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Westlake Legal Group > Middle East

Pelosi Visits Jordan to Discuss Syria Crisis Amid Shaky Cease-Fire

Westlake Legal Group 20prexy-facebookJumbo Pelosi Visits Jordan to Discuss Syria Crisis Amid Shaky Cease-Fire United States International Relations Turkey Syria Pelosi, Nancy Middle East Jordan Defense and Military Forces Abdullah II, King of Jordan

ISTANBUL — Speaker Nancy Pelosi has traveled to Jordan to met with the Jordanian king for “vital” discussions about the Turkish incursion into Syria and other regional challenges, amid uncertainty about whether an American-brokered cease-fire with Turkey in northern Syria was holding.

The visit by senior United States officials came as sporadic clashes continued on Sunday morning along the Turkish-Syrian border, where, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry, a Turkish soldier was killed by Kurdish fighters in the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad.

Confusion and continued shelling have marred the cease-fire deal announced by Vice President Mike Pence last week, with both Turkey and Kurdish leaders accusing each other of violating the truce.

Ms. Pelosi, a California Democrat, led a nine-member bipartisan congressional delegation to Jordan that included Representatives Adam Schiff, Democrat of California; Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York; and Mac Thornberry, Republican of Texas. The group met with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Saturday evening.

“Our bipartisan delegation is visiting Jordan at a critical time for the security and stability of the region,” Ms. Pelosi’s office said in a statement. “With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey’s incursion, our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia.”

The delegation also discussed issues like “counterterrorism, security cooperation, Middle East peace, economic development and other shared challenges,” the statement said.

A planned visit by Ms. Pelosi to American troops in Afghanistan this year was abruptly scrapped by President Trump in a striking moment of one-upmanship during bitter negotiations over the partial government shutdown that forced thousands of federal employees to work without pay.

As Mr. Trump signaled that he would go ahead with his State of the Union speech in January amid the shutdown, Ms. Pelosi suggested he should cancel or delay it, citing security concerns amid the prolonged shutdown.

Jordan is considered a key ally in the Middle East, and the United States gives the country more than a billion dollars in aid every year. The United States also maintains a military base in southern Syria, close to the Jordanian border.

Mr. Trump’s order for the American retreat from its military positions at the other end of Syria — along the Turkish border with northern Syria — set in motion the latest flash point of the eight-year-old Syrian war.

That withdrawal gave the implicit blessing of the White House to Turkish troops to enter northern Syria 10 days ago, where they since claimed the capture of about 1,800 square miles of Syrian territory, diminished American influence in the region and opened the door for Russia to fill the vacuum.

Turkey wants to force out a Kurdish-led militia that had used the chaos of the Syrian conflict to create an autonomous region outside the influence of the Syrian central government. The Kurdish-led militia, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, had operated under the protection of the United States, since its fighters had partnered with the American military in 2014 to push the Islamic State out of the region.

But Turkey considers the militia a threat to its national security since it is an offshoot of a guerrilla movement that has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. The Turkish government wants its Syrian Arab proxies to establish a new autonomous zone in northern Syria in order to dilute Kurdish influence along its southern border.

On Thursday, Mr. Pence announced a deal with Turkey that gave American assent to Turkey’s plan, in exchange for a five-day cease-fire that would allow Kurdish fighters to retreat safely from the region.

But the cease-fire has yet to fully take hold. Sporadic shelling continued on Saturday night and smoke could be seen billowing near a strategic town, observers on the border said.

The commander of the Kurdish-led forces, Mazloum Abdi, said in interviews with international news media on Saturday that Turkish troops had refused to let his fighters retreat. In response, the Turkish ministry said there were “absolutely no impediments to withdrawal.”

Turkish forces allowed a convoy of medical staff members and aid workers to enter the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain on Saturday and evacuate injured people back to Kurdish-held territory, members of the convoy said.

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Pelosi Visits Jordan to Discuss Syria Crisis Amid Shaky Cease-Fire

Westlake Legal Group 20prexy-facebookJumbo Pelosi Visits Jordan to Discuss Syria Crisis Amid Shaky Cease-Fire United States International Relations Turkey Syria Pelosi, Nancy Middle East Jordan Defense and Military Forces Abdullah II, King of Jordan

ISTANBUL — Speaker Nancy Pelosi has traveled to Jordan to met with the Jordanian king for “vital” discussions about the Turkish incursion into Syria and other regional challenges, amid uncertainty about whether an American-brokered cease-fire with Turkey in northern Syria was holding.

The visit by senior United States officials came as sporadic clashes continued on Sunday morning along the Turkish-Syrian border, where, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry, a Turkish soldier was killed by Kurdish fighters in the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad.

Confusion and continued shelling have marred the cease-fire deal announced by Vice President Mike Pence last week, with both Turkey and Kurdish leaders accusing each other of violating the truce.

Ms. Pelosi, a California Democrat, led a nine-member bipartisan congressional delegation to Jordan that included Representatives Adam Schiff, Democrat of California; Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York; and Mac Thornberry, Republican of Texas. The group met with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Saturday evening.

“Our bipartisan delegation is visiting Jordan at a critical time for the security and stability of the region,” Ms. Pelosi’s office said in a statement. “With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey’s incursion, our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia.”

The delegation also discussed issues like “counterterrorism, security cooperation, Middle East peace, economic development and other shared challenges,” the statement said.

A planned visit by Ms. Pelosi to American troops in Afghanistan this year was abruptly scrapped by President Trump in a striking moment of one-upmanship during bitter negotiations over the partial government shutdown that forced thousands of federal employees to work without pay.

As Mr. Trump signaled that he would go ahead with his State of the Union speech in January amid the shutdown, Ms. Pelosi suggested he should cancel or delay it, citing security concerns amid the prolonged shutdown.

Jordan is considered a key ally in the Middle East, and the United States gives the country more than a billion dollars in aid every year. The United States also maintains a military base in southern Syria, close to the Jordanian border. Though the Jordanian government is involved in discussions about the future of southern Syria, it has relatively little influence over the conflict in northern Syria.

Mr. Trump’s order for the American retreat from its military positions at the other end of Syria — along the Turkish border with northern Syria — set in motion the latest flash point of the eight-year-old Syrian war.

That withdrawal gave the implicit blessing of the White House to Turkish troops to enter northern Syria 10 days ago, where they since claimed the capture of about 1,800 square miles of Syrian territory, diminished American influence in the region and opened the door for Russia to fill the vacuum.

Turkey wants to force out a Kurdish-led militia that had used the chaos of the Syrian conflict to create an autonomous region outside the influence of the Syrian central government. The Kurdish-led militia, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, had operated under the protection of the United States, since its fighters had partnered with the American military in 2014 to push the Islamic State out of the region.

But Turkey considers the militia a threat to its national security since it is an offshoot of a guerrilla movement that has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. The Turkish government wants its Syrian Arab proxies to establish a new autonomous zone in northern Syria in order to dilute Kurdish influence along its southern border.

On Thursday, Mr. Pence announced a deal with Turkey that gave American assent to Turkey’s plan, in exchange for a five-day cease-fire that would allow Kurdish fighters to retreat safely from the region.

But the cease-fire has yet to fully take hold. Sporadic shelling continued on Saturday night and smoke could be seen billowing near a strategic town, observers on the border said.

The commander of the Kurdish-led forces, Mazloum Abdi, said in interviews with international news media on Saturday that Turkish troops had refused to let his fighters retreat. In response, the Turkish ministry said there were “absolutely no impediments to withdrawal.”

Turkish forces allowed a convoy of medical staff members and aid workers to enter the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain on Saturday and evacuate injured people back to Kurdish-held territory, members of the convoy said.

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Harold Finch Comments on a Tale of Two Pictures (Me, too)

Intrepid independent researcher @NameRedacted was suspended multiple times on Twitter for what amounted to hurting the feelings of leftists and challenging their blatant lies. In his final incarnation, he was “Harold Finch,” and after being suspended for the final time has subsequently moved to Telegram where he runs a repository consisting of important factoids, linked articles, and personal commentary available to the masses. He can be found here.

Sometimes his poignant commentary deserves a much wider audience, and San Fran Nan’s staged walkout of the meeting with President Trump the other day provided the impetus for this blast. I will add my own two cents at the end.

Before getting to our commentary, here is the what transpired at the meeting:

President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., heated up their ongoing war of words after a White House meeting on Syria devolved into name-calling and led to Democrats storming out, with both sides accusing the other of a “meltdown.” Pelosi, along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., walked out of the meeting Wednesday afternoon, which had been intended to discuss the administration’s decision to pull troops out of northern Syria. That decision has sparked bipartisan criticism that the decision betrays the Kurds, while giving a boost to ISIS.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham dismissed the [Democrat] reports about the meeting [Cvrk comment: they ran to the press microphones in a staged event after walking out of the meeting to spin it like they always do]:

“The President was measured, factual and decisive, while Speaker Pelosi’s decision to walk out was baffling, but not surprising,” Grisham said. “She had no intention of listening or contributing to an important meeting on national security issues. While democratic leadership chose to storm out and get in front of the cameras to whine, everyone else in the meeting chose to stay in the room and work on behalf of this country.”

Read the rest here. That pretty much says it all, but there are a couple pictures from the event that provide a lot more than simple context, as Harold Finch notes! Without further ado, here is his analysis….

This White House meeting that included hysterics by Nancy Pelosi can really be defined as a tale of two pictures. The first is unhinged Pelosi lecturing the man who writes the letters to the families of the fallen soldiers (the meetings centered on “Turkey and the Kurds”). Check out the first picture here:

Westlake Legal Group First-pic-201x300 Harold Finch Comments on a Tale of Two Pictures (Me, too) Uncategorized Turkey Politics Policy National Security Nancy Pelosi Middle East Liberal Elitism ISIS Front Page Stories Foreign Policy Featured Story donald trump democrats Democrat Lies Abuse of Power

Note carefully that her body language screams out of control, rude, and disrespectful. And Chuck Schumer smirking like a childish teenager watching the mouthy kid run her mouth at the Teacher. This is supposed to be a national security meeting on events in Syria. The Democrats are acting like they are the Commander in Chief berating an officer who is giving them advice they don’t want to hear. They’re drunk on Power. They’re demanding the President start a war with a NATO member and sacrifice our soldiers, all while they refuse to vote to authorize use of force much less vote to declare war on Turkey. That means this cry for war isn’t even a serious one. They don’t believe in it enough to hold a vote. They want President Trump to get into an ugly quagmire that bleeds us white to help them in 2020 election. They don’t care about Kurds. They CERTAINLY don’t care about American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines.

Then there is the second picture which is QUITE a contrast!

Westlake Legal Group Second-pic-203x300 Harold Finch Comments on a Tale of Two Pictures (Me, too) Uncategorized Turkey Politics Policy National Security Nancy Pelosi Middle East Liberal Elitism ISIS Front Page Stories Foreign Policy Featured Story donald trump democrats Democrat Lies Abuse of Power

In this picture, we have the President, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Advisor, the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the House Minority Leader, and others. In this picture, the President’s body language says he rejects her attack and is insulted. You can see it in his face he is insulted. This man writes every letter to families of those Mil families who loved one’s life is lost. He sees their pain up close & face to face. Their lives matter to him. He’s sitting down. He’s not aggressive in posture, but he’s offended.

The Chairman of JCS is looking down ignoring Pelosi. See his shoulder? US Army Special Forces & Ranger Tabs. Chest full of medals. He doesn’t take her seriously. His hands clasped likely praying. This is serious business. Everyone on this side of the table is sober & here for serious business. No laughing. No mocking. No insults. The SECDEF is clearly tense, with hands clasped, lips parsed, and a stern brow. He’s seething mad but determined to hide it.

Here’s the whole picture for comparison purposes:

Westlake Legal Group Third-pic-620x413 Harold Finch Comments on a Tale of Two Pictures (Me, too) Uncategorized Turkey Politics Policy National Security Nancy Pelosi Middle East Liberal Elitism ISIS Front Page Stories Foreign Policy Featured Story donald trump democrats Democrat Lies Abuse of Power

Everyone else on the President’s side of the table, including the House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, is embarrassed by and disgusted with Pelosi, Hoyer and Schumer. It’s clear the three of them never intended for this to be a good faith meeting. This was Pelosi threatening the President and he, his advisers, the Republicans, and the national security staff having none of their childishness. No one accepted the Democrats’ putting politics before America’s national security and the lives of our troops. The only skin in the game that the Democrats have is crass partisan politics; the lives of our troops are merely chess pieces in their quest for political power.

Here is a final picture, showing the President making a measured statement to the lesser-ranking Democrats who remained in the meeting.

Westlake Legal Group Fourth-pic-620x405 Harold Finch Comments on a Tale of Two Pictures (Me, too) Uncategorized Turkey Politics Policy National Security Nancy Pelosi Middle East Liberal Elitism ISIS Front Page Stories Foreign Policy Featured Story donald trump democrats Democrat Lies Abuse of Power

This is the aftermath: when Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Steny Hoyer couldn’t force the Commander in Chief into a bloody quagmire in Syria a year before a presidential election, they threw a temper tantrum and stormed out.

Let me be blunt: the Democrats don’t give a flying f**k about America, our troops, the Kurds, or about YOU whom they are supposedly serving. The *ONLY* thing the Democrats care about is obtaining AND KEEPING political power AT ANY COST.

The moral of this sordid story is, Ddn’t ever let these dangerous people have power. It is CRITICAL to the safety of our nation that we take the House away from Pelosi &and further marginalize Chuck Schumer. You have a choice in 2020, America: a president and Congress who want the wars ended and the troops to come home, or a resident and congress who want endless wars and endless sacrifice of American lives to keep them in power. Choose wisely.

End of Finch’ commentary

A couple of points to add to Finch’s excellent synopsis:

  • San Fran Nan is concerned that pulling out 26 (!) special forces soldiers off the Syria-Turkey border is going to let ISIS back in the game? That’s laughable, particularly after her total silence during the years in which Obama allowed ISIS grow from nothing into a threat!
  • This isn’t the first time that they’ve pulled this stunt (running to a media microphone to spin a contentious meeting with @POTUS). This is what career politicians do; non-politicians and problem-solvers like @POTUS work through differences and deliver the goods!

Finally, here is the most accurate pictorial characterization of that White House meeting. Unbelievably spot on!

Westlake Legal Group Fifth-pic-620x262 Harold Finch Comments on a Tale of Two Pictures (Me, too) Uncategorized Turkey Politics Policy National Security Nancy Pelosi Middle East Liberal Elitism ISIS Front Page Stories Foreign Policy Featured Story donald trump democrats Democrat Lies Abuse of Power

The end.

The post Harold Finch Comments on a Tale of Two Pictures (Me, too) appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-18-at-3.17.37-PM-300x185 Harold Finch Comments on a Tale of Two Pictures (Me, too) Uncategorized Turkey Politics Policy National Security Nancy Pelosi Middle East Liberal Elitism ISIS Front Page Stories Foreign Policy Featured Story donald trump democrats Democrat Lies Abuse of Power   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

CLIMATE SCARE FLASHBACK: Jimmy Carter Predicts We Run Out of Oil By 2011

Westlake Legal Group jimmy-carter CLIMATE SCARE FLASHBACK: Jimmy Carter Predicts We Run Out of Oil By 2011 white house washington D.C. Ted Cruz Social Media progressives President Trump Middle East Liberal Elitism Jimmy Carter Infrastructure Front Page Stories Front Page Foreign Policy Featured Story Entertainment democrats Culture & Faith corruption Conservatives Congress communism Climate scare Climate Campaigns AOC Allow Media Exception Academia Abuse of Power 2019

We still have oil, Jimmy.

Whether it is that we are going to run out of oil or that we should have already been buried underwater, it seems that all of these dire predictions never come true.

I love to go back and find these nuggets and chuckle.

As I wrote last week here at Red State about how Leonard Nimoy from Star Trek fame said another ice age was coming and we were all going to die…

READ CLIMATE FLASHBACK: In 1978 Mr. Spock Told Us Another Ice Age Would Be Here By

The 39th President of the United States, back while he was running for the job in 1976, made a dire prediction about when we were going to run out of oil at a debate with President Ford on September 23, 1976.

Let’s go to the tape…

We need to have, a realization that we’ve got about 35 years left of oil in the whole world, we’re gonna run out of oil.

This statement was not challenged but just accepted by the moderator and the general press. For those who don’t recall — the United States was coming off the early 70’s embargo of oil from the middle east that caused long waits for fuel. That Carter would say this with no back up was just simply a scare tactic.

Much like the people who are saying that today we have 12 or fewer years to live unless we pass some idiotic legislation that is just a massive wealth transfer.

So if you think that some bill signed in Washington D.C. is going to save the climate and your life you need to do some more research on how long this scam has been playing on a rewind loop. A former President of the United States said the world would be out of oil in 2011 and yet here we are in 2019 still bathing in it at really low prices also.

How about that?

 

Check out my other posts here on Red State and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2 

The post CLIMATE SCARE FLASHBACK: Jimmy Carter Predicts We Run Out of Oil By 2011 appeared first on RedState.

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Susan Rice Pushes Fake Syria Propaganda Video to Attack Trump

Westlake Legal Group susan-rice-benghazi Susan Rice Pushes Fake Syria Propaganda Video to Attack Trump Syria Susan Rice Middle East Front Page Stories Front Page Foreign Policy Featured Story Featured Post donald trump Barack Obama Allow Media Exception

There’s been a lot of reaction on both sides of the aisle to what’s going on in Syria.

But the one group that doesn’t have any standing to speak is the former officials of the Obama administration.

While some weighed in attacking President Donald Trump’s actions (as they always do), perhaps the worst reaction was from former National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

Rice retweeted a video from the area and blamed Trump for the death of a child. “WTF?? This blood is on Trump’s hands alone but the shame is shared by all decent Americans,” she said.

First, how horrible it is that we had a national security adviser who has no problem promoting a false propaganda video, as long as she can use it to attack Trump? Either she isn’t very observant, a bad problem for a national security adviser, or she doesn’t care that the child is blinking and moving her head, clearly alive, despite the mother’s claim. Such propaganda videos are not an uncommon thing, but she shouldn’t be pushing it and hurting American interests because she wants to attack Trump.

Second, the Obama administration actions in Iraq and Syria allowed for the rise of ISIS by their failure to address it early when they could have, despite warnings. Thousands died as a result including Americans. The Obama administration set multiple red lines with Bashar Assad in Syria in regard to chemical attacks on the Syrian people and Obama didn’t follow up on any of them. Thousands more were killed while we were embarrassed before the world. Democrats have been more upset in the last few days than they have over those hundreds of thousands being killed during the Obama administration.

Third, isn’t this the same Susan Rice who participated in the Benghazi scandal? Who went on the Sunday shows to falsely claim that the attack on our mission there was all because of a video? This isn’t the first time she’s pushed falsehoods about a video. Wasn’t she part of the same administration that didn’t provide adequate protection for our people there, despite a prior attack on the mission and despite threats to the Ambassador himself? Wasn’t she part of the same administration who left people to die there when they were desperately calling for help, as they fought back for hours without aid?

Fourth, isn’t this the same Susan Rice who was caught unmasking Trump aides and then lying about it, again on television? Remember that scandal from the administration that claims it had no scandals?

Take several seats, Susan Rice.

The post Susan Rice Pushes Fake Syria Propaganda Video to Attack Trump appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group susan-rice-benghazi-300x160 Susan Rice Pushes Fake Syria Propaganda Video to Attack Trump Syria Susan Rice Middle East Front Page Stories Front Page Foreign Policy Featured Story Featured Post donald trump Barack Obama Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Alicia Kearns: Ten actions we can and should take to help the Kurds

Alicia Kearns is an expert in counter-terrorism, and formerly worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She was the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Mitcham and Morden in 2017.

Amidst the anger about the Erdogan-Assad offensive in North East Syria, there has been very little discussion about what the UK can and should do to support the Kurds.

Sixty thousand Kurdish people took up arms to fight Daesh, and at least 11,000 of them paid for our safety with their lives. We would not have secured victory without them. They liberated tens of thousands of square miles from Manbij to Raqqa and Baghouz, freeing millions of people from Daesh occupation. They fought street by street to save Christians, Yazidis and Arabs and give them refuge.

The offensive is not a response to a threat faced by Turkey. It is an attempt to eradicate the Kurdish people, who are trapped by the ambitions of two countries that are ruthless in their desire to gain territory, and will crush anyone who opposes them. This action will benefit Daesh and undermine efforts to stabilise Iraq and Syria.

Decision-making is in the hands of those on the ground, and the UK’s role is limited, as we will not and cannot put our own people into this theatre, but we must do what we can. Here are a few steps we could take.

  • Call for an immediate ceasefire

While it is unlikely that Turkey and Syria will respect such a call, we must exert all possible pressure. A no-fly zone is unlikely to work, as it would need to be policed by Coalition forces, of which Turkey is a member. The next question is whether Russian airplanes would be deployed. A ceasefire is the most practical option, although one is unlikely to be agreed in the immediate future.

  • Minimise civilian casualties

The UK and our partners urgently need to secure agreements from Turkey to protect civilian life. Displacement has begun, with communities fleeing their villages and reports of civilian deaths caused by indiscriminate bombing. This area is home to two to three million people who have already suffered enough. Turkey has simultaneously launched this offensive and tightened its borders to prevent refugees from fleeing to what has been their only safe destination. Civilians are trapped with no escape, which is why, if we cannot secure a ceasefire, the parameters of Turkey’s offensive must be agreed quickly, and humanitarian access provided

  • Limit the offensive’s parameters

Turkey must commit to strike only internationally agreed and intelligence-based ‘military’ targets. Erdogan uses the terms ‘militants’, ‘terror corridor’ and ‘militia’ – vague words which give him maximum freedom to operate. Whilst the Partiya Karkeren Kurdistani (PKK) is proscribed by the UK and the US, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) must also be declared a non-targets. Beyond this, we should push Turkey to declare a time-bound offensive.

  • Join International Punitive Actions against Turkey

If Turkey will not agree to recognise the SDF as friendly forces, and targets them, we should support sanctions and other activities against it that could help save our allies, the SDF, and civilians across north east Syria.

  • Flex our diplomatic muscle

The UK should provide a voice for the Kurdish people at NATO, the UN, and in diplomatic discussions. I welcome the news that the UK and France have called for a Security Council meeting but, over the last few years, the UN has shown itself to be ineffective in addressing conflict, particularly in the Middle East. We should deploy our diplomatic network to advocate for the Kurds. I hope, since that this incursion was long-anticipated, that the Foreign Office has already developed plans to support the Kurdish people.

  • Review our posture on Turkey

There was no imminent threat to Turkey from Kurds in north eastern Syria. We want it to be a productive partner, to improve relations with it and to keep it turned westwards. But this cannot be done at any cost, and certainly not by overlooking offensives like this. Turkey has a right to protect itself, but this action was not precipitated by any threat. Erdogan has long had ambitions to extend his territory into Syria. Turkey must respect international rules. This is not what we are seeing in Syria, nor in other actions by Turkey, such as threatening Greece. We must now consider how we can help create an exit strategy for Turkey before it has even more tragic consequences.

We must also recognise that Russia is an important player, and that its continued support for the Assad regime and overtures to Turkey have emboldened Erdogan. Russia’s stated strategic objectives include creating division amongst NATO partners: we must not assist them with this aim.

  • Take a position on the Kurdish people

For too long, we have avoided having a meaningful foreign policy about the Kurdish people. We should commit to a supportive position and be open about it. We have long been friends to them. If you go to Kurdistan in Iraq you will hear many Kurds speaking perfect English with South London accents, from their time living in the UK as refugees from the longstanding persecution they have faced and the Anfal genocide.

  • Prevent the forcible return of refugees to north east Syria

Turkey has been generous in hosting refugees. Now we must prevent Turkey from forcibly returning three million Syrian refugees to North East Syria during or after this offensive. It is not safe for refugees to return to Syria, as they will face persecution from the Assad regime. Nor is it right to forcibly move refugees to an area from which they do not emanate or to forcibly change the ethnic make-up of an area.

  • Focus on the threat

Daesh has been defeated, but it still exists as an ideology that can and will recruit followers. It still operates as an insurgent force on the borders between Iraq and Syria. The SDF are holding around 2,000 foreign terrorist fighters, 9,000 Syrian and Iraqi Daesh fighters, and tens of thousands of Daesh family members in camps and prisons. The prisons are under great pressure. There have been violent attacks within them, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Daesh’s Caliph) has called for supporters to organise prison breaks.

Turkey took advantage of US withdrawal, and now Daesh will exploit the compromised position of the Kurds. How do we expect the Kurds to maintain the security of prisons while under air attack from Turkey? The UK should use its significant influence in the Coalition to lead discussions amongst its 80 plus members on how to stop this offensive, which is undermining its work to defeat violent extremists in the region over the last few years.

  • Criticise Withdrawal

A friendship is strong when one can disagree respectfully with an ally’s decision. This offensive began just days after Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of troops. This decision gave the green light to Erdogan and Assad to begin their action.

Whilst we all understand the reasons for moving troops out, a lesson from history in the Middle East is that withdrawal at the wrong time can be catastrophic. This decision throws into jeopardy the likelihood of any future forces trusting the US and, potentially, others. Turkey grasped its opportunity, and our allies, whom we committed to protect, will pay the price.

– – –

The vulnerability of the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Kurdish people is not new. We must stand by our allies and friends: words are not enough. As Conservatives we believe in self-determination, fairness, loyalty, and decency. If we desert the Kurds now, we cease to be that of which we are so proud.

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News Summary from the Week that Was (6 – 12 October)

As usual, these stories don’t fit the media’s “Republicans bad, Democrats good” narrative. I am doing longer quotes of fewer articles this week, as I am overseas for most of this month. Let’s get started.

1. Well, lookie here! Despite the endlessly-repeated Democrat/media narrative to the contrary, I guess Ukraine just isn’t only about the Bidens after all.

Given all the focus on nefarious Russia, you could be forgiven for missing the fact that Ukraine was always at the center of the Trump-Russia affair. Viewed in this light, the Trump-Ukraine quid pro quo bribery narrative must compete with another explanation: Trump’s determination to get to the bottom of an underhanded years-long campaign arrayed against him. One of the first things he did after the Mueller report debunked the collusion narrative was to call the Ukranian president and ask him to help do just that.

The impeachment battle is not just about congressional probes and alleged presidential strong-arming, but about the Russiagate narrative. Anti-Trump forces in the government and media are working to vindicate their previous efforts and discredit a forthcoming Justice Department inquiry into the origins of Russiagate by again connecting Trump and a foreign power to a U.S. election. Although the details are different – no mention this time of hookers and golden showers – the whistleblower’s central claim closely resembles the thesis laid out in the anti-Trump dossier compiled by the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, which the FBI used as its roadmap to collusion: That Trump took or solicited dirt on his Democratic opponent from a foreign power in exchange for favors to that country’s government.

 Once again, much of the media seem to be treating every allegation against Trump as probable fact, while dismissing any questions and concerns as conspiracy theories. The Ukraine story starts no later than March 2016, when Democratic Party operative and Ukrainian-American activist Alexandra Chalupa approached the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington for information on the Trump campaign. Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington told [John] Solomon that Chalupa wanted to approach a member of Congress to initiate hearings on Manafort or arrange
Westlake Legal Group TruthImage2-620x333 News Summary from the Week that Was (6 – 12 October) whistleblower Ukrainian collusion in 2016 election Ukraine President Trump News Middle East Hillary Clinton Front Page Stories Featured Story environmental extremism donald trump democrats Culture Corrupt Democrats Constitution Climate bill barr biden American culture Abuse of Power
for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to comment on Manafort’s alleged Kremlin ties. Keep that in mind when Democrats and their media allies routinely suggest it is treasonous to seek foreign aid during an election. In a three-day period at the end of April 2016, for instance, Slate, the Washington Post and Guardian all published articles alleging that Manafort’s work for Yanukovych showed the Trump team was close to Russia.

This is another reminder of the double-standard that has driven so much media coverage: the eagerness to buy Clinton’s spin on Manafort and then connect Trump to it all while dismissing Biden’s clear conflicts. In driving the whistleblower chapter of the Russiagate operation, Schiff reprised the part he played in its earlier chapters. For nearly two years the California congressman filled the media with claims there was more than circumstantial evidence of collusion that would bring down the president.

 [T]he subject matter, Trump’s “promise” to a foreign official, was leaked for a Sept. 18 Washington Post story including the bylines of Greg Miller and Ellen Nakashima, two of the reporters who in February 2017 received a seminal leak in the Trump-Russia case, regarding a conversation between Trump’s erstwhile national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The same political operatives and journalists appear throughout the anti-Trump operation, as do the same themes and even the same language.

It was logical that Trump, and millions of other Americans, wanted to know the origins of the Russia probe and that the investigative work would be taken up by the Department of Justice. Since DoJ and FBI officials at the highest levels were implicated, it was natural that the attorney general himself would have a hand in the investigation. Thus, the panicked clamor coursing through the press at present is not about Joe Biden or his son or Trump’s alleged commerce with foreign powers. Rather, it is the fear that the Russiagate bubble is likely to burst. And the fear that none of the reporters, intelligence officials, and political operatives responsible for pushing the largest and most destructive conspiracy theory in American history will escape the ruin.

Read the rest of this great article here. It’s about protecting the seditious conspiracy, folks, and the Democrats will do anything to prevent that coming to light.

2. Let’s look at the decision to get out of Syria. It’s not the way the globalists are spinning it. Here’s some far better analysis to consider:

So which is it: is the President endangering the United States and our allies by pulling out of Syria? Betraying our allies, the Kurds? Or is he defending America’s national interest?  I have spent a lot of time with the Kurds on the ground, especially in northern Iraq, along the Iranian border. I have also met with Kurdish peshmerga generals in Iraq, as well as the overall Iraqi commander, in charge of the fight against ISIS in Mosul. That battle is over. And contrary to how MSNBC has been misquoting Sen. Lindsay Graham all day, the United States has indeed utterly defeated the ISIS caliphate.

[Trump] looks at the administration of George W. Bush and the war with Iraq, and sees the hand of deep state agents there as well. And guess what? He’s right. I wrote a book about that in 2007.  It’s called Shadow Warriors, [detailing] how a cabal of Bush-hating, pro-Democrat State Department weenies and intelligence community weasels conspired to feed false intelligence on Iraqi WMD to the Bush White House, and then blasted Bush 43 for waging a “war for oil.”

The President also argues that the Middle East wars the deep state wants us to fight are primarily tribal in nature. He’s right there as well, up to a point. Turkey will continue to whack the Kurds for as long as one Kurd remains breathing who demands his freedom and ethnic identity. The Iranians will continue to wage war against the Saudis until they have toppled the Saudi monarchy, a prospect that is becoming increasingly likely.

[I]n the World According to Trump, America wins when we have a powerful military, sitting at home, rested and well-armed, ready to fight if we ever face a serious national security challenge. Think of this: today, the U.S. Navy is defending our interests overseas with just two aircraft carrier groups: the USS Abraham Lincoln, which is prowling the seas off Oman and Iran, and the USS Ronald Reagan, patrolling the South China Sea. The five other active-duty carriers are currently sitting in their home ports so their crews can prepare for future operations. Another four are in dry dock getting refurbished, and two more are under construction. I don’t know of any other period in recent history when our military has done so much to defend our national interests with so few forces deployed around the world. And that is the world according to Trump.

Read the rest here. Bottom line: it makes perfect sense to pull out of Syria, and President Trump’s instincts in that regard are correct.

3. Our cultural institutions are kowtowing to China.

America’s elite institutions are catering to communist China. The NBA provided the latest example Sunday night, when league commissioner Adam Silver apologized for Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Rockets star James Harden followed suit and apologized to China for Morey’s tweets. China Daily, the communist government’s propaganda arm, used the NBA’s conciliatory reaction to warn other companies to learn “a lesson: The big Chinese market is open to the world, but those who challenge China’s core interests and hurt Chinese people’s feelings cannot make any profit from it.”

The NBA isn’t alone in bowing to communist China. American universities have allowed the Chinese government to fund centers called Confucius Institutes that provide the communist regime with avenues to infuse pro-China propaganda into American academia. Eighty-nine Confucius Institutes were operating in the U.S. as of September 2019, according to the National Association of Scholars. Hollywood has self-censored for years in order to ensure access to the Chinese market.  The U.S. government published a report in 2015 detailing how filmmakers tailor their messaging to appease Chinese audiences and—more importantly—Chinese government censors.

Read the rest here. Follow the money, folks, follow the money; it explains EVERYTHING with respect to China. The sad part about it is that the US trade deficit with China is a large source of the money that our cultural institutions are chasing – and for which they’re selling their souls.

4, The Left are evil, and this article proves it:

“Save the Planet, Eat the Children,” reads a T-shirt at a congresswoman’s townhall. Meanwhile, a teenager skipping school and in obvious emotional distress makes the Nobel Peace Prize shortlist for berating world leaders about a supposedly looming mass extinction. The most privileged generation in human history — enjoying the longest, healthiest, wealthiest, and most comfortable lives men and women have ever lived — thinks the world is collapsing around us.

By nearly every measurement, from child mortality and life expectancy to poverty and education, quality of life around the globe is better than it’s ever been. In much of the world, subsistence living is a thing of the past and humanity is flourishing — especially those with ready access to electricity. The Industrial Revolution, when an unprecedented boom of technological innovation transformed agrarian America into the nation we know today, wasn’t just a time of economic change and scientific progress. It propelled humanity to the most prosperous time in our history.

For all the environmentalist movement’s hand-wringing, you’d think our extinction was scheduled to commence tomorrow. But despite the wildly popular and equally wildly misinterpreted trope that all scientists agree the world is ending, there is no concrete evidence right now to suggest climate change will be anything but mild and manageable, or that we won’t be able to handle it. Humans are becoming more resilient to mild changes in average temperature. Migration trends show Americans are readily moving to warmer states. Even more crucially, deaths due to climate-related natural disasters have declined by a providential 98.9%. That is thanks to our modern-day technology, which allows meteorologists to more accurately predict storm patterns and near-instant communication keeping the public better informed and prepared. It’s the reason the Great Galveston Storm of 1900 claimed more 8,000 lives, but a recent storm of similar magnitude on the Texas coast — Hurricane Harvey — killed just 68. We can and should work to improve disaster readiness, but we should do so without the fear-mongering.

Yet climate change hysteria is plaguing an entire generation with a crippling fear of the future. Not only is foisting this burden on today’s children and young adults unhealthy— it’s simply unfair to limit the younger generation’s potential to contribute to the innovations that will drive the future. Young leaders should be empowered to pursue their passions and encouraged to experiment with new solutions, just as the greatest innovators of the past have done.

Read the rest here. The Left’s use of children to advance their political agenda here is simply child abuse. What does that say about their parents?

5. This article is absolutely correct that it’s scary! There are SO many active and retired military with whom this resonates completely.

Donald Trump came into office promising to not start any new wars and to get us out of the old ones our feckless elite had dragged us into, and now that he’s doing it in Syria the usual suspects are outraged. How dare he actually deliver on his promise not to have any more of our precious warriors shipped home in boxes after getting killed on battlefields we can’t even pronounce, while refereeing conflicts that began long before America was a thing, in campaigns without any kind of coherent objective?

Conservatives like me still think of ourselves as hawks, but after hard experience we have learned to be hawkish only where America’s interests are directly at stake. We’re not doves. We’re just not going to spill our troops’ blood when we do not absolutely have to. The elite may not like our attitude, but then it’s generally not the elite that ends up having to bury its sons, daughters, husbands and wives. We do. We have our own national interests to protect. The threat to America is not Turks imposing a security zone a few miles inside Syria. It’s China pumping out a couple warships a month and deploying new carrier-killing missiles using tech they steal from us under the noses of our politically preoccupied FBI and CIA.

If the president’s critics in Congress really want to be tough guys, let them pass a declaration of war and let them sign their names to the butcher’s bill instead of trying to get Trump to walk out to the end of the branch so they can saw it off. Let’s be clear – and I need to be crystal clear because the gung ho gang’s MO is to mischaracterize its opponents’ views to distract from the strategic bankruptcy of its own – that fighting for the Kurds would not be immoral. It’s a good cause, but we can’t intervene every time there’s a good cause. Iraq was a good cause, and a disaster. I’d come back on active duty, if the Army was that desperate, and serve there proudly. Our troops will do everything we ask of them and more. They will lay down their lives for this cause if we send them.

And that’s the point. How many dead Americans is it worth to stop the Turks and Kurds from brawling? I, and our president, say, “Exactly none.” Those who disagree owe us all an exact number of their own.

Read the rest here. The bottom line? President Trump is right yet again; he ALWAYS has Americans’ best interests in mind and is continuing to clean up the messes of prior administrations (especially Obama’s!). And he really brought home the human impact of foreign wars on an individual level during his Minneapolis rally, didn’t he?

6. Here’s how we got into the current IC “whistleblower” predicament – yet another offense to be laid directly at the foot of Obama, as it turns out! This is a phenomenal must-read article:

A whistleblower exposes structural waste, mismanagement and abuse within the civil service, among government contractors and in varied ways within the private sector. This is meant to protect employees who blow the whistle on misbehavior, not to serve as cover for assorted political agendas. In the Trump era, whistleblowing and partisan leaks to the media have been conflated by the media. Partisan government workers, some openly aligning with the “resistance” and participating in partisan groups within government agencies, have sought to undermine administration policies through leaks. These leaks were in turn meant to generate congressional investigations of cabinet officials. The impeachment effort against President Trump takes that ongoing tactic to the ultimate extreme.

The politicization of the civil service is a deeply troubling phenomenon. Efforts by members of the civil service to undermine elected officials is a threat to our entire system of representative government. This problem goes beyond the ‘Deep State’ and has shown up in a wide variety of government agencies. But its appearance in national security agencies is deeply troubling because these agencies have the infrastructure to act as a police state. The existence of national security agencies in a free country is contingent on their subservience to elected officials. Anything else isn’t whistleblowing, it’s a coup.

Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive 19 opened the door by expanding whistleblowing protection to members of the “intelligence community” and other personnel handling classified information. But PPD19 was never really meant to help the likes of Manning and Snowden. Instead it was part of a larger pattern of politicizing national security organizations that led directly to the current crisis. Both the Russians and the Democrats understood that whistleblowers were a strategic vulnerability. Whistleblowers were seen as sympathetic underdogs who were trying to do the right thing. That was the perfect camouflage for an enemy agent or the agent of a police state. Astroturfing, the practice of manufacturing grass roots efforts and building causes around individual protesters, like Greta Thunberg or David Hogg, had moved into the national security infrastructure before going off like a bomb.

The real purpose of PPD19 was to aid Obama loyalists is undermining a Romney administration. The Obama administration would not have been too worried about Romney reversing its social policies. But Romney had run sharply against Obama on national security.  And Obama’s cronies knew that there would be significant foreign policy differences there. PPD19 may have been their answer. Romney lost. PPD19 remained obscure.

By the time Trump won, the weaponization of the national security infrastructure in national politics was complete with national security organs spying on Trump associates, investigating his campaign, entrapping his associates, leaking his phone calls, and now setting the stage for impeachment. Whistleblowing protections are meant to protect government employees in the civil service from retaliation by their supervisors in the civil service when they report waste or abuse. They are not meant to allow an anonymous government employee to assist in a partisan campaign to remove the President of the United States as part of a ploy orchestrated by the opposition party. That is a breathtaking abuse that will damage whistleblower protections indefinitely. The Obama administration and its allies have tried to turn government agencies into bear traps, seeking to retain control of policymaking a network of lefty loyalists in agencies and activist judges in the courts, and, beyond that, to force out Trump appointees and to even force out President Trump.

At the heart of this crisis is the conflict between representative government and the infrastructure of government, between the will of the voters and the will of D.C., between the taxpayers and officials, that is the breaking point of any free country. Some countries lose their freedom through violent revolutions. Others ossify into an oligarchy of government officials and elites who call all the shots.

Read the rest here. More of the time bombs left by the miserable Obama to defuse at what cost to the country! His goal was always to destroy the US in all ways, and this whistleblower business undermines the people’s faith in their government just as he planned. That people still think highly of him and his administration is appalling.

7. This one is great! US Attorney John Durham’s investigation has been expanded due to the evidence collected so far.

John Durham, the U.S. attorney reviewing the origins of the 2016 counterintelligence investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign, is probing a wider timeline than previously known, according to multiple senior administration officials. [B]ased on what he has been finding, Durham has expanded his investigation adding agents and resources, the senior administration officials said. The timeline has grown from the beginning of the probe through the election and now has included a post-election timeline through the spring of 2017, up to when Robert Mueller was named special counsel.

Attorney General Bill Barr and Durham traveled to Italy recently to talk to law enforcement officials there about the probe and have also had conversations with officials in the U.K. and Australia about the investigation, according to multiple sources familiar with the meetings. Democrats increasingly have targeted Barr. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said … that Barr has “gone rogue,” alleging an attempted “cover-up” of the whistleblower complaint that has led to a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

Read the rest here. This is excellent! You know that US Attorney Durham is “over the target” when Democrats like San Fran Nan concoct excuses to go after AG Barr and are trying to spin the investigation into something that is entirely politically motivated. Weren’t they the ones supposedly the most concerned about “foreign influence in US elections”?

8. And we’ll finish up this week’s summary with this item that continues the unraveling of the Democrats’ Ukraine hit-job against POTUS:

The intel community inspector general testified Friday to congressional investigators that the so-called “whistleblower” who mischaracterized President Trump’s call with the leader of Ukraine had a previous “professional relationship” with a 2020 Democrat candidate. “The IG said [the whistleblower] worked or had some type of professional relationship with one of the Democratic candidates,” one person with knowledge of inspector general Michael Atkinson’s testimony told the Examiner’s Byron York.

In another conversation with York, a second source revealed: “What [Atkinson] said was that the whistleblower self-disclosed that he was a registered Democrat and that he had a prior working relationship with a current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.”

Read the rest here. Every day there’s something new that chips away at the Democrats’ Ukraine narrative. There are a bunch of them who have some really tight sphincters now, especially those complicit in Crowdstrike and Burisma Holdings shenanigans.

Honorable mentions for this week include:

Here is the short summary of this week’s news items:

  • Ukraine isn’t about the Bidens’ corruption per se; it’s about corruption in general, as well as Democrat collusion with a foreign power during the 2016 election cycle.
  • POTUS made a deal with Turkey to pull the US out of northern Syria, and the usual suspects are unhinged about it.
  • American institutions continue to kowtow to the ChiComs. It’s all about the money!
  • The Left’s use of children to further their climate alarmist hoax(es) is criminal.
  • Kurt Schlichter provides the perfect rationale for getting out of northern Syria.
  • How we got into the current whistleblower kerfuffle is explained by Daniel Greenfield – yet another disaster laid at the feet of the Obama regime.
  • US Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the counter-intel investigation of the Trump campaign has been expanded into the spring of 2017 timeframe due to evidence collected to date.
  • Lastly, we learned that the Ukraine “whistleblower” (better known as a leaker) had a “professional relationship” (i.e., was in a paid position) with a 2020 Democrat presidential candidate!

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting the impression that we’re really close to the dam breaking on investigations and indictments of major cabal figures. The legacy media and Democrats are making insane comments, and their violent arm (Antifa) were acting up again – this time in Minneapolis. The Barr/Durham investigation into the origins of the 2016 counter-intel investigation is flushing out the rats. Blowing the lid off Crowdstrike and Ukraine will destroy the Democrats (and some Uniparty Republicans, as well). Also note the apoplectic response of Uniparty figures to POTUS’s decision to withdraw from Turkey. No more gravy train of “nation-building” and arms-trading corruption for them! And how about Shifty’s unforced error in which he claimed the Ukraine “whistleblower” was receiving death threats (pretty difficult for an anonymous guy to get a death threat!). And it now appears that the Ukraine leaker/”whistleblower” was linked to Joe Biden.

There’s a lot more coming in the weeks ahead, especially the Barr/Durham investigation report and the DoJ OIG report on FISA abuse. And DECLAS is the trump card (pun intended). Stay tuned….

The end.

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Lindsey Graham Talks Turkey (Interview With Kilmeade)

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Lindsey Graham by Gage Skidmore, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

This morning, Brian Kilmeade aired an interview he did with Lindsey Graham while he was in South Carolina yesterday. They covered both the recent developments regarding Syria and Turkey and the ongoing impeachment imbroglio.

Graham reiterated points he made earlier in the week, as covered by my colleague, Brandon Morse, including his threat/promise to sanction Turkey heavily if it continues to invade Syria:

GRAHAM: I’m more concerned than ever. The Kurds were talking to Assad because they’ve got no other place to go. Turkey said today, we’re not going to take over the ISIS prisoner camps except in the areas that we occupy. Our Kurdish allies are being killed by Turkey as I speak.

….

What we’re doing to the Kurds is dishonorable and it’s dangerous for us because if Turkey keeps coming into Syria and going after the Kurdish fighters who fought with us to defeat ISIS, then ISIS will break out in Iran and Assad will be the biggest winner.

I talked with the president. I hope he’ll change course. I’ve got sanctions against Turkey that I will introduce next Tuesday. These are sanctions from hell. I’m going to break Erdogan’s economy and cut off all aid to the military. And it really pisses me off, Brian, that F-16s designed in — by the Americans are being used to bomb the Kurds by Turkey. (emphasis added)

These comments are more in line with the comments he’s been making publicly since the President announced Sunday his intention to pull out troops. As noted by fellow RedStater Bonchie last evening, Graham’s comments to Russian pranksters posing as the Turkish Defense Minister held a slightly different tone. Still, they’re not wholly inconsistent. I’d characterize them as…carefully nuanced. In fact, in the interview with Kilmeade, Graham acknowledged the thorny situation involving the YPG Kurds and Turkey:

GRAHAM: OK, so what I said three years ago, the YPG Kurds are the cousins of the PKK. They’re a terrorist group inside of Turkey. The PKK is seen as a terrorist group by the United States. The YPG is a Syrian offshoot of that group. They were the only ones that would fight with us — a few Arabs — to destroy ISIS, so we had to make an alliance with the Kurds because nobody else would help us.

We owe it to them to not abandon them, but we owe to them to not abandon them, but we owe it to Turkey to keep this group they consider to be terrorists away from the Turkish border. That’s what the safe zone was about. It was working until President Trump gave in to a threat by Erdogan.

Graham elaborated on the “fix” he would recommend:

KILMEADE: — is there a fix?

GRAHAM: Yes, yes. Here’s the fix. Join my effort to sanction Turkey for their incursion into Syria. We’re hitting their energy sector. We’re going to cut off all military aid. We’re going to hit their economy and really cripple Erdogan. If you join in with the congressional effort to sanction Turkey, he will get out because we’ll break his economy. And the sanctions stay in place as long as Turkey is in Syria.

Number two, you should send some soldiers in to make sure that these ISIS prison camps, that they don’t break out.

KILMEADE: Right now. Right now.

GRAHAM: Right now. Mr. President, while you have a chance, there are about 12,000 ISIS fighters who are going to break out if you don’t do something. So what I would do is tell Erdogan we’re going to send in, you know, whatever number you need — talk to General Keane — to secure these prison camps. And if you come anywhere near us, we will blow you out of the sky and blow you up.

Now, if he did that, we could reset. And how does this end? Have a safe zone between Turkey, because they feel threatened by the Kurds. We can tell Turkey we’ll keep the YPG Kurds away from the Turkish border, we’ll have American, Turkish, and international forces patrolling this safe zone, we can watch ISIS together, and we can put Syria back together again, get a peace deal in Geneva.

Graham notes that he’s spoken to President Trump directly on the issue. Clearly, he’s hoping to nudge the President via his public comments, as well. Will it work?

I’ve seen sound arguments on both sides of the issue. Mike Ford, for instance, has written a compelling series of articles on the topic right here this week. I know that Graham generally is considered a hawk (and rightly so) and has interventionist instincts that diverge from Trump’s. His proposed “fix” makes a lot of sense to me, however. What do you think?

Watch the video of the full interview here:

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In The Midst Of Criticism Over China Policy, Trump Administration Comes Out Swinging Over Treatment Of Uighur Muslims

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Against the backdrop of criticism over China policy involving everything from trade to social media diplomacy, the Trump administration via The State Department announced Tuesday the imposition of travel visa bans on Chinese government and Communist officials for what State considers human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang providence.

On a call with reporters, State Department officials noted that the move was part of a broader effort by the administration to prioritize religious freedom.

“Promotion of protection of religious freedom is a major goal” of the administration, one official noted.

Officials also noted the decision was unprecedented and that the U.S. was the first to take action on it. The hope is that other nations will eventually follow suit in condemning the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China, who are prevented from making certain purchases, staying in hotels, or obtaining  passports. There are also thought to be more than a million Uighur Muslims detained in Chinese camps, and the rest are surveilled by the state.

The justification for the visa ban, which will prevent Chinese officials or their family members from traveling to the U.S.,  according to one State Department official was a direct response to the policy of mistreatment on Uighur Muslims on the basis of “preemptive counterterrorism.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has referred to treatment of the Uighur community in China as the “stain of the century,” made a statement Tuesday explaining the decision.

Pompeo is imposing the restrictions on government leaders and Communist Party officials who are found responsible for or complicit in the detention and abuse of Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other minority Muslim groups in Xinjiang, according to the State Department. Travel by those officials’ family members will also be restricted.

“The Chinese government has instituted a highly repressive campaign against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other members of Muslim minority groups,” Pompeo said in a statement Tuesday. “The United States calls on the People’s Republic of China to immediately end its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.”

The travel ban comes a day after the U.S. added 28 Chinese companies to a blacklist over treatment of Uighur Muslims, angering Chinese authorities in the process.

“There is no such thing as these so-called ‘human rights issues’ as claimed by the United States,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. “These accusations are nothing more than an excuse for the United States to deliberately interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

State Department officials said Tuesday they hope the decision will help potential allies, particularly ones located in Muslim-heavy countries in the Middle East, build a coalition to address the Uighur abuse and incentivize them to begin accepting the “scale and scope of the problem.”

 

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Saudi Arabia and Iran Make Quiet Openings to Head Off War

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After years of growing hostility and competition for influence, Saudi Arabia and Iran have taken steps toward indirect talks to try to reduce the tensions that have brought the Middle East to the brink of war, according to officials from several countries involved in the efforts.

Even the prospect of such talks represents a remarkable turnaround, coming only a few weeks after a coordinated attack on Saudi oil installations led to bellicose threats in the Persian Gulf. Any reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran could have far-reaching consequences for conflicts across the region.

It was President Trump’s refusal to retaliate against Iran for the Sept. 14 attack, analysts say, that set off unintended consequences, prompting Saudi Arabia to seek its own solution to the conflict. That solution, in turn, could subvert Mr. Trump’s effort to build an Arab alliance to isolate Iran.

In recent weeks, officials of Iraq and Pakistan said, the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, asked the leaders of those two countries to speak with their Iranian counterparts about de-escalation.

Iran welcomed the gestures, stating privately and publicly that it was open to talks with Saudi Arabia.

In a statement to The New York Times on Friday, the Saudi government acknowledged that Iraq and Pakistan had offered to mediate talks between the two countries but denied that Prince Mohammed had taken the initiative.

“Efforts at de-escalation must emanate from the party that began the escalation and launched attacks, not the kingdom,” the statement said.

Distrust between the two Middle Eastern powers remains intense, and the prospect of high-level direct talks any time soon appears remote. But even a slight warming could echo far outside their respective borders, where their rivalry fuels political divides from Lebanon to Yemen.

Iran has long wanted to wrest the Saudis from their alliance with Iran’s archenemies, Israel and the United States, which are waging a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran to try to force it to restrict its nuclear program and stop backing militias in the region.

Iran’s receptiveness for contact with the Saudis contrasts with its chilly tone toward the United States. Last week, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, dodged an opportunity to speak directly with Mr. Trump while both were attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The new overtures between Saudi Arabia and Iran began in the aftermath of last month’s drone and cruise missile strikes on two Saudi oil facilities, which Saudi Arabia and the United States accused Iran of orchestrating.

Despite tough threats by the Trump administration, the president declined to order a military response. The demurral raised questions for the Saudis about the American commitment to Saudi security, which has underpinned the strategic layout of the Persian Gulf for decades.

Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan met with Prince Mohammed, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, in Jeddah last month. Days later, while Mr. Khan was at the General Assembly, he told reporters that Prince Mohammed had asked him to talk to Iran.

Prince Mohammed told Mr. Khan, “I want to avoid war,” according to a senior Pakistani official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. “He asked the prime minister to get involved.”

Mr. Khan then spoke with Mr. Rouhani on the sidelines of the General Assembly.

The Iraqi prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, visited Saudi Arabia a few days after Mr. Khan did.

A senior Iraqi official said that Prince Mohammed asked Mr. Abdul Mahdi to mediate with Iran, and that Iraq had suggested Baghdad as the venue for a potential meeting.

“There is a big response from Saudi Arabia and from Iran and even from Yemen,” Mr. Abdul Mahdi told journalists in Iraq after his return from the kingdom. “And I think that these endeavors will have a good effect.”

Iran endorsed the idea.

“Iran is open to starting a dialogue with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region,” Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran’s Parliament, told Al Jazeera in an interview broadcast on Tuesday. “An Iranian-Saudi dialogue,” he added, “could solve many of the region’s security and political problems.”

While they explore back-channel possibilities, both sides have continued to stake out staunchly opposing public positions.

The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia had not asked anyone to send messages to Iran. Instead, he wrote, other countries he did not identify had offered to serve as intermediaries.

“We informed them that the truce needs to come from the side that is escalating and spreading chaos through aggressive acts in the region,” Mr. al-Jubeir wrote.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran said that his country would “definitely greet Saudi Arabia with open arms” — but only if it prioritized friendly relations with neighbors over purchasing weapons from the United States.

Iran has long sought to pull Saudi Arabia away from the United States and Israel. But it was the lack of an American military response to the strikes on Saudi oil facilities that appeared to have created an opening.

“There are cracks in the armor suggesting Saudi Arabia is interested in exploring a new relationship with Iran,” said Philip Gordon, a former White House coordinator for the Middle East. “The worst outcome for the Saudis is to move to a confrontation with Iran expecting the U.S. to support them and find out they won’t.”

He added, “This administration has shown it’s not really ready to take on Iran.”

Top officials from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, Saudi allies which could suffer if open conflict broke out, have spoken publicly of the need for diplomacy to reduce tensions and have made their own efforts to reach out to Iran. The Emirates has held direct maritime security talks with Iran, and has pulled back from the war in Yemen, where it is allied with the Saudis in a battle against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

If Saudi Arabia joins Kuwait and the Emirates in reaching out to Iran, it could undermine the Trump administration’s effort to build an international coalition to ostracize and pressure the Iranians.

“The anti-Iran alliance is not just faltering, it’s crumbling,” Martin Indyk, the executive vice president of Brookings Institution and a former senior diplomat, said Thursday on Twitter. “MBZ has struck his deal with Iran; MBS is not far behind,” he said, referring to the Emirati crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, or MBZ, and the Saudi crown prince, known as MBS.

He also noted that Mr. Trump’s most hawkish anti-Iran adviser, John R. Bolton, had left the administration, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is fighting for his political life and Mr. Trump has shown a willingness to talk directly to the Iranians.

For the Saudis, even indirect talks with Iran would represent a significant departure from Prince Mohammed’s approach to his prime regional rival since his father, King Salman, ascended to the Saudi throne in 2015.

He has cast Iran as the root of the Middle East’s problems and argued that political and theological differences make negotiations impossible. He has compared Iran’s supreme leader to Hitler and threatened to instigate violence inside Iran’s borders.

“We are a primary target for the Iranian regime,” Prince Mohammed said in 2017. “We won’t wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia. Instead, we’ll work so that the battle is for them in Iran.”

His antipathy toward Iran gave him common cause with Israel and the Trump administration. The Saudis have pitched themselves as the United States’ greatest ally against Iran, proposing they carry out joint operations to weaken it and possibly bring about regime change, according to former United States officials.

But Prince Mohammed may now be more willing to explore a possible accommodation.

“We have reached the peak of Saudi-Iran tensions and both sides have concluded this balance of fear is detrimental to their interests,” said Saeed Shariati, a political analyst in Tehran.

For now, the rift appears wide, and possibly unbridgeable. The Saudis criticize Iran for backing militias in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, where the kingdom has been mired in a disastrous war against the Houthis for four years.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attacks on Saudi oil facilities that seem to have helped prompt the diplomatic initiatives, but many Western experts believed that the Houthis could not have carried out the strikes unassisted.

Mr. al-Jubeir said Tuesday that Iran needed to stop its ballistic missile program, refrain from interfering in Arab states and “act like a normal country, and not like a rogue who sponsors terrorism.”

For its part, Iran has called on Saudi Arabia to freeze its multibillion-dollar arms purchases from the United States, stop its intervention in Yemen and end discrimination against the Shiite Muslim minority in Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim-led absolute monarchy.

At the General Assembly last week, Iran’s president, Mr. Rouhani, aimed part of his speech directly at Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.

“It’s the Islamic Republic of Iran who is your neighbor,” he said. “At the day of an event, you and us will be alone. We are each other’s neighbors, not America.”

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