‘Disaster in the making’: Graham torches Trump’s Syria policy

7/10/19 | 0 | 0 | 358 εμφανίσεις


DEFENSE  politico.com

The president defended the decision to allow Turkey to fight U.S.-allied Kurds, tweeting that “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT.”

U.S. camp in Syria

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Monday admonished the White House for its controversial decision to allow Turkey to invade northern Syria and potentially wipe out U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters — criticizing the maneuver as “a disaster in the making” in a rare public break with President Donald Trump.

“I don’t know all the details regarding President Trump’s decision in northern Syria,” the South Carolina Republican wrote on Twitter, adding that he was in the process of scheduling a phone call with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and warning: “If press reports are accurate this is a disaster in the making.”

Graham, a vocal defender of the president and frequent adviser on matters of foreign policy, predicted the administration’s move would ensure a “comeback” of ISIS, force the Kurds “to align with” Syrian President Bashar Assad and Iran, damage the relationship between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and Congress, and become “a stain on America’s honor for abandoning the Kurds.”

Graham also tweeted that “if this plan goes forward,” he would “introduce [a] Senate resolution opposing and asking for reversal of this decision. Expect it will receive strong bipartisan support.”

Trump earlier Monday morning defended the dramatic policy shift, citing his long-standing call to extricate American forces from “ridiculous Endless Wars” abroad.

“The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets. “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. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN.”

The White House announced Turkey’s planned invasion in a statement late Sunday that seemed to indicate at least tacit American support.

Trump talked to Erdogan about the military incursion, the White House said in its statement. The administration, without elaborating on the scope of the attack, referred to the invasion as a “long-planned operation.”

“The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘Caliphate,‘ will no longer be in the immediate area,” the statement said.

Turkey has been a U.S. ally in efforts to battle ISIS in the region — Syria being the location of much of the fighting because of the horrific chaos of its ongoing civil war — but there are complications to the alliance.

Kurdish soldiers had also been working with American forces in Syria, but Turkey regards those forces as its enemy. The Kurdish forces, which have been fighting for an independent homeland for Kurds, could be in serious jeopardy when Turkish troops sweep into the area.

Erdogan has expressed displeasure with the support the United States has given those Kurdish forces.

The White House used its statement to ding its European allies.

“The United States Government has pressed France, Germany, and other European nations, from which many captured ISIS fighters came, to take them back, but they did not want them and refused. The United States will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer,” it said. “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.”

Trump again lashed out at the Western powers Monday, accusing them of taking advantage of the U.S.

“When I arrived in Washington, ISIS was running rampant in the area. We quickly defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate, … including capturing thousands of ISIS fighters, mostly from Europe,” he tweeted.

“But Europe did not want them back, they said you keep them USA!” the president continued. “I said ‘NO, we did you a great favor and now you want us to hold them in U.S. prisons at tremendous cost. They are yours for trials.’ They … again said ‘NO,’ thinking, as usual, that the U.S. is always the ‘sucker,’ on NATO, on Trade, on everything.”

Trump and Erdogan are to meet in Washington at some point in the coming weeks.


Category: International

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