Patterico's Pontifications

10/7/2019

Trump Announces US Troop Pullout In Northern Syria Ahead Of Turkish Military Offensive

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:01 pm



[guest post by Dana]

This happened last night:

The White House said that United States forces in northern Syria would move aside in advance of a planned Turkish military offensive.

The move marks a major shift in US foreign policy and effectively gives Turkey the green light to attack US-backed Kurdish forces. The group, long considered as among Washington’s most reliable partners in Syria, has played a key strategic role in the campaign against ISIS in the region.

Following a phone call between US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the White House said that Turkey would soon begin a military offensive and US forces would not be involved in the operation.

“Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” a statement said. “The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘Caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area.”

The White House added Turkey would now be responsible for all captured ISIS fighters who are currently being held by US-backed Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

It is unclear whether this decision will impact all of the nearly 1,000 troops currently operating in the area.

Republican reaction to the news has not been positive:

Republican lawmakers on Monday panned President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria ahead of a planned Turkish invasion, marking the latest break within the party over foreign policy.

…Republicans are warning that the decision will bolster U.S. adversaries, including ISIS, and put the lives of Kurdish allies in the region at risk.

[…]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)…”I urge the President to exercise American leadership to keep together our multinational coalition to defeat ISIS and prevent significant conflict between our NATO ally Turkey and our local Syrian counterterrorism partners…”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)…”It would confirm #Iran’s view of this administration & embolden then to escalate hostile attacks which in turn could trigger much broader & more dangerous regional war,” Rubio added.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah)…”The President’s decision to abandon our Kurd allies in the face of an assault by Turkey is a betrayal. It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster,” Romney tweeted.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)…added…that it was a “terribly unwise decision by the President to abandon our Kurdish allies.”

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.)…“He needs to know that this bad decision will likely result in the slaughter of allies who fought with us, including women and children. I hope the President will listen to his generals and reconsider. And before Turkey butchers innocent Kurds, Erdogan should carefully consider his privileged status as a NATO member. The American people don’t partner with genocidal regimes”.

Unexpected pushback to the decision came from Trump-supporter Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.):

I don’t believe it is a good idea to outsource the fight against ISIS to Russia, Iran, and Turkey. They don’t have America’s best interests at heart.

The most probable outcome of this impulsive decision is to ensure Iran’s domination of Syria.

The U.S. now has no leverage and Syria will eventually become a nightmare for Israel.

I feel very bad for the Americans and allies who have sacrificed to destroy the ISIS Caliphate because this decision virtually reassures the reemergence of ISIS. So sad. So dangerous.

President Trump may be tired of fighting radical Islam. They are NOT tired of fighting us.

Finally, this decision makes it difficult for the U.S. to recruit allies against radical Islam.By abandoning the Kurds we have sent the most dangerous signal possible – America is an unreliable ally and it’s just a matter of time before China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea act out in dangerous ways.

Graham said he will take additional steps when, and if necessary:

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday he and Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if it crosses the Syrian border and attacks Kurdish forces, after President Donald Trump said late Sunday that he was withdrawing U.S. troops from the border region.

“I hope and expect sanctions against Turkey — if necessary — would be veto-proof,” Graham said.

“This decision to abandon our Kurdish allies and turn Syria over to Russia, Iran, & Turkey will put every radical Islamist on steroids. Shot in the arm to the bad guys. Devastating for the good guys,” Graham tweeted.

Also breaking with the President is ardent Trump-supporter, Mike Huckabee:

I generally support @POTUS on foreign policy & don’t want our troops fighting other nations’ wars, but a HUGE mistake to abandon Kurds. They’ve never asked us to do THEIR fighting-just give them tools to defend themselves. They have been faithful allies. We CANNOT abandon them.

House members voicing disapproval include Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), and Pete King (R-N.Y.). Nikki Haley also condemned the decision, saying that leaving the Kurds to die would be a big mistake.

However, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) came out in support of Trump’s decision: “I stand with@realDonaldTrump today as he once again fulfills his promises to stop our endless wars and have a true America First foreign policy”.

This morning President Trump defended his decision on Twitter:

“The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades. I held off this fight for … almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” Trump tweeted.

“WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN,” the president added.

He also addressed concerns about the captured ISIS fighters:

Moreover, he claims that he is not taking sides in the matter:

Meanwhile, Charles C.W. Cooke slaps us with the most shameful reality of all with regard to U.S. foreign policy:

This morning’s revelation that President Trump intends to permit a Turkish military operation that would destroy the American-backed Kurds near the border in Syria has prompted a parade of arguments over the merits and demerits of the decision, yielded a good amount of enfeebled pleading, and allowed for hours and hours of cable news discussion, but, notably, has generated absolutely nothing of actual consequence from those in positions of power. As has become customary, we are watching explosions from the peanut gallery.

Donald Trump may be an unusually ignorant and capricious president, but he is by no means alone in enjoying an almost completely free hand in the realm of foreign policy. For decades now — under both Democrats and Republicans — we have been moving toward a settlement that permits the executive branch to decide, on a whim, where, when, and how we are at war — and even what constitutes “war” per se. Today, we can see why that is a bad idea. Today, by the same token, we can see why that settlement persists. What, exactly, are the parameters by which President Trump is supposed to make his decisions? Congress has not declared war in, or with, Syria, and it has not voted to end a declaration of war in, or with, Syria. It has not made it clear whether it considers that the situation in Syria falls neatly under its previous authorizations of force, or whether it believes that the president is in violation of them. Those who favor a more aggressive foreign policy have not made their case in debate, nor have those who disagree sought in any arena to rebut them. There has been no push for a clarifying statute, no attempt to increase or withdraw funding, and no talk of commendation or impeachment. Instead, those who were elected to make exactly these decisions have, as a class, happily consented to their own impotence. Congress, to borrow a phrase, has become a seraglio of eunuchs, which, terrified of weighing in on matters of life and death, prefers to gripe on TV, to complain on Twitter, and to beseech the executive from the safety of the stump, while doing nothing of any consequence in either direction.

Why is our policy a mess? Our policy is a mess because we do not have one. Instead, we have an oft-changing emperor who makes it up as he goes along while everyone else gripes. Eight years ago, President Obama involved the United States in removing the government of Libya, without ever going to Congress. He faced no consequences for this in either direction. Why would President Trump expect to rely on the advice or direction of the legislature? Why would anyone?

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

106 Responses to “Trump Announces US Troop Pullout In Northern Syria Ahead Of Turkish Military Offensive”

  1. What a God-awful mess.

    Q: Where does this leave the Yazidis and Christians? Are these troops coming home? (Because if they aren’t coming home, is this just placating Erdogan?)

    Dana (05f22b)

  2. World’s Policeman ‘cops out.’ Film at 11.

    At least he was respectful to those in his in party who disagree in the Q&A at the Japan Trade presser. So don’t sweat it, Nikki; Trump/Haley 2020 is still in his pocket.

    What color is your parachute, Mike?

    SNL memo to Charlie:

    “Ain’t nuttin’ gonna happen.” – ‘Quincy Maddox’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  3. He’s proteccting the ISIS fighters but not the Kurdish ones. He may consider the ISIS ex-fighters the only non-combatants in danger.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  4. Oh it shameful! Says mittens the big foreign policy expert. So, how many American lives are you willing to sacrifice for the Kurds? Are willing to go fight? Is Mittens, picking up an M-16 and going to help the Kurds? What about fat-boy hucklebee, is he waddle over there and join the fight?

    We’ve been in Syria for years. We’ve spent billions and numerous American Lives ‘Helping’ the Kurds. And guess what? Turkey is our Ally too. Remember that? They’re in NATO. There’s no reason the Euro’s Russia, Turkey, and Israel can’t handle Northern Syria. As Trump says we have no interest there, and are 7,000 miles away. Its Europe’s back yard by Comparison.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  5. The fact is, all these foreign policy “experts” especially in the Senate and the News-media are shooting their mouths off. Their knowledge is a mile wide and an inch deep. They have no plan for getting us out of Syria, and no end game. They want us to stay and “fight for the Kurds” but can’t tell us when we’re going to win and go home. Its been how many years? 6,8,10? you tell me. How many years have we had troops in sryia “helping the kurds”? Let the UK/France/Germany/Russia “Help the Kurds”.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  6. Probably a 1,000 never-trumpers are googling “Syria Kurds Turkey” right now, trying to figure out how to criticize Trump – once they figure out what “Kurd” is.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  7. We’ve been in Syria for years. We’ve spent billions and numerous American Lives ‘Helping’ the Kurds. And guess what? Turkey is our Ally too. Remember that? They’re in NATO. There’s no reason the Euro’s Russia, Turkey, and Israel can’t handle Northern Syria. As Trump says we have no interest there, and are 7,000 miles away. Its Europe’s back yard by Comparison.

    So I assume you’re on board with me when I say that if these troops aren’t headed home, then this is just a political move to assuage Erdogan?

    Dana (05f22b)

  8. #6. And millions of Trump supporters are posting without bothering to google anything. They don’t care what a Kurd is as long as they get to own the libs.

    Manotaur (da7714)

  9. “…if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits…”

    DO NOT AROUSE THE WRATH OF THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ!

    Dave (1bb933)

  10. Why is our policy a mess? Our policy is a mess because we do not have one.

    Sure we do. Trump is great. He’s playing cosmic-level chess on a par with the gods and all this criticism just shows how petty everyone is! And what does Colin Powell know about military matters anyway!?

    Kevin M (19357e)

  11. Everyone really needs to read Cooke’s piece, no matter where you fall on Trump. It’s for ever American.

    Dana (5a97fa)

  12. you want to strike a nato ally, because that’s what it would entail, Erdogan’s is a rogue regime, as was explained last year at this time, during the khashoggi matter, it supports hamas, the militias in Libya as well as Syria, so tell me the solution, don’t posture with words,

    narciso (d1f714)

  13. Please somebody tell me that the tweety-bird did not really tweet “I, in my great and unmatched wisdom,”.

    nk (dbc370)

  14. In foreign policy, Trump takes his orders from the Kremlin.

    nk (dbc370)

  15. Heh. I purposely avoided highlighting that in any way in the post, nk, but I’m sure we would all agree: OMG!

    Dana (05f22b)

  16. Make Constantinople Great Again

    mg (8f83ac)

  17. The US (and the West in general) has always been a untrustworthy ally. Just ask the East Germans in 1953, the Hungarians in 1956, the Czechs in 1968, the South Vietnamese in 1975, and the Iraqi marsh Arabs in 1991. All encouraged from the sidelines (except of course, the SVN) to revolt by the West but ultimately betrayed.

    Rip Murdock (7f9b4d)

  18. In my great and unmatched wisdom, I do hereby declare myself a stable genius.

    Thank you for agreeing.

    noel (f22371)

  19. Everyone really needs to read Cooke’s piece

    Cooke was spot on in explaining “Why Trump?” and why so many voters were rejecting the economic status qu (even though he did not favor Trump). Pretty sure he’s worth reading now.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  20. There is always someone at the city council meetings who talks like that. Everyone just does their best not to laugh.

    noel (f22371)

  21. I was once at this council meeting years ago and this guy stands up and says in a very serious tone… “I am Robert XXX, and I am brilliant!”

    Well, I have weak control over my funny bone and it was torture for me. But with Trump, I must say that it’s more scary than funny.

    noel (f22371)

  22. Neo-con artists who were vietnam war draft dodgers and iraq war chicken hawks like mitt romney (he was on a mormon mission to the working girls of paris and the french riveria) can now longer send others to do their fighting for them.

    lany (c257d2)

  23. Heavenly man date! Was that sound Trump’s ears perking up?

    nk (dbc370)

  24. So I assume you’re on board with me when I say that if these troops aren’t headed home, then this is just a political move to assuage Erdogan?

    So what if was done to “assuage” Erdogan? Isn’t he a NATO ally? Shouldn’t we want better relations with Turkey?

    Seriously, you’re constantly making these foreign policy posts and I have no idea what your foreign policy viewpoint is, other than “Orange man bad”. You don’t like Turkey, or Russia or Saudi Arabia or China. And you SEEM to think – correct me if i’m wrong – that Trump should be running around the world insulting them and refusing to deal with them for some reason. Or, in the case of Turkey, Trump should keep troops in Syria’s border zone to somehow foil them. Here’s a question? Did Syria ask us to keep troops there? I don’t think so.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  25. Trump has been trying to get us out of Syria and Afghanistan for 3 years. Every time he makes a move, the DC establishment chimps out and declares we must stay there because of blah..blah. So, he backs off. And this time Trump didn’t. I he’s given the “experts” their chance and they’ve not delivered.

    But isn’t it typical of Mittens. No FP experience. No military experience. In the US Senate for 10 months and he’s telling Trump how to do his job! And of course, “reaching across the aisle”. A pompous Jack-ass indeed.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  26. Trump wants to bring our troops home not send out more to die for the military defense corporations. How about you?

    lany (c257d2)

  27. 9, Dave (1bb933) — 10/7/2019 @ 3:03 pm

    DO NOT AROUSE THE WRATH OF THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ!

    Maybe that will work actually. After all, a very small number of U.S. troops were keeping Erdogan at bay until now.

    But what Trump has done is upset a stability that worked, in favor of an expeperiment. Also, he;s not threatenning ar, but to destroy Turkey’s economy.

    This is probably a hit at Erdogan’s worry about the value of
    his currency, the Turkish lira. He needs U.S. help.

    It’s not tariffs or sanctions.

    https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/04/29/erdogan-is-writing-checks-the-turkish-economy-cant-cash/

    https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-turkey-economy-lira-analysis/with-some-luck-turkish-lira-defies-doubters-for-now-idUSKCN1UW1E9

    But after Trump came away from a meeting with Erdogan in June saying Turkey had been treated unfairly, the Turkish president called Washington’s — and the markets’ — bluff, and Turkey began receiving the S-400s within two weeks.

    Sammy Finkelman (0d0ca8)

  28. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Turkey

    On August 10, 2018, Turkish currency lira nosedived following Trump’s tweet about doubling tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum that day.[33]

    The great and powerful Oz actuall has a point here.

    Sammy Finkelman (0d0ca8)

  29. THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ did not specify whate exactly could cause him to destroy the Turkish economy, but instead said he would when, in his judgment (actual words: great and umatched wsdom) Turkey had done something that he considered to be off limits, because he didn’t Erdogen looking for loopholes.

    Sammy Finkelman (0d0ca8)

  30. Has Trump ever done time in a Turkish prison?

    nk (dbc370)

  31. . You don’t like Turkey, or Russia or Saudi Arabia or China. And you SEEM to think – correct me if i’m wrong – that Trump should be running around the world insulting them and refusing to deal with them for some reason. Or, in the case of Turkey, Trump should keep troops in Syria’s border zone to somehow foil them. Here’s a question? Did Syria ask us to keep troops there? I don’t think so.

    The Kurds asked us. And having an ally that is actually loyal to us because they have no choice is something we should not throw away. Everyone around them is their long term enemy.

    Erdogan, Putin, MBS, Xi deserve a bit of insulting. Keeps them on their toes. We don’t need to rupture any relationships. Just make a point of pointing out that countries who respect human rights get a lot more sympathy and political leeway from the American public and politicians than countries that don’t.

    Kishnevi (7289ba)

  32. Please somebody tell me that the tweety-bird did not really tweet “I, in my great and unmatched wisdom,”.

    The on-air reaction of the MSNBC hostess. I forget which one it was…but she read the tweet aloud. Then paused. Then said “Did he really say “great and unmatched wisdom”?” Then looking up at the camera, said, “Sorry, I was reading that tweet for the first time myself. Did he really say “great and unmatched wisdom”? I can’t believe he actually said that”

    That’s from memory, so I may have gotten the precise words a bit wrong. But it’s one of those moments sure to become a meme.

    Kishnevi (7289ba)

  33. rcocean,

    With regard to this post, did you read this:

    What, exactly, are the parameters by which President Trump is supposed to make his decisions? Congress has not declared war in, or with, Syria, and it has not voted to end a declaration of war in, or with, Syria. It has not made it clear whether it considers that the situation in Syria falls neatly under its previous authorizations of force, or whether it believes that the president is in violation of them. Those who favor a more aggressive foreign policy have not made their case in debate, nor have those who disagree sought in any arena to rebut them. There has been no push for a clarifying statute, no attempt to increase or withdraw funding, and no talk of commendation or impeachment. Instead, those who were elected to make exactly these decisions have, as a class, happily consented to their own impotence. Congress, to borrow a phrase, has become a seraglio of eunuchs, which, terrified of weighing in on matters of life and death, prefers to gripe on TV, to complain on Twitter, and to beseech the executive from the safety of the stump, while doing nothing of any consequence in either direction.

    Why is our policy a mess? Our policy is a mess because we do not have one. Instead, we have an oft-changing emperor who makes it up as he goes along while everyone else gripes. Eight years ago, President Obama involved the United States in removing the government of Libya, without ever going to Congress. He faced no consequences for this in either direction. Why would President Trump expect to rely on the advice or direction of the legislature? Why would anyone?

    As I said in comment #1, this is a complete and total mess. I believe that Cooke puts his finger on the “whys,” as I pointed out in the post. I am not attacking Trump in this post (although by making a comment about his “great and unmatched wisdom” makes him ripe for it), but rather am presenting various sides to the dilemma and decision. That you choose to see it as an attack, saying “Orange man bad” (a phrase which I have never used), then that’s on you.

    You don’t like Turkey, or Russia or Saudi Arabia or China. And you SEEM to think – correct me if i’m wrong – that Trump should be running around the world insulting them and refusing to deal with them for some reason.

    I don’t like authoritarian leaders who oppress their people and commit atrocious acts of abuse against them. I don’t like authoritarian leaders and thugs who squash dissent by an exertion of their unlimited powers.

    Further, I have never said that Trump should be running around the world and insulting said strongmen. I have said, and do believe that Trump should be pushing democracy and condemning human rights abuses. I do believe that he should represent the best of America, and that when faced with heinous abuses against the citizenry, he should remind the world that America is the beacon of light in a dark world. Also, I’ve said, as in the case of his congratulating China on the 70th anniversary of communist rule, that in fact, he shouldn’t have said anythin. at all, but rather remained silent. Remaining silent is always a viable option.

    Anyway, my question was, if Trump is pulling troops out of the region because “it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars… and bring our soldiers home,” then we should be able to expect that these troops will indeed, be coming home, right? I’m concerned that he is saying one thing but will do another. This is based on his own historical record.

    Dana (05f22b)

  34. Why would President Trump expect to rely on the advice or direction of the legislature?

    That isn’t really the central problem here. It’s that Trump won’t take advice from anyone (except Fox News), as Mark Bowden has written in the Atlantic.
    Of course we already knew that Trump thinks he doesn’t need to learn anything from anyone, but the comments that Bowden got from military officers still paint a deeply disturbing picture.

    Whatever problems we had with clarifying foreign policy in the past, they are magnified tenfold when decisions are being made by an ignorant, erratic egomaniac who sounds increasingly insane — and when his defenders continue to insist that all criticism, even from military officers, is part of some evil plot to bring down the Great Swamp Drainer of unparalleled wisdom.

    Radegunda (f8d2aa)

  35. Turkey – for better or worse – is our NATO ally, with 40 (I think) American nukes in residence within their country. We are bound by treaty to defend them, if they are attacked.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  36. This is about keeping Turkey tucked into in NATO.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  37. Turkey is a NATO ally, but beginning to drift; it is in American interest to grease the treads– with Kurds if necessary- and do what can be done keep them in the alliance. Times change and they’re already sniffing around Vlad’s missile package– and basic geography is not in NATO’s favor. A breach in the alliance would be the Russian victory of the decade.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  38. Yesterday, Trump was president.
    Today, in his “great and unmatched wisdom”, he is Oz the Great and Powerful.
    Trump just gave the Democrats a good reason to request the transcript of the call between Trump and Erdogan. Mr. Gulen might want to find a safe house.
    Like I said in the other thread, Trump betrayed the Syrian Kurds, one of our best allies in the Middle East. Aside from Israel, the governance in Rojava is the only place in the Middle East that isn’t a sh*thole, and Erdogan (an ally in name only) is going to destroy that.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  39. That isn’t really the central problem here. It’s that Trump won’t take advice from anyone (except Fox News)

    At one time I would have totally agreed, but the more I think about it, Trump has been increasingly complaining about any number of Fox pundits who have dared to disagree with him. Given that, and given that last night’s decision went against his own military advisers and those with experience in foreign policy and the region, I doubt he is he is taking advice from anyone, really. Likely he is flying by the seat of his pants, or going with his gut absent facts and opinions. As Bowden noted:

    Trump has little interest in the details of policy. He makes up his mind about a thing, and those who disagree with him—even those with manifestly more knowledge and experience—are stupid, or slow, or crazy.

    As a personal quality, this can be trying; in a president, it is dangerous. Trump rejects the careful process of decision making that has long guided commanders in chief. Disdain for process might be the defining trait of his leadership.

    As different as George W. Bush and Barack Obama were in temperament and policy preferences, one general told me, they were remarkably alike in the Situation Room: Both presidents asked hard questions, wanted prevailing views challenged, insisted on a variety of options to consider, and weighed potential outcomes against broader goals. Trump doesn’t do any of that. Despite commanding the most sophisticated intelligence-gathering apparatus in the world, this president prefers to be briefed by Fox News, and then arrives at decisions without input from others.

    The question is, are we at the point where even Fox News is scorned as unnecessary?

    Dana (05f22b)

  40. And let’s not forget that most of the militant Islamists who wanted to come and fight with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria transited through Turkey. Erdogan didn’t lift a finger because he’s a Sunni who doesn’t like Assad the Alawite and his Iranian benefactors.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  41. Government by leak continues
    https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-official-who-heard-call-says-trump-got-rolled-turkey-has-no-spine-1463623
    From this it does appear a small number of US troops will be moved away from Turkish areas of interest, but none are actually leaving Syria.

    Kishnevi (7289ba)

  42. Compared to Ms. Haley, Trump’s wisdom is undermatched and not great.

    We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  43. The real question is: Who would win in a fight, Trump’s Very Good Brain or Trump’s Great and Unmatched Wisdom? Or is that an irresistible force/immovable object sort of quandary?

    But either way, Trump’s sure to bring home our troops from Syria the same way he brought home our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. And from Syria the last time around.

    Jerryskids (702a61)

  44. I suspect that MGAUW was an attempt at Trump to poke fun at himself (or perhaps at the most devoted Trumpniks). But like much else Trump in his great and unmatched incompetence tries to do, it totally failed.

    Kishnevi (7289ba)

  45. I suspect that MGAUW was an attempt at Trump to poke fun at himself (or perhaps at the most devoted Trumpniks).

    The problem with that interpretation is all the evidence that Trump really does vastly overestimate his own intelligence and capability, and that poking fun at himself does not come at all naturally to him.

    Radegunda (f8d2aa)

  46. The problem with that interpretation is all the evidence that Trump really does vastly overestimate his own intelligence and capability, and that poking fun at himself does not come at all naturally to him.

    And what better time to have a little laugh than when condemning thousands of loyal allies to death and threatening to destroy the economy of a key regional partner.

    Dave (1bb933)

  47. There is nothing here that unfettered narcissism cannot explain.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  48. I had forgotten about this:

    Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned last year over Trump’s threat to remove the few thousand U.S. troops in Syria, who not only served as advisors in the fight against ISIS, but as deterrence against Turkish operations east of the Euphrates River.

    Dana (05f22b)

  49. His “great and unmatched” cowardice, he should have said. There is not a major international thug or expansionist authoritarian whose ring, feet, and butt Trump wouldn’t kiss on live television in order to avoid a confrontation that would put him and his frail twelve-year-old girl ego at any risk.

    Of course, Trump would tweet out in advance to boast to the universe about his important Nobel-worthy butt-kissing summit, and how kissing butts is Rule 6 in the Art of the Deal, and how everyone will be thanking him in a hundred years for all the pampered thug-butts that are ruling the world so much more gently thanks to Trump’s tender butt-kissing and cowardly capitulation to tyranny, and his knee-jerk sell-out of every major and minor U.S. ally of the past fifty years because “they weren’t paying enough” and “America was getting a raw deal” from those alliances anyway. And his cult will shout “Hooray for butt-kissing! Trump’s the only man with the courage to kiss our enemies’ butts and spit in our friends’ faces like this! Go America!”

    America was a great idea once. Now it is a great shoeshine boy for every two-bit punk with weapons and a dream of killing some innocents while our age’s last refuge of liberty sinks into a deep, deep sleep.

    Daren Jonescu (2f5857)

  50. You really think you know whats going on do you?

    https://mobile.twitter.com/SifirZaman/status/1181290138544070661

    narciso (d1f714)

  51. There’s more to what Pat Robertson said, and he’s the first conservative evangelical leader (that I’ve seen) to call Trump out.

    “To say he’s an ally of America is nonsense. He’s in for himself,” said the 700 Club host. “The President, who allowed [Jamal] Khashoggi to be cut in pieces without any repercussions whatsoever, is now allowing the Christians and the Kurds to be massacred by the Turks.”

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  52. You really think you know whats going on do you?

    It’s called damage control.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  53. Narciso, you might want to run his Turkish language tweets through Google translate before you start to exult.

    Kishnevi (30d0bc)

  54. There is nothing here that unfettered narcissism cannot explain.

    The sociopathic narcissism and warped sense of reality are so screamingly obvious that I’m constantly amazed that so many don’t see it, or persist in denying it — or even think of Trump as the opposite of what he clearly is.

    Back in the primaries I saw a piece by an “intellectual” saying that Trump’s best quality is his “compassion.” At first I thought it was satire. It had to be! But no – the author was completely in earnest.

    A great many people of above-average intelligence have shown themselves to be dismally poor judges of people. Perhaps some are wising up, but others are digging in and insisting that poor Don is just being unfairly attacked by nasty people.

    Radegunda (1ad3e8)

  55. To be fair, even sociopaths can be unfairly attacked.

    Kishnevi (30d0bc)

  56. David French:

    This decision represents not just a moral betrayal of men and women who fought and bled by our side in the battle against the world’s most powerful jihadist army, it represents a strategic blunder that is likely to cost American lives for years to come.

    What the Kurds did…

    Yes, they’ve enjoyed the indispensable support of American artillery and air power, and small groups of American soldiers have rendered aid and engaged in direct combat as well, but our allies have been going house-to-house and have paid a terrible price. By some estimates, as many as 11,000 Kurds have lost their lives in the fight against ISIS — a staggering death toll borne by a relatively small population.
    The result — from an American perspective — has been one of the most successful military operations in a generation. The ISIS caliphate, which once dominated a nation-state sized region covering much of northern Syria and northern Iraq, is now in ruins. ISIS isn’t entirely defeated, but it’s a shadow of its former strength. And the cost in American lives has been a small fraction of the cost incurred in even a single battle of the Iraq War.

    The repercussions…

    But if the allied bargain with America is that our local allies bleed and then we abandon them to death and military catastrophe when we weary of the alliance, who will ally with us again? Moreover, as we know from recent history, terrorists often thrive not just in chaos but especially in the power vacuums created by unwise American withdrawals. Thus, the Trump administration is creating the worst possible dynamic — it’s undercutting allies at the very same time that it’s creating conditions that may require us to ask for their help again.

    Exactly. Obama thought that, by cutting and running from Iraq, he ended the war, but the enemy gets a vote. And Trump is making the exact same mistake but, in this case, the Kurds truly deserve our protection. Unlike the Iraqi government after our troops left, the Kurds did nothing wrong.
    Trump not only didn’t learn this lesson from recently history, he’s tacitly backing the Turkish dictator who contributed to the growth of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. In that phone call, Trump displayed cowardice, foolishness and stupidity. Unfit.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  57. No ally should ever trust our long-term commitment to their security ever again.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  58. 57 — doesn’t mean that we should therefore stop criticizing him. Nor does it mean we should all be comfortable having a sociopath as president.

    Radegunda (1ad3e8)

  59. I think its really Trump’s anti-immigration policy that is behind this decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

    Trump is against the principle of immigration from anywhere to anywhere.

    The Syrian government is getting close to eliminating the last non government controlled rea in the northwest of Syria. They need a safe zone. Erdogan proposes to create a safe zone where they will (supposedly at least) not be killed, inside Syria. The alternatives are either to leave them to the mercy of the Assad regine or let them go into Turkey.

    The U.S. had been protecting the Kurdish forces. Now Turkey can displace them in a certain portion of the territory they control.

    Sammy Finkelman (0d0ca8)

  60. I have a little conflict of interest, because I have a major, major building in Istanbul.

    Why does Trump say stuff like this? He’s like a guilty kid trying to deflect from some greater truth. I suspect it has something to do with how often his bizarre and sudden foreign policy actions favor the Russians he totally never colluded with.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  61. This reads like a neocon war caucus. You people must have a lot of money invested in selling arms.
    KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL thats the neocon battle cry.

    mg (8f83ac)

  62. Memo to David French: check the NATO membership roll… hmmmm there’s a Turkey listed… been a member of the alliance since 1952– but no “Kurds” or “Kurdistan.”

    When you find the right tool for a job, use it. It is absurd for Americans to keep meddling in the messes over there- the Brits learned this the hard way a century or so ago and the U.S. wouldn’t be in the region at all if it wasn’t for corporate interests and investments influencing policy to protect assets; the factions have been warring in the region, squabbling over the rubble and resources for centuries.

    What the Kurds did wrong is nothing new:

    “You f-cked up. You trusted us.” – Eric Stratton [Tim Matheson] ‘Animal House’ 1978

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  63. Dana, this is a fantastic post and I agree with a lot of it, especially your thesis that we’ve lacked a clear strategy in the middle east. I appreciate you taking the time to lay out the case.

    GWB’s strategy was to set up the region to fight radical Islamic terrorism. As part of that he wanted to establish a democracy in the middle east. But he failed to fully sell his vision, and associated costs in time and money, to the public. He did a good job at staffing the relevant agencies with people that would support his vision.

    Obama took a more collaborative approach, tried to maintain the status quo but with an even lower investment. He destabilized the region from what appeared to be a belief that new regimes would be better than bad existing regimes. Again, if he had a vision he never really sold it, or associated costs to the public. He also did a good job at staffing the appropriate agencies with people that would support his goals but was hampered by legacy hires from the previous administration.

    Trump appears to be an isolationist who again hasn’t really sold his vision and associated costs. It looks like he views the costs purely in immediate monetary terms and hasn’t shown much ability to get secondary strategic objectives while doing what he wants. For instance, in the current draw down I haven’t seen any news about what we’re getting from Turkey by allowing them to invade Syria. Trump doesn’t appear to have been able to build / staff the agencies in support of what he wants. This will likely make his decisions the easiest to pivot from.
    It would be nice to have a president that was able to articulate a clear policy and rally the necessary support around it. GWB came the closest, but either his reach was too far, or didn’t put the needed resources in place.

    Congress hasn’t really filled the gap.

    Time123 (b0628d)

  64. No ally should ever trust our long-term commitment to their security ever again.

    JVW (54fd0b) — 10/7/2019 @ 9:37 pm

    This is one of the biggest costs to Trump’s strategy and tactics. We had some success in the ME by by having proxies such as the Kurds do the ground fighting for us. Going forward it may be substantially harder to build that kind of alliance now that we’ve demonstrated that the US, as a country, doesn’t feel obligated to keep our commitments. In this case, our word and integrity are only as strong as Donald Trumps. Which is embarrassing.

    Time123 (b0628d)

  65. Bush used cynical exploitation instead of coherent explanation. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 but the war was of course sold as a response to that tragedy. Meanwhile the very real Saudi involvement in that attack was never pursued. The results of that disastrous Bush (or more likely, Cheney) strategy are still reverberating.

    JRH (7546c6)

  66. This is so egregious. The Kurds got rid of defenses for this ‘safe zone’ a few weeks ago. This is an ambush that benefits Putin and seems so underhanded. It really damages the concept of allying with the USA in a region where we will be needing help down the road.

    It was really tragic when Obama gave up in Iraq, after all the success we had and could have had, just to cement the narrative that the war was a mistake. This is just as bad in my book.

    It is absurd for Americans to keep meddling in the messes over there

    No it’s not. This isn’t the year 1000. They can hijack planes and get nuclear weapons. It’s so easy to pretend we didn’t try that ‘It’s the economy stupid.’ foreign policy already before 9/11. I wish we could just hold hands with ISIS and not meddle in the Taliban’s affairs, but on some level, we have to keep our nation safe.

    The real problem is that the big picture strategy required presidents in opposite parties to support eachother’s goals.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  67. The Kurds don’t have to be NATO members to real allies, and Turkey is an ally on paper only.
    I’m sure Obama felt the same way about America “meddling in the messes over there” when he cut-and-run from Iraq.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  68. Trump makes “up to $1 million per year” from Trump Towers Istanbul.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  69. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 but the war was of course sold as a response to that tragedy.

    To help prevent the next attack, yes.

    Meanwhile the very real Saudi involvement in that attack was never pursued.

    The Saudi government had nothing to do with the attack. Funding for al Qaeda from within Saudi Arabia (and everywhere else) was aggressively pursued.

    Dave (1bb933)

  70. Trump makes “up to $1 million per year” from Trump Towers Istanbul.

    “If they’re paying him $50K/month $1M/year, they must be getting something in return…”

    By TrumpWorld logic, it’s almost twice as corrupt as Hunter Biden’s $600K/year gig at Burisma!

    Except Trump is an actual serving government official, and Biden was just the relative of one…

    Dave (1bb933)

  71. A pampered poodle like Trump stands no chance against junkyard dogs like Putin and Erdogan (and Xi) who had to claw their way to where they are. Not in a Turkish bazaar and not in the field of battle. That’s what it comes down to.

    nk (dbc370)

  72. No ally should ever trust our long-term commitment to their security ever again.

    JVW (54fd0b) — 10/7/2019 @ 9:37 pm

    Have they ever?

    I echo much of Cooke’s point in his article.

    Also, keep in mind that the thousand troops in that region was simply a “trip wire”, not a fighting force meant to “take on” the full front a Turkish incursion.

    Per Cooke’s article, the biggest issue really isn’t Trump here… it’s Congress abdicating their role here. In fact, for those who appreciate our Constitution, what Trump is doing should be applauded as most Americans do not want us there.

    It’s up to our leadership (POTUS and Congressional), to convince the public that this is the right thing to do and to actually pass congressional acts to support it. These ‘adventurisms’ by previous administration without explicit coordination with Congressional leaders need to stop.

    Yes, Trump may be wrong to do this… and if so, it’s up to him to make that case to Congress to support him. That is a fair criticism. However, absent actual Congressional statutory support, Trump is right to disengage here.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  73. More on Trump’s betrayal:

    Basically the US persuaded the SDF Kurds to dismantle defensive positions that deterred Turkey, promising security guarantees in exchange. Then once the SDF Kurds became defenseless, Trump gave Erdogan the green light to invade. Hard to imagine a more sinister sequence of events.

    Trump act is a betrayal as it helps all the bad actors in the region–Assad, Putin, Erdogan, the Islamic State–and hurts the real victims, the Kurds. It’s not unlike Trump helping bad-actor Putin and undermining our relations with real victim, Ukraine. To me, this also makes Trump a bad actor. He needs to get impeached and removed.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  74. It doesnt stop there (no Tia Tequ…er Michelle Malkin fan I), but nonetheless:
    http://www.yahoo.com/news/fans-furious-trump-mar-lago-090147891.html

    What did you expect from a man who berated Pamela Geller.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  75. Have they ever?

    Western Europe did — even if they didn’t always appreciate us for it — from 1945 through 1990.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  76. This is one of the biggest costs to Trump’s strategy and tactics.

    To be fair, Time123, President Obama also abandoned our allies seemingly upon the same sort of whim. I guess the modern Presidents feel that if you didn’t start the war then you have carte blanche to turn your back on our allies and leave them to fend for themselves.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  77. “To be fair, Time123, President Obama also abandoned our allies seemingly upon the same sort of whim.”

    If you are talking about Iraq, we were specifically asked to leave.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  78. #77 Have they ever?

    Western Europe did — even if they didn’t always appreciate us for it — from 1945 through 1990.

    JVW (54fd0b) — 10/8/2019 @ 11:29 am

    Point for that…

    But, we’ve had numerous other decisions that were suspects… ie:
    -Failure to support the Shah of Iran (thanks Carter!)
    -Leaving Vietnam
    -Ukraine/Crimea situation (can’t say we held up the Budapest Agreement)
    -Various African flare ups…
    -Withdrawing from Iraq

    I’m sure I’m missing others… so, I don’t really blame our allies if they don’t take our word anymore.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  79. #79 “To be fair, Time123, President Obama also abandoned our allies seemingly upon the same sort of whim.”

    If you are talking about Iraq, we were specifically asked to leave.

    Davethulhu (fab944) — 10/8/2019 @ 11:37 am

    True, but that was a political rhetoric that was common at that time. The REAL issue was that Iraq didn’t want to extend SOFA agreement. However, many folks believed that the US could’ve forced the issue and Iraqi government would eventually agree… it’s just that the Obama administration showed no desire to fight for that extension.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  80. *at least I thought it was the SOFA agreement…??? It was the agreement that allowed the US forces to remain in Iraq with certain legal protections.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  81. “it’s just that the Obama administration showed no desire to fight for that extension.”

    The agreement was signed under the Bush administration. Why should Obama put more effort in than Bush? Hindsight is 20/20.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  82. “at least I thought it was the SOFA agreement…???”

    Yeah, the agreement was signed in 2008, and had a hard “everyone out of Iraq” date of 2011.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  83. 83 “it’s just that the Obama administration showed no desire to fight for that extension.”

    The agreement was signed under the Bush administration. Why should Obama put more effort in than Bush? Hindsight is 20/20.

    Davethulhu (fab944) — 10/8/2019 @ 11:58 am

    Dave, it’s about making a good case for withdrawal.

    The Obama administration did not make a good case, and people rightly anticipated the chaos that would ensue, which was the rise of the ISIS Caliphate and Iranian influences.

    That’s on both the Obama administration AND the Iraqi government at that time.

    The Obama administration *HAD* existing Congressional statutory ability to remain in Iraq.

    Fast forward today, Trump doesn’t. His position is much weaker. As a leader, it’s up to him to convince the American people whether or not we should remain there. Even then… Congress has not spoken on what to do in this regard and our system of governance doesn’t grant the POTUS unilateral war powers in perpetuity.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  84. #84 “at least I thought it was the SOFA agreement…???”

    Yeah, the agreement was signed in 2008, and had a hard “everyone out of Iraq” date of 2011.

    Davethulhu (fab944) — 10/8/2019 @ 12:00 pm

    The agreement had a mechanism to extend that withdrawal date.

    Again, there were many folks on the ground and reporting believed it wouldn’t have been difficult to convince the Iraqi government at the time to extend that date.

    whembly (fd57f6)

  85. @77 – 80.#77 Have they ever?

    Western Europe did — even if they didn’t always appreciate us for it — from 1945 through 1990.

    JVW (54fd0b) — 10/8/2019 @ 11:29 am

    Charles de Gaulle certainly didn’t, and I’m not sure anybody else did either. Given how quickly Hitler swept across Europe and the number of troops the Soviet Union had in Eastern Europe compared to the number of troops we had in the West, it doesn’t take much to realize that our “nuclear umbrella” was simply a promise that if the Soviet Union invaded we would nuke Moscow. Did anybody seriously believe we’d trade New York for Paris, Washington, DC for London, Chicago for Rome or Los Angeles for Amsterdam in a nuclear exchange? We certainly hadn’t shown much by “liberating” Eastern Europe from Hitler merely to stand by and allow Stalin to step in – why would Western Europe trust the US? Mainly because they had no choice, they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) pay for their own defense so they sold their populace on the idea that the US would protect them.

    Of course, as per the usual CIA “intelligence”, nobody considered that all those Soviet troops in Eastern Europe were neither a defensive nor a potentially offensive force, they were there as an occupying force necessary to keep the Commie boot on the local neck. Had the Soviet Union actually sent those troops westward, they would have been fighting a two-front war, caught between Western Europe and Easter Europe, inside of an hour. How anybody trusts the CIA after an unending string of intelligence failures from start to finish is beyond me. Have they ever been right about anything?

    Jerryskids (702a61)

  86. =sigh= Nations don’t have allies; they have interests.

    NATO is a prime example.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  87. @77. Yep. Saw it first hand. For example, was genuinely surprised at the outpouring of affection and tributes across Europe when Eisenhower passed. Still, after a generation or two, the locals weren’t all that sad to see a U.S. air base in Britain close or the ‘occupiers’ pack up and withdraw, for the most part, once the two Germanys reunited.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  88. I’m curious as to what end result the folks here see happening if U.S. troops remain in the Syria/Turkey/Kurd area of operations?

    Turkey, a NATO member, will never acquiesce to an independent Kurd nation. However long and hard the Kurds fight for independence, Turkey will never recognize a Kurdish nation.

    And yes, the Kurds (primarily in their own self-interest) assisted the U.S. in reducing ISIS to ineffectiveness. Have we promised more to the Kurds than the arms, etc., that we have already provided them? I.e., have we promised that we would support their efforts toward independence? …against our NATO ally, Turkey?

    Notwithstanding that Turkey has been a long time NATO member, and that the U.S. has a very strategic base there at Incirlik, Erdogan is not our friend (which he revealed quite explicitly as long ago as 2003 when he refused to permit U.S. troops to use Turkey as a jumping-off place for the Iraq invasion.) He plays the U.S. off against Russia et al. (and vice versa) at every turn. Erdogan is all about Erdogan, allies be damned.

    What defines success in this situation, such that folks here would agree that U.S. troops would no longer be necessary? What result would have to be obtained to support the withdrawal of U.S. troops?

    Are we going to go to war against Turkey on behalf of our “allies,” the Kurds? If not, then what, exactly, is our role in that area? If a buffer is needed, then how about a UN-sanctioned peacekeeper action? Isn’t that more a UN role: to protect a besieged ethnic minority? And if the UN is reluctant to undertake such an action, then why should the U.S. do it unilaterally?

    How much more U.S. blood and treasure are we willing to expend on military ventures in a Middle East where countries’ refusal to permit mutual co-existence dominates the landscape?

    ColoComment (27e48b)

  89. Never forget: any breach in the NATO alliance would be the victory of the decade for Putin. From their POV, the Turks are using what leverage they have, as any nation-state would– including the U.S.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  90. 38: Hey! Stop thinking ahead!

    Your betters understand that we should be: (1), insulting large powers for the benefit of small ones; (2), Loaning our troops as tripwires to said small powers; (3), recognizing those tripwires to the “ally” as truly and incontestably advantageous–to us; (4), grasping that temp assistance we provide to anyone, becomes our non-revocable security commitment.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (0c349e)

  91. “Again, there were many folks on the ground and reporting believed it wouldn’t have been difficult to convince the Iraqi government at the time to extend that date.”

    Why didn’t Bush do it?

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  92. 89:

    Yes who can forget the outpouring of shoulder-to-shoulder support for the US on mainland Europe when we wanted to install rockets there, or bomb Ghadaffi. It was OK for the US to have OUR cities exposed, but..

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (0c349e)

  93. Why didn’t Bush do it?
    Davethulhu (fab944) — 10/8/2019 @ 1:20 pm

    I don’t understand your comment, can you clarify your thinking?

    Bush’s 2008 SOFA with Iraq didn’t expire until 2011, two years after Obama took office. Are you faulting Bush & his negotiators for not anticipating that an extension of the SOFA might become necessary? Or that his then-unknown successor (who actually campaigned on ending the Iraq war) might be reluctant to strongly push for extension?

    ColoComment (27e48b)

  94. the Iranians bribed the parliament members,

    narciso (d1f714)

  95. “Again, there were many folks on the ground and reporting believed it wouldn’t have been difficult to convince the Iraqi government at the time to extend that date.”

    Why didn’t Bush do it?

    Davethulhu (fab944) — 10/8/2019 @ 1:20 pm

    Who was president in 2010/11?

    whembly (fd57f6)

  96. that came out in either gates or another’s memoirs,

    https://twitter.com/ShidelerK/status/1181669788357156864

    narciso (d1f714)

  97. If you are talking about Iraq, we were specifically asked to leave.

    Yes, but the Obama Administration turned their backs on Iraqis who had worked with our armed forces and hoped to come to our country to escape the clutches if ISIS. When I say we’ve turned our backs on “allies,” I don’t necessarily mean nation-states so much as I mean various groups and tribes that have aided us in our overseas efforts.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  98. “Who was president in 2010/11?”

    The point is that the default position was “US out of Iraq by 2011″. This position was 1) established by Bush, 2) supported by Iraq, 3) popular with the American public, and 4) a campaign platform for Obama. It was not a matter of “US betrays ally”.

    “the Iranians bribed the parliament members”

    Well gosh, what led to the circumstance of Iran being in a position to bribe Iraqi MPs?

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  99. If you are talking about Iraq, we were specifically asked to leave.

    Obama could’ve and should’ve worked a new agreement, but he wanted to go on the campaign trail and proclaim, “I ended the war in Iraq”. Instead, our complete disengagement gave Maliki license to oppress Sunnis, giving rise to the Islamic State. Just four years after we were gone, the Islamic State took Mosul.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  100. This position was 1) established by Bush

    It was established by Bush after the 2008 election because elections have consequences. Had McCain won, there would’ve been a different deal.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  101. “Obama could’ve and should’ve worked a new agreement”

    We could’ve and should’ve not invaded Iraq to begin with.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  102. We could’ve and should’ve not invaded Iraq to begin with.

    That’s true, but we were where we were in 2010, and Obama gacked on a major decision point in history.

    Paul Montagu (88b43e)

  103. just a wild guess, the british deciding to put the sunnis in the drivers seat, the golden square and the baath that drove the shia out of the professions into the communist party and the da’wa, the anfal campaign of the 80s, and the betrayed marsh arab risings in 91, not to mention actually putting an Iranian stooge in maliki as chief

    narciso (d1f714)

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