Senate Rebukes Trump on Troop Withdrawals

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The amendment, which is now sailing toward easy final passage, was authored by one of Trump's fiercest and most powerful allies: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Twenty members of the Democratic caucus supported the bill and three GOP senators voted against advancing it.

The measure says the Islamic State and al-Qaida militants still pose a serious threat to the United States, and warns that "a precipitous withdrawal" from those countries could "allow terrorists to regroup, destabilize critical regions and create vacuums that could be filled by Iran or Russian Federation".

In a vote that will likely further complicate United States withdrawal plans from both Syria and Afghanistan, the Senate voted on Thursday to advance a bill that pushes back against any precipitous pull-out. 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.

Trump announced plans for a USA pullout from Syria in December, saying the Islamic State had been defeated.

"The American people do not want endless war", said Sanders, echoing arguments made by Warren earlier in January. 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.

Donald Trump's feud with his intelligence chiefs and a top Republican senator went into its third day when the president declared Friday it is "time to start coming home" from overseas conflicts.

While slamming Trump's decision to withdraw USA forces from Syria and Afghanistan without coordinating with allies as "reckless", the Vermont senator said in a statement explaining his no vote that the "American people do not want endless war" and urged Congress to use its constitutional authority to bring perpetual conflicts to a close.

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Almost every Senate Democrat expected to run for president in 2020 voted against the amendment.

"I didn't expect that my colleagues across the aisle would make a partisan stand and try to block this straightforward sense of the Senate amendment, when it really just restates what most of us thought was a broad, bipartisan consensus about American leadership in the world", McConnell said.

Yet, Sen. John Kennedy, one of the Republicans who voted against the language, said he wasn't sure who's right and who's wrong in the withdrawal debate - and he wasn't going to back a stay-the-course approach.

"I think a number of our members, as you know, talk to the President on fairly regular basis and have articulated to him that they think the policies that the wants to employ with regard to Syria, for example, are not the right ones". She voted in favour of the measure.

How would it affect Mr Trump's vague plans on Syria?

"We are on a deliberate, coordinated, disciplined withdrawal", Shanahan said Tuesday in his first formal engagement with media as acting defense secretary. Similar rifts exist within Trump's own administration, evident this week when the heads of major United States intelligence agencies testified to the Senate and contradicted him on the strength of the Daesh and several other foreign policy matters.

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