U.S. POLICY IN SYRIA; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 5
(House of Representatives - January 10, 2019)

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[Page H365]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                          U.S. POLICY IN SYRIA

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Arkansas (Mr. Hill) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. HILL of Arkansas. Mr. Speaker, I was delighted to read that 
President Trump has reflected on his initial instinct to pull our 2,000 
soldiers out of eastern Syria based on his conclusion that ISIS is 
defeated, and, instead, he is ordering a withdrawal at a proper pace 
consistent with American objectives.
  To meet our goals of a safe American homeland and progress towards 
regional stability, America must first develop a strategy to eliminate 
ISIS from northeast Syria along the lower Euphrates valley at the 
border of Syria and Iraq.
  This plan must include a productive role for our partner and ally, 
the Kurds. It is not in America's interest to abandon our long friends, 
the Kurds, to Turkish treachery and annihilation.
  Recent open-source data suggests there are 30,000 ISIS-related 
fighters in the lower Euphrates valley. With our allies, we must press 
this villainous band to its inglorious end.
  Our leaving with no plan will squander our immense success in cutting 
off funding and winning back hard-fought territorial gains from the 
occupation of ISIS.
  Second, America must block Iran. A key here is a small base and 
deconfliction zone at al-Tanf, a small force of 200 anchors that base 
along the key highway between Damascus and Baghdad. Not only is this a 
strategic imperative, Mr. Speaker, but 50,000 refugees are tenuously 
housed in this deconfliction zone at Rukban. Withdraw, and death awaits 
  Neighboring Jordan can take no more. We must ensure that an allied 
force remains at al-Tanf, blocking the Iranian-planned autobahn being 
considered from Tehran to Damascus. Withdraw, Mr. President, and you 
will leave Israel fully encircled by its greatest enemy, the Ayatollah 
in Tehran.
  Finally, Mr. Speaker, America must achieve peace and stability in 
Syria. Our small elite presence, our supply lines, and our air 
superiority offer pressure on the murderous regime in Damascus to reach 
a settlement to return Syria to peace and return millions of refugees 
to their towns and ancestral homes.
  Leave, Mr. President, and you will squander the great moral victory 
of your strategic strikes against Assad from his illegal use of 
chemical weapons and barrel bombs.
  Your early decisive actions made our friends, villagers huddling in 
fear and from the Euphrates to Idlib, shout with joy. ``America is 
back,'' they shouted.
  Leave, Mr. President, with no plan and no strategy, and they will 
hang their heads as they did during President Obama's shameful 
  Mr. Speaker, this unfortunate chapter unfolding in the tragedy known 
as Syria foreshadows an unflattering flashback to a time long ago when 
Great Britain abandoned a role of stability in the Holy Land and India.
  In 1948, Churchill rose in the House to oppose Prime Minister Atlee's 
own unplanned precipitous withdrawal from the Holy Land, saying:

       A time limit imposed--a kind of guillotine--will certainly 
     prevent the full, fair, and reasonable discussion of the 
     great, complicated issues that are involved.

  Indeed, as Churchill foresaw, mayhem, terror, and destruction were 
the result of Britain's precipitous withdrawal.
  It is said that history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Mr. 
President, let's not repeat this historical mistake nor let our actions 
even result in a rhyme.