February 5, 2019

HMM: Senate votes to keep troops in Syria, Afghanistan.

Senators reportedly sided with Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who sponsored the amendment, and voted 70-26 in favor of keeping US forces in both countries.

The Kentucky lawmaker believes ISIS and al Qaeda militants should still be considered a threat, and he’s worried that “a precipitous withdrawal” may only bolster their efforts.

“I’ve been clear about my own views on these subjects,” McConnell told reporters last week after the Senate pushed his amendment through.

“ISIS and al Qaeda have yet to be defeated,” he said. “Withdrawal of the United States forces from the ongoing fight against these groups . . . could allow terrorists to regroup, destabilize critical regions, and create vacuums that could be filled by Iran or Russia, to the detriment of United States’ interests and those of our allies.”

President Trump announced in December that he would be pulling troops out of Syria, saying ISIS “has been defeated.” Reports later emerged saying he would be removing roughly half of the 14,000 US forces stationed in Afghanistan, though sources noted how there were no set plans in the works.

Sen. Rand Paul, a fellow Kentucky Republican, blasted McConnell’s amendment on Monday evening after the vote — accusing him and other senators of forming a “war caucus.”

It feels more like an inertia caucus.

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