Washington Post: US legislators are concerned about IS’ return, Turkish threats to north of Syria

US legislators from both the Republican and Democratic parties were clearly worried on President Trump's plans and his Secretary of Defense on withdrawing from Syria, where they stepped up pressure on the US administration to find alternative options to prevent the return of mercenaries and the Turkish attacks to the areas of north and east of Syria.


In an article in the Washington Post, writer Josh Rogin spoke of the verbal exchange between Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who led the congressional delegation to the Munich conference and acting Defense Minister Patrick Shanahan.

Legislators from both the Republican and Democratic parties appeared to be more concerned after Shanahan began following President Trump's plan to withdraw from Syria

The writer noted that most of the coverage of the Munich security conference last week focused on activity in the main hall, where the European-American dispute was obvious. Differences arose in Trump's criticism of the predominantly European audience about the European relationship with Iran, The German Chancellor's speech and her criticism of Trump's "America First" address her gaze to the daughter of the American president who was present in the room.

The writer said "the real insiders have noticed that the diplomatic work was not in the plenary, but in the private rooms where there were bilateral meetings and diplomatic relations."

"Many members of the US congressional delegation told him that the most important consequence of these meetings are that lawmakers have confronted Shanahan about Trump's withdrawal from Syria," he said.

Rogin points to the pressure of Sen. Lindsey Graham, the leader of the US Congressional delegation, on Shanahan on whether to tell European officials in Munich that the United States’ full withdrawal was a complete deal.

The writer says that Graham was one of the lawmakers in the US who was most referring to the dangers of the US withdrawal from Syria, which included the Turkish state's attack on the Syrian Kurds, as well as the dangers of IS’ return, as well as the increase of Iranian influence in Syria.

"The odds are very high," Shanahan said.

Graham's alternative idea, which he spent on weekends in Europe, is that European countries will contribute hundreds of new troops to build a buffer zone on the Syrian side of the Turkish border.

Where this area would prevent IS from return and provide a barrier between the Turkish forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces(SDF), which the United States has trained and armed.

Inside the meeting, after Graham confronted Chanahan, many lawmakers from both parties shouted, warning Shanahan of what they thought was the risk of a withdrawal from Trump in Syria. They called on Shanahan to persuade the president to change the course.

Many lawmakers told him that Shanahan had stood silent and said he had failed to express an objective response other than reaffirming Trump's instructions.

The writer said, "what we saw in each of our bilateral talks on this subject was strong support from both parties to see that our departure from Syria would cause a crisis that would later turn into a deep and dark abyss."

A government official, responding to requests for comment, declined to comment on Shanahan's private talks with lawmakers, but said it was a constructive and positive meeting.

After his study, Graham tries to build consensus on the idea that he knows it is difficult to market-keeping some US troops in Syria. But he believes the alternative is too dangerous to be allowed.

On the plane, Graham said he was optimistic that he would get from the Europeans what he wanted to think about, but only if he could convince President Trump.



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