The Jury Talks Back

10/7/2019

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

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 2:00 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?

–Dana

1 Comment »

  1. I’ve long feared that the US would knife the Kurds in the back again (Remember Bush Sr. letting Saddam Housein massacre them after they rose up in response to us asking them to?).

    And now, it appears Trump has done it too.

    I would not favor a war to stop Turkey, but I sure as heck don’t support “greenlighting” an invasion of our ally by Turkey, a current dictatorship, as well as being a country with a history of launching genocides.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 10/7/2019 @ 8:14 pm

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