President Trump is attempting to calm down the U.S. conflict with Turkey. The military junta in the White House has different plans. It now attempts to circumvent the decision the president communicated to his Turkish counterpart. The result will be more Turkish-U.S. acrimony.
Yesterday the Turkish foreign minister surprisingly announced a phone call President Trump had held with President Erdogan of Turkey.
United States President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke on the phone on Nov. 24 only days after a Russia-Turkey-Iran summit on Syria, with Ankara saying that Washington has pledged not to send weapons to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) any more.
“President Trump instructed [his generals] in a very open way that the YPG will no longer be given weapons. He openly said that this absurdity should have ended much earlier,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters after the phone call.
The YPG is the Syrian sister organization of the Turkish-Kurdish terror group PKK. Some weapons the U.S. had delivered to the YPK in Syria to fight the Islamic State have been recovered from PKK fighters in Turkey. Despite that supply for the YPG continued. In total over 3,500 truckloads were provided. Only recently the YPK received some 120 new Humvees, mine clearance vehicles and other equipment.
The generals in the White House and other parts of the administration were surprised by the promise Trump had made. The Washington Post writes:
Initially, the administration’s national security team appeared surprised by the Turks’ announcement and uncertain what to say about it. The State Department referred questions to the White House, and hours passed with no confirmation from the National Security Council.
The White House finally released what the Associated Press called:
a cryptic statement about the phone call that said Trump had informed the Turk of “pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria.”
Neither a read-out of the call nor the statement AP refers to are currently available on the White House website.
The U.S. military uses the YPG as proxy power in Syria to justify and support its occupation of north-east Syria, The intent of the occupation is , for now, to press the Syrian government into agreeing to a U.S. controlled "regime change":
U.S. officials have said they plan to keep American troops in northern Syria — and continue working with Kurdish fighters — to pressure Assad to make concessions during peace talks brokered by the United Nations in Geneva, stalemated for three years now. “We’re not going to just walk away right now,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last week.
To solidify its position the U.S. needs to further build up and strengthen its YPG mercenary forces.
When in 2014 the U.S. started to use Kurds in Syria as its foot-soldiers, it put the YPG under the mantle of the so called Syrian Democratic Forces and paid some Syrian Arabs to join and keep up the subterfuge. This helped to counter the Turkish argument that the U.S. was arming and supporting terrorists. But in May 2017 the U.S. announced to arm the YPG directly without the cover of the SDF. The alleged purpose was to eliminate the Islamic State from the city of Raqqa.
The YPG had been unwilling to fight for the Arab city unless the U.S. would provide it with more money, military supplies and support. All were provided. The U.S. special forces, who control the YPG fighters, directed an immense amount of aerial and artillery ammunition against the city. Any potential enemy position was destroyed by large ammunition and intense bombing before the YPG infantry proceeded. In the end few YPG fighters died in the fight. The Islamic State was let go or eliminated from the city but so was the city of Raqqa. The intensity of the bombardment of the medium size city was at times ten times greater than the bombing in all of Afghanistan. Airwars reported:
Since June, an estimated 20,000 munitions were fired in support of Coalition operations at Raqqa. Images captured by journalists in the final days of the assault show a city in ruins.
Several thousand civilians were killed in the indiscriminate onslaught.
The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is defeated. It no longer holds any ground. There is no longer any justification to further arm and supply the YPG or the dummy organization SDF.
But the generals want to continue to do so to further their larger plans. They are laying grounds to circumvent their president's promise. The Wall Street Journal seems to be the only outlet to pick up on the subterfuge:
President Donald Trump’s administration is preparing to stop sending weapons directly to Kurdish militants battling Islamic State in Syria, dealing a political blow to the U.S.’s most reliable ally in the civil war, officials said Friday. ...
The Turkish announcement came as a surprise in Washington, where military and political officials in Mr. Trump’s administration appeared to be caught off-guard. U.S. military officials said they had received no new guidance about supplying weapons to the Kurdish forces. But they said there were no immediate plans to deliver any new weapons to the group. And the U.S. can continue to provide the Kurdish forces with arms via the umbrella Syrian militant coalition.
The "military officials" talking to the WSJ have found a way to negate Trump's promise.
A spokesperson of the SDF, the ethnic Turkman Talaf Silo, recently defected and went over to the Turkish side. The Turkish government is certainly well informed about the SDF and knows that its political and command structure is dominated by the YPK. The whole concept is a sham.
But the U.S. needs the YPG to keep control of north-east Syria. It has to continue to provide whatever the YPG demands, or it will have to give up its larger scheme against Syria.
The Turkish government will soon find out that the U.S. again tried to pull wool over its eyes. Erdogan will be furious when he discovers that the U.S. continues to supply war material to the YPG, even when those deliveries are covered up as supplies for the SDF.
The Turkish government released a photograph showing Erdogan and five of his aids taking Trump's phonecall. Such a release and the announcement of the call by the Turkish foreign minister are very unusual. Erdogan is taking prestige from the call and the public announcement is to make sure that Trump sticks to his promise.
This wide publication will also increase Erdogan's wrath when he finds out that he was again deceived.
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