U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Joe Votel testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee today. Here's what you need to know:
- He admitted there is a "stalemate" in the more than 15-year-old war in Afghanistan and said there is a discussion ongoing with Mattis about sending a few thousand more U.S. troops to the country. Current deployment stands at about 8400.
- He said he is concerned the U.S. will be caught between Turkey and U.S.-backed Kurds in Syria, admitted there is a risk of conflict there, and confirmed Marines have been deployed. Read our earlier story on the buffer zone here and Marines being deployed here.
- Votel said "Iran poses the greatest long-term threat to U.S. interests" in the region, including concerns about ballistic missiles, naval mines, and UAVs (unmanned aircraft).
- Votel said he has reviewed the raid in Yemen that killed a Navy SEAL and found there were no lapses in judgement and that it produced valuable knowledge on al-Qaida militants. He added that between four and 12 innocent civilians were killed in the raid.