From the moment Trump ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from Syria, Turkey wasted no time in launching an invasion of northern Syria. To understand the geopolitical stakes, I asked four people close to the situation for their assessments:
Salih Muslim, is spokesperson for the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria. Fehim Taştekin, is an analyst and journalist, based in Vienna. Agit Polat, is spokesperson for the Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDK-F) and based in Paris. Raphaël Lebrujah, is a journalist in Qamishlo.
A protest in support of the Kurds in front of the Turkish Embassy in Seattle. Photo: Amy Moreno/Twitter
Kurdish forces in northern Syria announced Sunday that the Syrian government has agreed to deploy troops to battle an ongoing Turkish offensive against the Kurds after U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed that President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of the remaining 1,000 American troops in the region.
Following a call with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last weekend, Trump withdrew about 50 U.S. troops from the Turkey-Syria border. Critics accused Trump of betraying Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who allied with the United States in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). Turkey on Wednesday launched airstrikes and ground incursions targeting Kurdish-held areas. Continue reading →
IDF soldiers deployed during “Operation Protective Edge.” (Photo: IDF/flickr/public domain)
Last week, Israel began holding its largest military drill in 20 years, and it was specifically designed to simulate a war with Hezbollah.
From the Independent:
“The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has deployed thousands of air, sea and land personnel to the Lebanese border for its biggest military drill in almost two decades, a show of strength designed to intimate Hezbollahand Iran even as their power grows in neighbouring Syria.”Continue reading →
Never one to accept the U.S. government’s official explanation of events without question, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh has investigated Donald Trump’s decision to strike the al-Shayat Airbase in Syria in April of this year, which the president launched amid widespread allegations that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack.
In a report entitled “Trump’s Red Line,” published Sunday in the daily German newspaper Die Welt, Hersh asserts that President Donald Trump ignored important intelligence reports when he made the decision to attack Syria after pictures emerged of dying children in the war-torn country. Continue reading →
Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, and the Maldives — spearheaded by Saudi Arabia — have severed almost all of their ties with Qatar. The move comes just days after hacked emails from the Hotmail account of a wealthy, prominent UAE ambassador, Yousef Al-Otaiba, showed that a number of countries were conspiring to denigrate relations with Qatar (and Iran).
Does President Donald Trump assume his administration can just launch a surprise, unilateral military attack against Syria?
The clear impression he left during a Wednesday afternoon press conference at the White House, as he stood alongside Jordan’s King Abdullah II, is that he can—and that he just might—but that he won’t tell “you” about it.
Victims of Syrian Gas attack. Photo: A_Almghyr/Twitter
The international community sat aghast on Tuesday as images emerged of Syrian children choking to death after a suspected chemical attack killed dozens of people in the rebel-controlled northern province of Idlib.
According to reporting, at least 60 were killed and hundreds more are being treated for exposure. Survivors of the attack said that war planes dropped toxic gas at dawn over the village of Khan Sheikhun, where, the Guardiannotes, “there are thousands of refugees from the nearby province of Hama who have fled recent fighting” between government forces and the Islamic State (ISIS). Continue reading →
Though a number of U.S. soldiers were previously deployed to Syria under the Obama administration, the U.S. government has just sent an additional 400 troops to Syrian territory without congressional approval, without approval from the Syrian government, and without approval from the U.N.
Given the illegality of the move, the real question regarding the operation must focus on the motive. Why is the United States military, under a president who ran on a campaign of focusing less on wars abroad, sending more troops to Syrian territory? Trump supporters often argue this is to fulfill his campaign promise to defeat ISIS. Continue reading →
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently said Turkey does not need to join the European Union “at all costs.” Instead, he is looking to become part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a Eurasian political, economic, and military bloc originally founded in Shanghai by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Although Turkey is a member of NATO, 11 years of negotiations aimed at the country’s entrance into the E.U. have almost fallen flat. A proposal for Turkey to take a certain number of refugees from Europe with hopes this would lead to E.U. membership failed earlier this year. Continue reading →
Barack Obama and Vladmir Putin at G8 summit 2013. Photo by ShadowNinja1080 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
As hawkish as presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton may be, the fact the Obama administration is pressing for direct war in Syria before she even has a chance to be elected raises serious questions about the urgency underpinning the U.S. establishment’s push to unseat Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from power.
Just this week, Russia deployed its S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Syria’s western coast in a move to preemptively counter any threat from U.S.-coalition airstrikes. The move came shortly after a number of reports surfaced in the corporate media claiming the Obama administration was mulling over attacking Syrian troops directly. Continue reading →