The US Senate inflicted Thursday a snub on Donald Trump by voting by a large majority on an amendment criticizing his decision to withdraw troops from Syria, a sign of the strong malaise in the Republican’s own ranks of the president.
This amendment “expresses the feeling of the Senate that the United States is currently facing threats from terrorist groups operating in Syria and Afghanistan and that a precipitous withdrawal of the United States could jeopardize progress made with hardship, as well as national security “.
A large majority of senators (68 versus 23) voted in favor of ending the debate on this amendment, which should therefore be added to a law on security in the Middle East.
Notably, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell usually avoids public criticism of Donald Trump, who introduced the amendment.
For this skilful tactician, it was to “allow senators to say publicly what the United States should do in Syria and Afghanistan,” he said Thursday.
The group “Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda have not yet been defeated,” he said, in direct contradiction to the words of the Republican president. “US national security requires ongoing engagement in our missions there.”
Donald Trump had suddenly announced in December the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, saying that the IS jihadists had been defeated. And he is clear about his intention to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible after 17 years of conflict.
His decision on Syria led to the departure of his defense minister, Jim Mattis, and sowed distress among European and Kurdish allies in the United States.
“It’s a bad idea,” declared Republican Senator Marco Rubio during a speech in the hemicycle before the vote. “This simple announcement has undermined our credibility in the eyes of our allies.”
– Go back to school –
Apart from some non-interventionist parliamentarians, the discomfort is deep in the Republican ranks, who were also outraged this week by Donald Trump’s stalwart criticism of the heads of his own intelligence services.
On Tuesday in front of the Senate, Gina Haspel, director of the CIA, and Dan Coats, director of intelligence, both named by Donald Trump, had painted a picture of major global threats reflecting a sharp disagreement with the analysis of the tenant of the White House on Syria, North Korea or Iran.
An assessment that earned them the next day a volley of greenwood from the president: “The members of the intelligence services should perhaps return to school!”, He tweeted, calling them “naive “.
“I’d rather have the president stay away from Twitter, especially when it comes to these important national security issues, for which we have experts who are experienced and professional,” CNN quoted him as saying. new number two of the Republican majority in the Senate, John Thune.
McConnell’s amendment complements a bill that includes new sanctions against Syria and protects US local authorities from deciding not to work with companies boycotting Israel.
This bill must be submitted to a first procedural vote in the Senate and, ultimately, will have to be examined by the House of Representatives in the hands of the Democrats.