Sen. Rand Paul: Congress Doesn’t Know Who to Declare War on in Syria

By Melanie Arter | October 14, 2019 | 3:54pm EDT
(Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images)

( – Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that Congress should vote on whether to declare war in Syria, but he said Congress wouldn’t know who to declare war with – Syrian President Bashar Assad, Turkey, or the Free Syrian Army.

Paul said President Donald Trump did not say he’s committed to making a Kurdish homeland in Syria, he said the U.S. would wipe out ISIS.

The senator said while it’s debatable whether or not ISIS is back, it has been defeated militarily, “and whether they come back or not is conjecture at this point.”

“But what I would say is this. We have to debate in Congress. My oath is to the Constitution. My oath isn't to some promise that somebody thinks we made for a Kurdish homeland. We should vote, and here's the reason why we won't vote. They don't know who to declare war on,” Paul said.



“We're going to declare war on Turkey? We're going to declare war on the Free Syrian Army, which was our ally for seven years? Are we going to declare war on Assad? And really, to tell you the truth, what needs to happen is we need to exert our leverage and our pressure to bring all sides together. And ultimately it's probably in the Kurd's best interest to be aligned with Assad,” he said.

Paul said as long as the goal is to get rid of Assad, “we're never getting to a peaceful situation.”

“Assad is staying, and if Assad were aligned with the Kurds, and the Kurds were given some semi-autonomy in their region, it could develop the way it is in Iraq currently. In Iraq, they have a semi-autonomous region. What if the Kurds were under Syrian sovereign entity but had a semi-autonomous region up there?” he asked.

“You might find some peace with that if Syria would guarantee that they're not going to have incursions across the border into Turkey, which means everybody needs to be at the table having this discussion,” the senator said.

Paul said that some members of the Arab militias that Turkey is using are from the Free Syrian Army – a U.S. ally for the past seven years, “which just shows how messy this is.”

“Turkey's an ally, the Free Syrian Army was an ally for seven years, and the Kurds have been allies in Syria. So it's a very complicated, messy situation, but I think a lot of people are not acknowledging that Turkey was coming in one way or another, and 50 soldiers would simply be in the way and be a tripwire to a much worse outcome. And so I think the president was right in moving 50 soldiers out of the way of an onslaught of tens of thousands of Turkish troops,” he said.



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