Mon. Jul 6th, 2020

Senators Sullivan and Murkowski Speak Out About Trump’s Troop Withdrawal

4 min read

Alaska’s two senators have openly criticized the president’s decision to remove the troops from the northern border of Syria.

The small army contingent, with between 50 and 100 officers, was located on the border between Turkey and Syria. They were there under a joint patrol agreement between the U.S. and Turkey, with the idea to create a safe zone within the Syrian borders.

The decision was met with general disapproval by the Republican Party, who spoke out about its prudence in Congress, the Alaskan senators included.

Republican lawmakers have appealed to the president to rethink that decision because now Turkish forces can move into that area. This alone might have been all well and good if it didn’t entail abandoning Kurdish allies who helped the U.S. fight and bring down ISIS.

Apparently, Trump made the choice after speaking with R.T. Erdogan, Turkey’s president. It would seem that Mr. Erdogan demanded of Mr. Trump to remove the Syrian Kurds who were America’s allies, from the region. Due to the uncomfortable and conflicted relationship between the Kurds and Turkey, it was not an unexpected request.

However, experts have assessed that removing the troops from the border could allow the Syrian president, Bashar H. al-Assad, to expand his own forces in the area. It would also leave room for the Russians and Iranians to encroach with their forces, into the zone America and the Kurdish fighters cleared.

Many were flabbergasted, and Alaska Sen. Murakowski and Sullivan were among the most vocal.

Murkowski used Twitter to reach out to Trump, writing that she wished he would reconsider the decision related to the troops. She characterized it as unsettling as it was abrupt and that worrying reports have already begun to trickle in from the region. Taking the troops out of Syria, she wrote, is making space for ISIS to resurge in all its devastating glory. She also pointed out that she sees it as a betrayal of the Kurds, which have been America’s allies for a long time.

Sullivan also voiced his opinion on the subject, calling the move precipitous and therefore lacking foresight. He claimed it meant America has abandoned its Kurdish allies without careful consideration and that this decision would reverberate into the future. Who will want to work with America in the future, he implicitly asked, if this is how they treat their long-standing allies?

As to the possible consequences of the president’s actions, he believes they could potentially lead to Iran increasing its influence, for one. With the power vacuum left behind, it might be filled with Russian and Iranian troops, which would challenge America’s position. Finally, the ISIS prisoners in the area might use the opportunity to escape, or could even get released, Sullivan concluded.

Sullivan is not known for standing up against Trump, at least not openly. Murakowski, on the other hand, is.

It’s certainly not her first rodeo when it comes to contradicting Trump. She opposed him when he nominated B. Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. She disagreed when he called out The Squad, led by A. Ocasio-Cortez, asking them to go home to their countries of origin. And she certainly expressed concern when he wanted to declare that collecting funds for the border wall was a matter of national emergency.

A website called FiveThirtyEight has compiled data that shows how much various Senators align with Donald Trump’s decisions. Apparently, Sullivan is onboard with the president’s position 92% of the time, while Murakowski is in alignment just 74% of the time. The only congressman hailing from Alaska, Representative D. Young, aligns with Trump in 93% of cases.

Murkowski has been getting flack from her own party about her neutral stance towards the issue of Trump’s impeachment. When recently asked about it at a healthcare event in her home state of Alaska, she said she found it “troubling” that people were jumping the gun either way. Trump is being accused of, essentially, blackmailing Ukraine’s president to get him to probe the son of J. Biden and his affairs in that country. Murkowski said it would be very worrying if all those allegations turned out to be true, but no one should make up their mind while the investigation is still underway.

People’s viewpoints are too polarized, she concluded. However, her very own GOP colleagues are voicing their disapproval of her innocent-until-found-guilty stance. As the president is getting blasted by Democrats left and right, they say, his own party ought to rally around him. Now, she is being called out in the media by her fellow Republicans for not blindly sticking to Donald’s side.

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