Sullivan Statement on U.S. Withdrawal of Troops from Syria

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement in reaction to the United States decision to withdraw troops for Syria:

“I have supported the Trump administration’s foreign policy across a number of areas: its tougher approach on China and Russia, its strategy to counter malign Iranian influence in the Middle East, and its robust military strategy to defeat ISIS.

“Yesterday’s abrupt about-face to withdraw our limited force presence in Syria, however, is a decision I do not support. It could lead to the resurgence of ISIS – a major national security threat to the United States. It will likely create a vacuum in the region that will be filled by Russian and Iranian forces, or their proxies, increasing their influence in the Middle East at America’s expense.

“There are no easy answers to the many national security challenges throughout the Middle East. Our troops should not be in Syria indefinitely. What is most troubling about yesterday’s decision however, is that it undermines the Trump administration’s own very effective Iran strategy which has put tremendous pressure on the leaders of Iran – the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. I fear that this decision will increase Iran’s arc of influence, from Iraq and Syria to Lebanon, which will enhance its ability to threaten our national security interests, and those of our allies, including Israel.

“Going forward, the President should, at minimum, consider establishing a small U.S. counter-terrorism force in the region that can defend America’s national security interests against ISIS or Iranian threats should the need arise, which it likely will.”