The US House voted this Thursday against a bill proposing the withdrawal of US troops from Syria.
This Thursday morning, a bill proposing the end of US military presence in Syria was brought to vote in the House of Representatives. The result, however, was a 103-321 vote against the proposal which was introduced by Florida Republican Matt Gaetz.
In his proposed bill, Gaetz used expedited procedures under the War Powers Act to get a majority vote from the House to pass the bill.
Although a good many Democrats from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, as well as libertarian and America First-aligned Republicans all joined forces to get the bill passed, they fell short of the votes needed to pass it because of the opposition from leaders in both parties.
If passed into law, the bill would have required the Biden administration to pull out all the approximately 900 American troops who are currently in Syria within the time period of six months.
Before putting the bill on vote, Gaetz did his best to persuade as many members of the House as possible to realize the importance of the US end of military presence in Syria; “Congress has never authorized the use of military force in Syria and the United States is currently not in a war with or against Syria, so why are we conducting dangerous military operations there? President [Joe] Biden must remove all U.S. armed forces from Syria.” Gaetz said in a statement before the House.
US foreign interventions under the disguise of fighting terrorism
It was back in 2014, when the civil war in Syria erupted, that the US Defense Department announced the deployment of American troops to Syria with the aim of “fighting the Islamic State”. This is while as US former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says, it was indeed the United States who created ISIS.
In her book titled “Hard Choices”, Clinton made some surprising comments and admitted that ISIS was actually created by the US government at the time with the aim of dividing the Middle East.
The Syrian war also made decision-makers in Washington return US forces to Iraq. But it is not just Syria and Iraq. After the 9/11 attacks, different administrations in the US have used legislation named the 2001 military authorization act to justify at least 41 military operations in at least 19 countries across the globe.
But even after the territorial defeat of the ISIS, the US Defense Department decided to keep its troops stationed in both Syria and Iraq, claiming that the threat of terrorists is still imminent. “Even though ISIS no longer controls significant territory, there are still tens of thousands of hardened terrorist fighters in Iraq and Syria who are hellbent on establishing their terror state,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Mike McCaul argued ahead of the Thursday vote.
It was also last week on Saturday that in a move to approve the continuation of US military presence in Syria, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley had a surprise visit to Syria to meet with American forces stationed in the war-torn country.
The visit was immediately met with harsh criticism from the Syrian Foreign Affairs Ministry in Damascus. In addition, Republican Gaetz also rebuked Gen. Milley for his trip to Syria and accused him of trying to “justify America’s continued involvement in a Middle Eastern civil war.”
The US military presence in Iraq is also a hot debate in the House these days as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee presented a bill to the House on Wednesday to cancel the 1991 and 2002 Iraq War authorizations. If repealed, however, it would not result in the removal of US soldiers from Iraq, since they are stationed there under the 2001 authorization, which seems to still be a pillar in the US foreign policy decisions.