by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Rep. Mark Meadows (R., N.C.), one of President Trump’s staunchest allies in Congress, worked behind the scenes to try to persuade Trump not to cancel $230 million in aid to help Syrian citizens rebuild their communities struggling to recover from Islamic State rule, according to a congressional letter Meadow signed earlier this month.
The State Department, following White House orders, earlier this month permanently canceled the $230 million in stabilization assistance Congress already appropriated for Syria’s northeastern region, where 2,200 U.S. troops are deployed to help ensure ISIS remains defeated and residents who had fled can safely return to the area. …
… As the Trump administration was weighing whether to cut the stabilization aid earlier this month, Meadows, who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus, penned a private letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Signed by nine other members, the letter urged Trump to continue the funding “to help clear rubble, restore basic services such as water and electricity, support local governance and promote independent media.”
“U.S.-backed stabilization initiatives have helped civilians build an alternative to the violence of both the Assad regime and violent extremists,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Syria’s stability is essential to the long-term security of the U.S. and our regional allies,” they continued. “The fight against al Qaeda and ISIS is not over. Investing in these programs now is a far less expensive approach than addressing these radical threats with possible military force in the months and years to come.”