US Senator warns withdrawing from Syria and Afghanistan will embolden Iran
“If we are talking about a future where the United States and its regional allies have no forces on the ground… I think we are suddenly looking at a regional ascendant Iran with consequences that we are to take quite seriously,” Mr Coons said after attending the Munich Security Conference, which came to a close last weekend.
“I strongly support a continued presence of US forces on the ground in Syria and Afghanistan to retain the capacity to prevent groups like al Qaeda, ISIS, from establishing strongholds and launching again attacks against our nations.”
The absence of “meaningful consultation” with Congress on the plans to withdraw US troops, as well as with regional and international allies, “gravely concerns me”, Mr Coons said.
“It frustrates me deeply to think that such behaviour may cause our allies across Asia and Europe to wonder if they might be the next American partner to be abandoned.”
This year’s Munich Security Conference — an event that was conceived during the Cold War — largely fell short of its intent to showcase the solidity of the post-war Western alliance and America’s commitment to European security.
The estrangement between the US and the EU has grown out of a number of issues including the Iranian nuclear deal, climate policy, trade and commitment to NATO. President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement on Twitter of plans to withdraw US troops from Syria and to remove up to half of the 14,000 US forces in Afghanistan is the latest strain in the relationship between the transatlantic partners.
Mr Coons was among those senators who presented an amendment last month that challenges President Donald Trump’s plans. The non-binding amendment, which would be attached to a bill on broader US policy in the Middle East, warns that a precipitous withdrawal of US forces could allow terrorists to regroup and create vacuums that could be filled by Iran or Russia.
Read More: The National
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