June 16, 2006

American Policy Towards War and Peace in the Middle East, Part 1

Carroll Andrew Morse

The United States Senate has overwhelmingly rejected an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have required most American troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year. Here’s the full text of the failed amendment…

(1) SCHEDULE FOR WITHDRAWAL.--The President shall reach an agreement as soon as possible with the Government of Iraq on a schedule for the withdrawal of United States combat troops from Iraq by December 31, 2006, leaving only forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces.

(2) CONSULTATION WITH CONGRESS REQUIRED.--The President shall consult with Congress regarding such schedule and shall present such withdrawal agreement to Congress immediately upon the completion of the agreement.

(3) MAINTENANCE OF OVER-THE-HORIZON TROOP PRESENCE.--The President should maintain an over-the-horizon troop presence to prosecute the war on terror and protect regional security interests.

(b) Iraq Summit.--The President should convene a summit as soon as possible that includes the leaders of the Government of Iraq, leaders of the governments of each country bordering Iraq, representatives of the Arab League, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, representatives of the European Union, and leaders of the governments of each permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, for the purpose of reaching a comprehensive political agreement for Iraq that addresses fundamental issues including federalism, oil revenues, the militias, security guarantees, reconstruction, economic assistance, and border security.

The amendment failed by a vote of 93-6. Senators Lincoln Chafee and Jack Reed both voted against.

However, Reuters, via the Washington Post, suggests that the debate on this is not yet over…

With Democrats blasting Republicans for the maneuver, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to put aside the measure which allows Kerry to bring it up again next week for full debate.

A large group of Senate Democrats also was working on an amendment to the defense policy bill for a troop withdrawal starting this year, but without a deadline for completion.

Gotta love those wacky Senate rules of procedure....