Skip to main content

Tulsi Gabbard succeeded in House by Afghan war veteran

Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii who served in the Army in Iraq and ran for president in 2020, has been a critic of the US prosecution of "endless wars." Her successor, Democrat Kai Kahele, served in Afghanistan.
GettyImages-1204960978.jpg

The seat of Tulsi Gabbard, known for her vocal criticism of US Syria policy, will be filled by another Democrat in the House of Representatives in January.

Kai Kahele won the election to represent Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional district. Gabbard did not seek reelection in 2020, but did run for president in the Democratic Party presidential primaries, where she received two delegates.

The former US Army soldier who served in Iraq is known for her frequent criticism of US policy in the Middle East, particularly in Syria. In November 2019, Gabbard introduced a resolution that would have constrained President Donald Trump's authority to use force in Syria.

Gabbard was a strong advocate for not leaving Syrian Kurdish forces vulnerable to an attack from Turkey. She invited prominent Syrian Kurdish politician Ilham Ahmed to attend the February 2019 State of the Union address in Congress. 

She also vocally opposed previous US support for Syrian rebel forces due to the presence of al-Qaeda affiliates in their ranks. She met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2017 on a fact-finding mission to the country, and later refused to call him a war criminal.

Gabbard was strongly criticized by some in her own party for being "pro-Russia" as a result of the meeting with Assad and her criticism of US Syria policy, among other things. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even referred to Gabbard as a “Russian asset,” which prompted Gabbard to sue Clinton for defamation.  

Although Kahele's campaign focused on domestic issues, he and Gabbard both shared a military background; Kahele served with the Air Force in Afghanistan. His campaign website said he supports ending US support for “non-democratic regimes” and is against US involvement in the Yemeni civil war. Many in the Democratic Party are critical of US support for the Saudi-led coalition in the conflict.

It is unclear what Gabbard will do when her term ends in January.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial