WASHINGTON — President Trump has all the legal authority he needs to keep U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq indefinitely the Pentagon and State Department said in a pair of letters released on Thursday. The letters also warned that the United States reserves the right to take military action to defend its anti-ISIS allies in Syria potentially setting the stage for new clashes with regime forces and their Russian partners.

两封由五角大楼和国务院写给参议员蒂姆·凯恩(Tim Kaine)的信件周四被公开。信中称,特朗普总统有充分的法律授权,以维持美军在叙利亚和伊拉克的无限期部署。信中还警告说,在叙利亚,政府军及俄罗斯有可能正寻求制造新的冲突,对此美国保留动用军事手段以保卫其反ISIS盟友的权力。

Sen. Tim Kaine D-Va. to whom the letters were addressed sharply criticized the administration’s reasoning and said in a statement that Trump risks “acting like a king by unilaterally starting a war.”


Borrowing arguments first advanced by the Obama administration the Pentagon and State Department argued that the undeclared war on ISIS — and the presence of some 2000 U.S. troops in Syria and 5200 more in Iraq — is legal under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and the 2002 AUMF that set the stage for the invasion of Iraq. In late January the Trump administration signaled that it would not seek a new vote to authorize the mission in Syria.


Like Obama Trump contends that because of its origins as an al-Qaida offshoot the so-called Islamic State is covered by the 2001 legislation. The 2002 AUMF gave the president the power to use force to confront “the continuing threat posed by Iraq.”


“Now the Trump administration is going even further claiming that the 2001 AUMF also allows the U.S. military to strike pro-Assad forces in areas devoid of ISIS to protect our Syrian partners who seek Assad’s overthrow” Kaine said Thursday. “It is clear the Trump administration is crossing a constitutional line.”


While the U.S.-led coalition has routed ISIS and shattered its claims to a caliphate the Pentagon said in its letter that the terrorist group has morphed into a dangerous “insurgency” and that U.S. forces need to remain in both countries to ensure its “permanent defeat.”


“Just as when we previously removed U.S. forces prematurely the group will look to exploit any abatement in pressure to regenerate capabilities and reestablish local control of territory” David Trachtenberg the deputy undersecretary of defense for policy wrote to Kaine.  

国防部副部长政策助理,大卫·特拉亨伯格(David Trachtenberg)在信中对凯恩说:“正如之前所见,美军一旦在条件不成熟时撤离,武装分子将乘机重获力量并重新夺取对当地的控制。”


“The United States does not seek to fight the Government of Syria or Iran or Iranian-supported groups in Iraq or Syria” Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Mary Waters said in her letter to Kaine. “However the United States will not hesitate to use necessary and proportionate force to defend U.S. Coalition or partner forces engaged in operations to defeat ISIS and degrade al-Qa’ida.”

立法事务助理国务卿,玛丽·沃特斯(Mary Waters)则在其信中对凯恩说:“美国并不寻求在伊拉克或叙利亚,与叙利亚政府、伊朗或其支持的武装组织交战。然而如果我们的伙伴在打击ISIS、消灭基地组织的行动中需要保护,我们会毫不犹豫地采取必要和适当的行动。”

The United States struck forces loyal to Syrian strongman Bashar Assad several times in 2017 notably striking an airfield in April in what Washington described as a response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons against civilians. More recently a U.S. counterattack reportedly killed Syrian forces but also Russian mercenaries.


Kaine who has tried for years to get his colleagues to debate and vote on authorizing the war against ISIS warned in January that the U.S. mission in Syria was evolving and risked putting American forces on a collision course with regime troops and their Russian backers.


Kaine outlined his concerns a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laid out plans for an open-ended presence in Syria.

凯恩是在国务卿雷克斯·蒂勒森(Rex Tillerson)制定于叙利亚无限期部署计划的一天后,提出以上关切的。

In remarks at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution Tillerson said U.S. forces would stay in the war-racked nation to ensure ISIS does not reemerge but also to set the stage for Assad’s removal from power through political means and to contain Iranian influence.


Iran has stepped up what America considers its destabilizing activities including support for Assad and extremist groups since the death of its archenemy Saddam Hussein and in the aftermath of the 2015 nuclear deal that Tehran signed with great powers including the United States. The Trump administration has vowed to confront the Islamic Republic more forcefully.