A prominent Republican called for the withdrawal of American forces from Syria this week, putting additional pressure on the Biden administration’s foreign policy priorities.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) introduced a new resolution to the House limiting the powers of the Biden Administration in regard to Syria. Gaetz’s proposed legislation would withdraw American forces from the country within 15 days.
Congress has never authorized the use of military force in Syria.
The United States is currently not in a war with or against Syria.
If Joe Biden wants to keep U.S. troops in the Syrian conflict, he should have to explain to us why, what the goal is, https://t.co/shbaFZBjfj… https://t.co/0crT0gFNs8
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) February 22, 2023
The Florida Republican called for the end to the more than decade-long commitment in the wartorn Middle Eastern Country. Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011.
Gaetz released a statement supporting the resolution. The congressman cited the constitutional authority to declare war belonging to Congress, not to the president.
The troops in Syria entered during the Obama administration and President Biden still keeps American soldiers in the country.
Gaetz said, “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 U.S. Armed Forces from Syria. America First means actually putting the people of our country first — not the interests of the Military Industrial Complex.”
The congressman also said that President Biden lied about the American presence in the country during an interview with Fox News.
Gaetz said that the recent war in Ukraine caused a reduction of attention to American intervention in Syria, adding that he wanted members of Congress to “vote on the record” about the American presence in Syria. He added, “we still find ourselves in the middle of a Syrian civil war with Russia and Turkey and Iran, all present in a very confined neighborhood.”
Gaetz fears potential “escalation” in the region and cited a 2021 interview in which President Biden said that “we don’t have military in Syria.” During the interview, Gaetz said, the United States had 900 troops in the country.
Former president Donald Trump called for a withdrawal, but his attempts were thwarted by a military bureaucracy that has admitted to misleading the former president about operations in Syria.