Kaine, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, gave a very cautious welcome to Obama’s shift in policy on Syria last week. The White House announced Friday that the president had ordered up to 50 U.S. special operators to be based in that war-torn country. Those elite commandos will advise and assist rebels who are battling the Islamic State but who also find themselves under fire from forces loyal to strongman Bashar Assad. Kaine said that the White House still lacks a clear strategy for taking on the Islamic State in Syria nearly 16 months after U.S. bombs first starting striking the group.
“They’ve got to put a credible Syria strategy on the table,” Kaine said. “They’ve got to put a strategy on the table that deals with the ISIL third of the problem, with the Assad third of the problem, and with the massive humanitarian disaster third of the problem. And they’re just not doing that.”
Kaine said the administration’s approach to taking on the Islamic State in Iraq was relatively clear, but “in Syria, it’s just not really a strategy.”