By Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has introduced a War Powers Resolution that would order President Biden to pull all US troops out of Syria, a move that came after four US troops were reported injured in a raid against ISIS in the country.
“Congress has never authorized the use of military force in Syria. The United States is currently not in a war with or against Syria, so why are we conducting dangerous military operations there? President Biden must remove all US Armed Forces from Syria. America First means actually putting the people of our country first — not the interests of the Military Industrial Complex,” Gaetz said in a statement on the resolution.
He said the purpose of the resolution was to see where Congress stands on the US military presence in Syria. According to a press release from Gaetz’s office, the War Powers Resolution is privileged, meaning the House will be forced to vote on it within 18 days of its introduction. The press release said he filed the resolution on Tuesday.
“Since the invasion of Ukraine, we seem to have turned our attention away from some of America’s entanglement in Syria,” Gaetz told Fox News Digital. “And the purpose of my legislation is to force members of Congress to vote on record regarding whether they think we ought to continue Obama’s war in Syria.”
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Gaetz criticized progressive Democrats for supporting US involvement in Ukraine and said he wanted to see where the “antiwar coalition” in Congress falls when it comes to the Middle East. “Is it more on the right, is it more on the left? Is it some amalgamation thereof? But this resolution will test who is truly adherent to what I believe is America First Foreign Policy and who continues to believe in Middle Eastern adventurism,” he said.
In July 2022, the House voted on a proposed amendment to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act introduced by Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) that would have cut all funds for the US presence in Syria within one year if President Biden didn’t get authorization from the war. The amendment failed, but it received support from about 60% of House Democrats. According to the House Clerk, 130 Democrats voted in favor, while only 25 Republicans supported the amendment.
Gaetz noted that the presence in Syria risks sparking a wider war as US troops have encountered Russian soldiers in the country. “The risk of an accident or miscalculation or just misuse of authority could lead to direct kinetic conflict between the United States and Russia in Syria. And we ought to really think about whether or not that risk is worth whatever it is we’re fighting for in Syria,” he said.
The US has about 900 troops in Syria and backs the Kurdish-led SDF. On paper, the presence is about fighting ISIS, and US operations against the terror group have increased in recent months. But the US occupation is also part of the economic war against Damascus as the area of Syria under US and SDF control is where most of the country’s oil resources are.
On top of the occupation of Syria, the US imposed sanctions on the country designed to prevent reconstruction. The US issued a 180-day waiver on sanctions for transactions related to relief efforts following a devastating earthquake that hit northwest Syria and Turkey, but UN experts say the waiver isn’t enough and are calling for all sanctions to be lifted.