Alabama congressional delegation reacts to Trump’s Syria withdraw

Alabama congressional delegation reacts to Trump’s Syria withdraw

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw military support from the U.S.’s ally in Syria, leaving the Kurds vulnerable to an attack by Turkey, has been criticized by some Republicans nationally. In Alabama, at least one Congressman thinks it’s the correct move.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Huntsville, spoke in favor of the withdrawal to radio host Jeff Poor on WVNN this week.

“I do believe that it is wise to remove our troops from Syria because we do not have unlimited financial resources and unlimited American lives that we can spend in a (region) where I think history has shown that we do not ultimately gain from having spent that treasury or lost those lives,” Brooks said.

Asked about claims that the move could jeopardize U.S. security, Brooks said that assumes IS is only in one part of the world.

“… These fundamentalist Muslim terrorists are all over the place, and we’re, we don’t have the ability to police every country in north Africa, in central Africa, in southwest Asia, in south-central Asia … just go down all the places that they are, okay?”

Rep. Martha Roby, the Montgomery Republican who is not seeking reelection, said she is monitoring the situation in Syria.

“The United States must continue to stand up against terrorism while keeping our commitments to our allies and partners around the world,” Roby said.

Alabama’s two Democrats in D.C. criticized the move. 

“Kurdish fighters have been invaluable partners in our mission to defeat the Islamic State,” Sen. Doug Jones said on social media. “To abandon them in this moment leaves a vacuum for a resurgence of IS in the region.

“This is an alarming move that sends the exact wrong message to our allies.”

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell said Trump’s decision to abandon the Kurds is a grave betrayal of one of the U.S.’s strongest allies in the Middle East. 

“His decision not only puts at risk the stability of the region, U.S. forces and gains against ISIS, but also weakens American partnerships around the world,” Sewell said.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby did not have a comment on the withdrawal, his office said. Requests for comments Tuesday were not returned from  Reps. Robert Aderholt, Mike Rogers, and Gary Palmer.

Turkey has long threatened an attack on the Kurdish fighters in Syria whom Ankara considers terrorists allied with a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey. A Syrian war monitoring group, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported Wednesday that people were fleeing the border town of Tal Abyad, which Turkey is expected to attack first, the Associated Press reported.

Expectations of a Turkish invasion rose after Trump on Sunday abruptly announced that American troops would step aside ahead of the Turkish push — a shift in U.S. policy that essentially abandoned the Syrian Kurds, longtime U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.

But Trump also threatened to “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if the Turkish push into Syria went too far.

Trump later cast his decision to pull back U.S. troops from parts of northeast Syria as fulfilling a campaign promise to withdraw from the “endless war” in the Middle East. Republican critics and others said he was sacrificing a U.S. ally, the Syrian Kurds, and undermining American credibility.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.