Trump will be responsible for a second shutdown if he won't go along with a bipartisan deal.

That it was spearheaded by McConnell, R-Ky., who often waits to cross Trump until there is overwhelming momentum in his conference, indicates how deeply the president's announcements broke faith within the party.

Still, Sanders argued that the manner of Trump's pullout was "reckless" and the Vermont senator called for a "troop withdrawal plan that is coordinated with our allies, that continues to provide humanitarian aid and that supports political settlements in these countries". Exact timing for a vote on the final bill has not been announced yet.

The non-binding language calls al Qaeda and the Islamic State continuing global threats, contradicting Mr. Trump's Twitter-based foreign policy claims that the fight against worldwide terrorism has been largely wrapped up. They don't want to withdraw troops from countries where threats from terrorists remain strong, despite ongoing efforts that have diminished their power.

"We are on a deliberate, coordinated, disciplined withdrawal", Shanahan said Tuesday in his first formal engagement with media as acting defense secretary. He said of the message it sends to Trump: "That we're a coequal branch of government and have coequal responsibility for foreign relations". That bill, which includes fresh sanctions on Syria and a measure combating the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, advanced in a procedural vote on Monday.

"Their bill would make election day a new paid holiday for government workers, and create an additional, brand-new, paid leave benefit for up to six days for any federal bureaucrat who decides they'd like to hang out at the polls during an election", said McConnell, speaking on the Senate floor. If it succeeds, the language would be added to a wide-ranging foreign policy bill that has been pending on the Senate floor for several weeks. Similar rifts exist within Trump's own administration, evident this week when the heads of major U.S. intelligence agencies testified to the Senate and contradicted him on the strength of the Daesh and several other foreign policy matters.