U.S. Senate Says No to Withdrawal From Syria

The war in Gaza has changed the way the U.S. feels about its presence in Syria, Abdel Moneim Ali Issa writes in al-Watan.

The Republican representative Matt Gaetz encountered a setback as his resolution failed to gain approval in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 8th of last year. The resolution aimed at the prompt withdrawal of unauthorized U.S. forces from Syrian territories, with a specified period not exceeding 15 days. However, the voting results, with 103 in favour and 321 against, resulted in the shelving of the resolution in the council’s archives. The preceding outcome reveals a threefold opposition compared to supporters, implying that withdrawal is currently improbable. Nevertheless, the scenario also suggests that the supporters wield substantial influence or are not negligible. It’s conceivable that developments and changes may have altered the dynamics, akin to a snowball rolling down a slope, gaining size as it descends from the top to the bottom, indicating a potential shift.

After a span of over nine months, Republican Representative Rand Paul attempted once again, this time through the Senate, which serves as the highest legislative authority in the country. Its endorsement is crucial for the approval of resolutions, except in rare instances specified by the constitution for the country’s president. These instances primarily pertain to matters of national security and war. It is worth noting that certain U.S. presidents have issued decisions related to Israel without seeking the Senate’s approval. This underscores that decision-making bodies in Washington unequivocally regard Israel and all its associated elements as issues of national security. This perspective is further underscored by potential events that could impact all fifty American states.

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The outcome of the Senate vote last Wednesday on Rand Paul’s proposal echoed more resoundingly than its counterpart in the House of Representatives, previously mentioned in March. The supporters amounted to a total of 13 members, while the opponents numbered 84, with the remaining three marked as absent, The ratio here underscores that the size of the opponents is approximately seven times that of the supporters, implying a reversal in the trajectory of the snowball. This can undoubtedly be interpreted through the escalation witnessed in the region, sparked by the ongoing Gaza war, now in its third month. One of its consequences has been an unprecedented increase in U.S. military presence in the area since the conflict’s inception, originating from the immersion of the Zionist entity in May 1948.

What stands out here is that the Republicans, who were mostly inclined to support a resolution calling for a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, deviated from that stance this time. This change is clearly reflected in the statements made by the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell.

McConnell issued a statement on the margins of the project, expressing:

“Passage of such a resolution would be a gift to Iran and its terrorist network,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said ahead of the vote. “Driving American troops from the Middle East is exactly what they’d like to see.”

He added:

“It would encourage Iran’s proxies to open a northern front in the territorial war against Israel,” he added, referring to the Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah.

In this context, it can be affirmed that the change in overall American sentiment toward military presence in Syria is not the result of a newly emerged perspective suggesting that this presence serves American interests in the region. Instead, it is influenced by the transformations brought about by the al-Aqsa Flood operation declared by Hamas on the dawn of October 7. The consequences of this operation led decision-making centers in the United States to adopt the view that if the “storm ball” were to expand, it could potentially lead to a third collapse of the existing “structure.” McConnell’s recent statement, expressing concerns about the potential opening of a northern front in the ongoing war, supports this perspective. Therefore, it can be confidently stated that this change in sentiment is temporary and transitional, likely to lead to another shift as the causes that led to it diminish.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.


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