Questions Answered In This Post: (2-Minute Read)
1: What Have They Accomplished Recently?
Currently, as of January 2020, there are around 7,500 American troops that are spread out in Afghanistan and Iraq, and over 60,000 troops all over the Middle East as a whole, although it was not confirmed and there was a possibility of being many more. Over this past year, the military has had two major incidents in the Middle East:
- 1. On October 26, 2019, American troops declared the founder and leader of the ISIS terrorist organization, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to be dead. The United States Special Operations Forces, in northwestern Syria at the time, carried out this operation, which left no American troops harmed, where eleven young children were escorted away, and many of Baghdadi’s accomplices were killed. He ran into a tunnel, being chased by army dogs, and after reaching the end of the tunnel, he ignited himself and his three children.
- 2. In early January 2020, a top Iranian general responsible for the proxy wars of the Middle East, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in an airstrike from the United States, carried out by an armed drone. The target on Soleimani occurred following an attack on the US Embassy, which the US Defense Department blamed Soleimani for orchestrating. The Defense Department also believed he was continuing to develop plans to attack Americans.
2: What’s Next?
The Trump Administration is now planning to bring back more troops from the Middle East, specifically from Afghanistan and Iraq. President Trump, who showed frustration with American troop occupation in war zones, had placed in the Pentagon many officials with a similar mindset. The plan is to leave a total of around 2,500 American troops in these two countries.
Senate Majority Mitch McConnell believes this plan to cause implications in the future, weakening the United States, and benefitting the enemies in the Middle East. He believes this plan will further degrade the achievements already made by American troops, such as those mentioned above. Describing America as “the most powerful force for good in the world,” McConnell states that this plan will only further benefit terrorists and strongly opposes this removal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. He also emphasizes that this exit from the Middle East “would likely be even worse than President (Barack) Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq back in 2011, which fueled the rise of ISIS and a new round of global terrorism.” This belief is shared strongly amongst many Republicans in Congress, believing there will be victory and renewal to the terrorist organizations based in these Middle Eastern countries.