WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement in reaction to reports that the Trump Administration plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
“The troubling reports that President Trump ordered the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops and State Department personnel out of Syria with no plan or funds to stabilize the area are yet another example of this administration’s dangerous lack of strategy. With so many vital U.S. national security interests at stake in the Middle East, a leadership vacuum in Syria risks outcomes that serve only Russia’s and Iran’s interests, not our own.
“While none of us believe there should be an open-ended presence of U.S. troops in Syria, an abrupt withdrawal right now simply does not make strategic sense. It is alarming to see President Trump running headlong into a hasty and poorly thought-out decision that could further abdicate U.S. leadership, again force U.S. allies and partners to question U.S. judgment, and leave a vacuum in Syria that could be filled by other actors and proxies in the region.
“As with the Administration’s earlier decision to end Syria stabilization assistance, this abrupt move appears to have been taken with little thought of the consequences to strategic U.S. interests, including the effects on our partner forces in the unfinished fight against ISIS. Furthermore, we are concerned by the consequences of choosing to outsource our strategic interests in Syria to Russia and Iran, which inevitably threatens the security of our partners in Israel, Iraq, and Jordan.
“On Syria, it is unacceptable that Congressional committees of jurisdiction once again find ourselves in a situation where we hear more from the press than we do directly from the Trump Administration. It is our expectation that senior administration officials will fully and immediately brief Congress on the significant strategic consequences of this decision, and the manner in which they plan on implementing it.”
April 22, 2021