US Senator John McCain on Monday urged the deployment of international ground forces to combat jihadists in Syria and Iraq, as he toured the Middle East with a Senate delegation.
“For months we’ve been bombing (Syrian border town) Kobane and we still haven’t driven ISIS out,” the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman told reporters in Jerusalem, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.
“Since the air campaign started… ISIS has increased their size and areas of control.
“The reality is, we need more boots on the ground… we need intelligence, we need special forces, and we can’t treat Iraq and Syria as different battlegrounds because it’s the same enemy,” McCain said.
“We are going to have to have an aircraft exclusionary zone which provides a buffer in order for us to not only train and equip (rebels), but to take care of refugees,” he added.
IS began its offensive on Kobane in mid-September and came close to overrunning the town. But Kurdish fighters, backed by a steady campaign of US-led air strikes, have gradually recaptured territory.
McCain was heading a delegation of US senators on a trip to the region that included visits to Israel, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The US military is to send more than 400 troops to train Syrian rebel forces as part of a long-planned effort to build up a moderate opposition to take on IS.
The training will take place in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar and is expected to start in the “early spring,” the Pentagon says.
But President Barack Obama, wary of having the US drawn into the multi-sided civil war in Syria, has been accused by some rebel groups, lawmakers and allies of moving too slowly to help the Syrian opposition.
US troops have already started training Iraqi government and Kurdish forces in the fight against the IS jihadists, with about 2,100 Americans deployed to Iraq.
Trump’s damage to the federal government is driving voters to turn to more liberal candidates: report
According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump's tenure has not resulted in voters becoming more conservative, and instead, he is driving them into the arms of more liberal and progressive candidates at the local level who are then using their newfound power to change Democratic policies at the national level.
Trump's negative influence is turning into a positive for those candidates -- particularly in the big cities.
"From New York City to Los Angeles, many of the nation’s biggest cities have turned even harder to the left under President Donald Trump, putting pressure on local officials to embrace the leading progressive presidential candidates — or withhold their endorsements entirely for fear of antagonizing newly energized activists," the report states. "It’s a drastic political shift in some places, where for decades entrenched party bosses crushed any signs of life on the left or tended to put the weight of big-city institutional support behind Democratic establishment-oriented candidates."
‘Not true’: Manic GOPer Mark Meadows shut down by CNN’s Bash for repeating lie about Ukraine
A fifteen-minute CNN interview with Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) wound down to an abrupt end on Sunday morning as the "State of the Union" host Dana Bash cut off the Trump defender's insistence there was no quid pro quo offer from the president to Ukraine's leadership, with the CNN host telling the GOP lawmaker, "That's not true. I don't want to debate about it."
In an interview where Meadows continued to rage about former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter, Bash finally brought up Trump's phone call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that led to the impeachment inquiry.
Discussing the call where Trump asked for a favor, Meadows pushed back after she said Trump, "Allegedly held up aid and he said it in this phone call."
GOP’s Collins demands delay in impeachment hearing after being overwhelmed with Dem’s massive case against Trump
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) has demanded that Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) postpone a scheduled House Judiciary Committee hearing slated for Monday after being blindsided by a massive report from the Democrats on the committee making the case for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
According to Newsmax, Collins -- who has become one of the president's main surrogates opposing ouster of the president -- fired back at the Democrats over their Saturday release of thousands of pages of documents to be considered from the House impeachment investigation.