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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Recep Tayyip Erdogan"

Report: Giuliani was pushing to turn over cleric to Erdogan

Westlake Legal Group giuliani-cheaters Report: Giuliani was pushing to turn over cleric to Erdogan Turkey The Blog Rudy Guiliani Recep Tayyip Erdogan prisoner swap Fethullah Gulen Andrew Brunson

There’s a name we haven’t seen crop up in the news for quite a while. According to anonymous sources who worked at the White House (as always), exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen was a frequent topic of conversation between Rudy Giuliani and President Trump. Rudy had allegedly been pushing Trump to extradite Gulen to Turkey, a demand that’s constantly been made by their tyrant, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Trump appears to have eventually been unswayed by the arguments, however. (WaPo)

Rudolph W. Giuliani privately urged President Trump in 2017 to extradite a Turkish cleric living in exile in the United States, a top priority of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to multiple former administration officials familiar with the discussions.

Giuliani, a Trump ally who later became the president’s personal attorney, repeatedly argued to Trump that the U.S. government should eject Fethullah Gulen from the country, according to the former officials, who spoke on the condition on anonymity to describe private conversations.

Turkey has demanded that the United States turn over Gulen, a permanent U.S. resident who lives in Pennsylvania, to stand trial on charges of plotting a 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan. Gulen has denied involvement in the plot.

As you may recall, Gulen was a prominent figure in the ongoing negotiations to get Erdogan to release American pastor Andrew Brunson. The Tyrant of Turkey has consistently blamed Gulen for the failed coup attempt a couple of years ago and was trying to use Brunson as a bargaining chip to get his hands on him. Trump eventually secured Brunson’s release last September without turning the cleric over.

We still really don’t know much about Gulen as far as whether or not he (or his surrogates) were actually involved in the coup. I don’t know if he’s one of the good guys or one of the bad guys. But what we can be pretty sure of is that if he gets sent back to Turkey he’ll immediately wind up in a dungeon, assuming they don’t just execute him immediately.

So why was Rudy so anxious to turn him over? He had some clients in Turkey prior to working for the President as his attorney but was never an official lobbyist for the country. Giuliani told the WaPo that the story was “bull” so we can take this all with at least a small grain of salt. But it probably wouldn’t be all that surprising. If he was pushing to release Gulen in an effort to secure Brunson’s release, that would at least have given him a noble motivation, even if it wasn’t a good strategy. But if he was just doing it to curry favor with Erdogan it’s going to be yet another dark cloud around his head as the current investigations move forward.

Of course, all of this is almost certainly water under the bridge by now. After Erdogan attacked the Kurds and shelled some of our troops “accidentally” this week, he certainly can’t be expecting any favors from us. So Gulen should be able to rest easy in Pennsylvania for a while longer.

The post Report: Giuliani was pushing to turn over cleric to Erdogan appeared first on Hot Air.

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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.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Erdogan’s Syrian resettlement plan is every bit as crazy as it sounds

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We may be getting a glimpse inside the long game that the Tyrant of Turkey is playing. As Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues his military push into the northeastern Syrian border region, he’s simultaneously touting a Syrian refugee resettlement program that has nearly every international observer scratching their heads. During a speech yesterday, Erdogan announced that he plans to resettle up to a million refugees currently living in his country in the twenty-mile wide border region he’s currently burning to the ground. (Associated Press)

In the face of widespread international criticism for his military foray into northern Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains defiant, standing by his pledge to return as many refugees as possible to a border corridor that will be carved out by force.

“We will rebuild an area for 1 million people, for those who want to return to their country and don’t have a home to go back to,” he told members of his governing party on Thursday to widespread applause…

Opponents of Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria argue that the assault is purely aimed at driving out Kurdish fighters and U.S. lawmakers have warned of potential sanctions. The word betrayal is doing the rounds as Kurdish fighters proved pivotal in the fight against the Islamic State group.

The resettlement scheme is currently being described as “voluntary” but sources inside the country are expressing concerns that people will be pressured to “volunteer” to return to their home country. This could apply to some who have been living legally in Turkey for years, including those who have married and now have families there.

Was this part of Erdogan’s plan all along? He doesn’t want to have to keep supporting the millions of refugees currently living in his country, despite the fact that Turkish law makes it mandatory that they are given refuge. He obviously wants to wipe out the Kurds near his border and has made that clear all along, but this could be a case of killing two birds with one tank division. Kill off the Kurds and rid himself of unwanted guests all with one invasion.

Erdogan had a reply to criticism coming from Europe about his invasion. If they keep calling it an invasion, he threated to “open the floodgates” for millions of Syrian and Iraqui refugees to stream through Turkey and into mainland Europe. Turkey has been the only thing stopping the mass migration from exploding even further, so that’s some powerful leverage. Perhaps that explains why the United Nations Security Council failed to pass a resolution condemning the invasion.

But the resettlement plan is being widely panned as totally impractical if not impossible. Among the questions being raised is how he plans to bus a million people into that region. And more to the point, what will they do when they get there? The cities are being bombed and burned, so where would the returning refugees live? He would need to build housing for a million people at costs that would run into the tens of billions of dollars. Power lines, potable water supplies and all of the other infrastructure required to support the new residents would need to be established. Where would he come up with the money?

All of these questions remain unanswered. The only other alternative would be to pack up the refugees and essentially dump them out in the cold in the middle of a war zone. That doesn’t sound like much of a resettlement plan.

While we’re on the subject, it’s worth pointing out that the Turkish forces are “clearing out” areas inhabited by Christians, also. This entire affair is rapidly turning into an international disaster that was totally preventable.

The post Erdogan’s Syrian resettlement plan is every bit as crazy as it sounds appeared first on Hot Air.

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The good old days of the Kurds in World War 2

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The Turkish invasion of the northern Syria border region is well underway, as a couple of smaller cities are going up in flames and tens of thousands of Kurish civilians are fleeing to the south in convoys. Meanwhile, the Kurds are claiming that they successfully “scuppered a ground incursion attempt.” Such is the fog of war, I suppose.

Allahpundit wrote about the President’s shifting explanations for how things reached this point last night. But one of the President’s defenses of the situation hit the news cycle a bit later. The Kurds may be our allies, according to the President, but hey… they didn’t help us with the invasion of Normandy. (WaPo)

President Trump said Wednesday that it would be “easy” for the United States to form new alliances if Syrian Kurds leave the fight against the Islamic State to fend off a Turkish attack, noting that “they didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us in Normandy” and were only interested in fighting for “their land.”

“With all of that being said, we like the Kurds,” he said in response to questions about Turkey’s incursion into Syria.

Trump’s off-the-cuff remarks, following a White House ceremony where he signed unrelated executive orders, came as the administration continued an effort to correct what it has called the misimpression that Trump enabled the offensive against the U.S.-allied Kurds that Turkey launched Wednesday.

Sometimes it’s hard to even come up with a joke about such things. Needless to say, our relationship with Iraq and the Kurdish region back in the forties was significantly different than the dealings we had with most of the nations that would later become NATO members and our allies against the Nazis. (Actually, Britain was occupying Iraq in the early forties.) I’m going to take a pass on trying to guess what Trump was thinking when he said that because frankly, I’ve given up on figuring out what our Syria strategy is for the time being.

I was doing a radio hit on a station in Connecticut yesterday and discussing this situation with the host. We both seemed to agree that there really wasn’t (and still isn’t) a good solution for our involvement in Syria at this point. The real reason we were there in the first place was to break the ISIS caliphate. That job is now about as done as it’s going to be in the short term. Staying in that dangerous neck of the woods indefinitely was never an option anyone wanted to consider.

But at the same time, the Kurds have shed a lot of blood on our behalf. Or more correctly, on behalf of the entire western world under threat from ISIS. And right now our supposed “ally” Turkey is in the process of “clearing” a large stretch of the border territory inside of Syria. That means that a large military force from a NATO member is currently engaged in a full-scale war with our allies who did the heavy lifting in wiping out ISIS in Syria.

The only way to have avoided this would have been through some sort of diplomatic engagement with Erdogan. Was that even possible? He’s had blood in his eyes for the Kurds for a very long time. Maybe Trump could have convinced him to avoid this attack and maybe he couldn’t. But in the end it still represents a diplomatic failure and the Kurds are paying the price for it. Perhaps there was no way to avoid this in the long run, but this will not be remembered as one of the shining moments of the Trump administration.

The post The good old days of the Kurds in World War 2 appeared first on Hot Air.

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The good old days of the Kurds in World War 2

Westlake Legal Group TrumpErdogan The good old days of the Kurds in World War 2 Turkey The Blog Syrian Kurds Syria Recep Tayyip Erdogan invasion

The Turkish invasion of the northern Syria border region is well underway, as a couple of smaller cities are going up in flames and tens of thousands of Kurish civilians are fleeing to the south in convoys. Meanwhile, the Kurds are claiming that they successfully “scuppered a ground incursion attempt.” Such is the fog of war, I suppose.

Allahpundit wrote about the President’s shifting explanations for how things reached this point last night. But one of the President’s defenses of the situation hit the news cycle a bit later. The Kurds may be our allies, according to the President, but hey… they didn’t help us with the invasion of Normandy. (WaPo)

President Trump said Wednesday that it would be “easy” for the United States to form new alliances if Syrian Kurds leave the fight against the Islamic State to fend off a Turkish attack, noting that “they didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us in Normandy” and were only interested in fighting for “their land.”

“With all of that being said, we like the Kurds,” he said in response to questions about Turkey’s incursion into Syria.

Trump’s off-the-cuff remarks, following a White House ceremony where he signed unrelated executive orders, came as the administration continued an effort to correct what it has called the misimpression that Trump enabled the offensive against the U.S.-allied Kurds that Turkey launched Wednesday.

Sometimes it’s hard to even come up with a joke about such things. Needless to say, our relationship with Iraq and the Kurdish region back in the forties was significantly different than the dealings we had with most of the nations that would later become NATO members and our allies against the Nazis. (Actually, Britain was occupying Iraq in the early forties.) I’m going to take a pass on trying to guess what Trump was thinking when he said that because frankly, I’ve given up on figuring out what our Syria strategy is for the time being.

I was doing a radio hit on a station in Connecticut yesterday and discussing this situation with the host. We both seemed to agree that there really wasn’t (and still isn’t) a good solution for our involvement in Syria at this point. The real reason we were there in the first place was to break the ISIS caliphate. That job is now about as done as it’s going to be in the short term. Staying in that dangerous neck of the woods indefinitely was never an option anyone wanted to consider.

But at the same time, the Kurds have shed a lot of blood on our behalf. Or more correctly, on behalf of the entire western world under threat from ISIS. And right now our supposed “ally” Turkey is in the process of “clearing” a large stretch of the border territory inside of Syria. That means that a large military force from a NATO member is currently engaged in a full-scale war with our allies who did the heavy lifting in wiping out ISIS in Syria.

The only way to have avoided this would have been through some sort of diplomatic engagement with Erdogan. Was that even possible? He’s had blood in his eyes for the Kurds for a very long time. Maybe Trump could have convinced him to avoid this attack and maybe he couldn’t. But in the end it still represents a diplomatic failure and the Kurds are paying the price for it. Perhaps there was no way to avoid this in the long run, but this will not be remembered as one of the shining moments of the Trump administration.

The post The good old days of the Kurds in World War 2 appeared first on Hot Air.

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Garvan Walshe: Erdogan’s Kurdish invasion will be a disaster

Garvan Walshe is a former National and International Security Policy Adviser to the Conservative Party. He runs TRD Policy.

When a civil war in a neighbouring country allows terrorists and guerrillas to flee next door, establish territorial control, use it as a base from which to train, supply and provide medical assistance to their forces, and even use it as a base from which to launch attacks, the temptation to use your regular army to crush them is hard to resist. Territory gained is territory from which attacks cannot be launched. More strategically it is a foothold form which to press your national interests in any negotiations that might bring the war to an end.

We don’t have to go back to Gustavus Adolphus’s invasion of Brandenburg in 1630 to understand how intractable such interventions, even when geographically contiguous, can get. When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, early military and even political success (the then president Amine Gemayel even signed an agreement to normalise relations with Israel in 1983), led to 20 years of guerrilla war, international opprobrium and the rise of Hezbollah.

Hezbollah, of course, would later be as instrumental in preventing Bashar Assad losing power in Syria as Assad’s father was in derailing Israeli plans in Lebanon. And it’s Syria where a neighbouring power is as much in danger of committing a terrible mistake as Israel was in the 1980s.

The neighbouring power is Turkey, and the operation is a buffer zone Ankara has been seeking to carve out on its southern border. From Turkey’s perspective, the case for intervention is strong. The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces, which control the area in question, are inextricably linked with the Kurdish terrorist organisation, the PKK, which has waged a bloody terrorist campaign for independence for decades (though secular, and traditionally Marxist, they practice suicide bombing).

The SDF however are also inextricably linked with the United States and the international coalition against Daesh (ISIL). The US and France have troops on the ground advising them, and planes in the air protecting them. Turkey has for some time sought to push Donald Trump to withdraw American troops, and almost managed to do so last December, leading to the resignation not only of Brett McGurk, the American official in charge of anti-ISIS operations, but even James Mattis, the US Defence Secretary.

Forty-eight hours ago, Erdogan tried again. Trump tweeted his announcement of a withdrawal (catching the SDF, France, and even Mattis’s replacement at the Pentagon by surprise), and Turkey announced it would start military operations.

This has further heightened America’s political crisis, with numerous Republicans, most of whom had been merely silent following Trump’s attempt to pressure Ukraine into inventing corruption allegations against one of his 2020 opponents, to condemn him. Lindsay Graham, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, threatened sanctions and even Mitch McConnell, a study in circumspection when it comes to asserting legislative authority against the executive, thought to rebuke the President. Trump responded to the pressure with another bizarre threat to obliterate the Turkish economy (something he claims he’d already done before).

Meanwhile, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, preened his feline whiskers, called for calm and offered to mediate. The Security Council, which meets today, at Paris’s request can be expected to deadlock. The situation on the ground however, is becoming increasingly urgent.

Though there cannot be said to be anything as coherent as Western policy in Syria, the SDF are strategically aligned with Western interests there. Their impeccable propaganda: female soldiers driving Daesh from Raqqa’s Margaret Atwood-inspired dystopia; Western volunteers training side by side with local troops, and the adoption of a post-Marxist secular environmentalist creed to replace their traditional Leninist ideology, should not disguise their military effectiveness. They provided the ground troops that defeated ISIS, and currently guard some 15,000–20,000 prisoners, mainly from Western countries.

Now they insist that under pressure from the Turkish threat they have no manpower to spare for the task and are threatening the US with allowing a jailbreak. Trump, whose only understanding of negotiations is to screw his partner, hasn’t realised they can screw him back. The American Army is furious at being told to abandon their allies without whom the so-called Islamic State would still be in existence. They know, too, that “we’ve been told to abandon you, and can you please help us extricate our men from here” isn’t a winning offer.

The greatest strategic difficulty however is Turkish. Ankara officially has two aims for the campaign: first, to use Israeli terminology again, to eradicate the “terrorist infrastructure” that the SDF provide to the PKK. Second, to find somewhere to settle a portion of the millions of Syrian refugees currently in Turkey. They aim to do this by establishing a buffer zone, some 30 kilometres into Syria.

Entirely coincidentally, this zone contains every major Kurdish population centre. Behind them is only desert. Settling the refugees in these towns (which isn’t, incidentally, where they are from) will, it thinks, prompt a building boom, as it has in areas inside Turkey where a Kurdish insurgency was crushed in the past 18 months. Let’s just say this: the organised settling of a new population in an area occupied by hostile locals can on occasion be successful, but it is not something that has ever produced peace.

In tactical terms, Turkey asserts, as everyone does these days, that it only aims at the terrorists, and not the civilian population. It also asserts that its superior air force and artillery will make short work of any opposition. This is nonsense. In reality they are hoping that the SDF will flee, as they fled from Afrin, to the west, in an earlier round of confrontation. When they fled from Afrin, they could at least go to Kurdish-held North West Syria, but now Turkey proposes to take precisely that territory away from them.

That is the first mistake. If they’ve nowhere to go, they’ll have no alternative but to fight. There are two ways to defeat an enemy entrenched in urban centres: hard street-by-street fighting in which thousands of your own men will be killed; or what might be called the Russian school of counterinsurgency, as practiced on Aleppo, in which tens of thousands of their civilians are murdered.

Neither is an appetising choice. The fact that this decision has been taken and the arguments advanced for it suggest more that decision-making within the Turkish state has broken down; that since the coup, the military have been unable to block Erdogan’s ill-thought through impulses, and Turkey is about to commit a historic mistake whose consequences for Syria, the region and Turkey itself will be calamitous.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

It begins. Turkish troops crossing into Syria

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We can’t say they didn’t warn us. On Sunday, Donald Trump had a phone call with the Tyrant of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which Erdogan threatened to move his army into northern Syria and go after our Kurdish allies. The President responded by announcing that he would move our forces in the region “out of the way.” And now, only three days later, the Turks have crossed the border with an expeditionary force ahead of what’s expected to be a much larger invasion. (Bloomberg)

The first Turkish troops have crossed into northeastern Syria in preparation for a full-scale offensive to force back Kurdish militants controlling the border area, a Turkish official said, days after President Donald Trump said the U.S. wouldn’t stand in the way.

A small forward group of Turkish forces entered Syria early Wednesday at two points along the frontier, close to the Syrian towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Turkish lira weakened after the news, trading 0.3% lower at 5.8445 per dollar at 12 p.m. in Istanbul.

If anyone was expecting the Kurds to simply back down they’re in for a disappointment. In response to this news, they went “on high alert and called on fighters to head for the frontier to defend the region against the Turkish offensive…”

It’s hard to imagine this ending well. The Kurdish YPG militia is a tough bunch and they have some military hardware thanks to us, including shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. But the Turks are coming with what appears to be tens of thousands of troops, tanks, aircraft, and heavy weaponry. The YPG did a great job against ISIS, but they were mostly deploying foot soldiers with rifles. This is an actual army. I don’t hold out high hopes for them.

Also of grave concern is what will happen to the tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners that the Kurds are currently detaining in multiple towns along the border region. How will they turn them over to the Turks if they’re in the midst of a battle with them? Will the Turks even take them? The only other alternative would seem to be a literal army of ISIS fighters suddenly getting loose in the fog of war and returning to the battlefield to fight us yet again. A vast amount of progress in the war on terror could be lost here.

And all for what? This is happening because our supposed “ally” in Turkey has an ax to grind against the Kurds and the door has been swung open for him. It’s also a stark demonstration of how little control Bashar al-Assad has of his own borders outside of the capital and the southern and western reaches of the country. There are military units from multiple countries (including the United States) roaming his territory and he has no ability to cast them out.

Syria has been a mess for a long time. Sadly, it’s about to get a lot messier.

The post It begins. Turkish troops crossing into Syria appeared first on Hot Air.

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Wait… the Tyrant of Turkey is *still* getting invited to the White House?

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Just this morning we were talking about the unfolding disaster in Syria near the Turkish border. This decision to start pulling our troops out rests on the President’s shoulders, but it was hastened by the fact that our supposed “ally,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was planning to move his troops in and begin taking out our Kurdish allies. Hence Trump’s call to get our troops “out of the way.”

So things are heading even further south in terms of our relationship with the Tyrant of Turkey. But wait! What’s this new news being confirmed today? We’d heard rumors of it in recent days and it was discussed on Trump’s last call with Erdogan, but it’s being reported that he’s going ahead with plans to have Erdogan come back to Washington again for another formal meeting at the White House. We have truly crossed over into Bizzaro Land. (Associated Press)

A day after threatening Turkey with economic ruin if it goes too far in invading northern Syria, President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet at the White House next month.

The announcement came one day after Trump publicly warned Turkey it would be in “big trouble” if any American troops in Syria are injured during a military operation Turkey is preparing to launch against Kurdish fighters who had been allied with the United States against Islamic State militants.

The White House earlier this week announced plans to move U.S. troops out of harm’s way in northern Syria because it seemed that Turkey was intent on moving into Syria to confront Kurdish fighters that it claims are terrorists that threaten its national security.

I know what some of the President’s more ardent supporters are going to say. If you don’t keep the lines of communication open, no progress toward a deal can happen. True enough, at least in theory. But there’s also a point where you’ve crossed over the River Crazy without putting protective pennies over your eyes. This certainly looks like one of those times.

Does the President remember what happened last time he invited Erdogan over for dinner? Fifteen of his bodyguards started beating down some protesters right in the middle of Washington. (Oh, and we later conveniently dropped all the charges against all of them.) He also took an American pastor captive and held him hostage in a Turkish prison for more than a year before Trump finally cut a deal to get him out.

The guy has recently started buying Russian missile systems and jets that aren’t compatible with all of our NATO hardware and will probably compromise protected data to the Russians. Before that he completely destroyed what was once one of the most promising democracies in that region, rewriting the constitution to give him absolute power and set himself up as president for life. He’s locked up journalists, teachers and political opponents. Reports of Erdogan having his critics simply assassinated are legion.

And now, on top of all that, he’s getting ready to send in his shock troops to start gunning down our allies. And you want to have the guy over for dinner? I’d really like to think that Trump is playing three-dimensional chess here and I’m just too dim to get it. But this simply looks insane.

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Is Trump rethinking abandoning the Kurds?

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We’ve had more than 36 hours to absorb the news that President Trump was pulling our troops out of the way of an anticipated Turkish incursion into northern Syria. (And possibly out of the country entirely.) The response has been rapid and generally brutal across the board. Has any of this sunk in with the President yet, potentially leading him to reconsider this decision? As of last night, it certainly didn’t sound like it. (Associated Press)

“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,” he wrote, adding that, “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN.” He said it will now be up to the region to decide what to do with captured IS fighters, and warned of retribution in response to any future attacks.

“We are 7000 miles away and will crush ISIS again if they come anywhere near us!” he wrote.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened for months to launch the military operation across the Syrian border. He views the Kurdish forces as a threat to his country. Republicans and Democrats have warned that allowing the Turkish attack could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and send a troubling message to American allies across the globe.

But at the same time that the tweetstorm was brewing, US News reported that an anonymous “senior administration official” said America is “not removing its forces from Syria in the face of a Turkish incursion.” The official went on to say that Trump had simply ordered approximately fifty special forces troops to relocate to “a different part of the country.”

But that’s sort of a distinction without a difference, isn’t it? If the expected Turkish assault is only going to move fewer than twenty miles into Syrian territory (as Erdogan intimated) and we’re pulling our troops to the south, that’s still “removing our forces” from the expected field of battle. Still, this apparent contradiction in the messaging makes me wonder if an extra night to sleep on it has the President reconsidering the plan.

I have no doubt that President Trump isn’t losing any sleep over the Washington Post’s comments about his “stunning ignorance” of the situation in Syria. He probably takes it as a badge of honor. But some of the other people weighing in must surely carry a bit more weight with him.

Two of the louder voices in Washington who are opposing this policy shift are Lindsay Graham and Cocaine Mitch. I’m not suggesting that Trump takes his marching orders directly from them (or anyone, for that matter) but he’s surely aware that if the Democrats move forward with impeachment, those will be two people he needs leading his defense in the Senate trial to follow. And they’re hardly alone. Elected officials and conservative media figures across the board are freaking out at this point, moreso than they have been over most any other controversial decision coming out of this White House.

The President is describing this as yet another campaign promise he’s keeping. Fair enough, but it’s not being done intelligently. Trump’s constant goal since taking office has been to keep his base revved up and solidly behind him. But those Republicans screaming most loudly about the abandonment of the Kurds were elected by that base. What few defenses of this decision I’ve seen thus far have been luke-warm and watered down at best.

If Erdogan’s forces come blasting into the border region this week and begin slaughtering the Kurds wholesale, the disaster will land squarely on the plate of Donald Trump and nobody else. And starting yet another trade war with Turkey in response isn’t going to solve anything. They’re already a marginal “ally” at best and such a move will simply push them further into Vladamir Putin’s arms all the faster. There is no good outcome from this scenario that I can see and the President needs to find a path to back away from this move even if he loses face in the process. Sadly, that seems totally out of character for him so I’m not hopeful at all.

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