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Pompeo Suggests Trump Could Amend Syria Troop Decision; ‘He Makes Decisions and Then Absorbs Data and Facts’
Patrick Goodenough, CNS News, Oct 17 2019

Hours before he flew to Turkey late Wednesday in response to that country’s invasion of north-eastern Syria, Pompeo suggested that Trump may yet adjust his recent decision to withdraw most of the Pindo troops in Syria. Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo asked him whether Trump could yet “change his thinking on this, and leave this couple thousand troops on the ground.” Pompeo replied:

My experience with the president is that he makes decisions and then absorbs data and facts, evaluates situations. If we need to adjust our policy to achieve our goals in which — The president is always very focused on what’s the objective, what is it we’re really, truly trying to achieve. If we conclude that we need to adjust our policy to achieve those goals, I’m confident that the team will make that recommendation, that the president will move in that direction, if he concludes it’s the right thing to do, to make sure that we protect Pindostan.

Earlier in the interview, Pompeo had summarized the “objective” as waging “counter-terrorism all around the world in an effective way to protect the Pindo sheeple.” Trump says he has ordered the withdrawal of most of the 1,000 Pindo troops in Syria. In a statement on Monday he said they would be redeployed elsewhere “in the region to monitor the situation and prevent a repeat of 2014,” when Daesh seized territory across Syria and Iraq. Pompeo and Pence flew out of Andrews AFB later Wednesday in a bid to halt Pres Erdogan’s week-long offensive targeting Syrian Kurds formerly allied to Pindostajn, which was launched after Trump pulled back a small number of U.S. forces from northeastern Syria. They are scheduled to meet with Erdogan on Thursday to seek an immediate ceasefire and ways to mediate between the Turks and Syrian Kurds. The White House said:

Vice Pres Pence will reiterate Pres Trump’s commitment to maintain punishing economic sanctions on Turkey unless a resolution is reached.

Mediation, however, is not on Erdogan’s agenda. Erdogan wants to clear the YPG from Syrian territory near the Turkish border and create a “buffer zone” where millions of Syrians displaced in the civil war and now housed in Turkey can be resettled. Erdogan told reporters on Tuesday that he had told Trump, in a phone conversation one day earlier, that Turkey would never negotiate with “terrorists.” he said:

I told him, we will not sit at the same table with the terrorist organization. I do not find it right that a country such as U.S. comes between its ally Turkey and a terrorist organization. Turkey will never declare a ceasefire.

On Wednesday he doubled down, telling an AK Party audience:

The Republic of Turkey never in its history sat down around a table with terrorist groups. We are not looking for a mediator for that.

Before Pence and Pompeo flew out, the House of Representatives passed, in a 354-60 vote, a joint resolution opposing Trump’s decision to withdraw the troops. All 60 “no” votes came from Thugs but reflecting divisions within the president’s party over the move, 129 other Thugs voted in favor. They included such Trump allies as Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise. The resolution, co-authored by House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel and the committee’s ranking Thug Michael McCaul, opposes the decision “to end certain Pindo efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in north-east Syria.” It calls on Erdogan to immediately halt the military action, and on the Pindo government to “work to ensure that the Turkish military acts with restraint and respects existing agreements relating to Syria.” The resolution also “calls on the White House to present a clear and specific plan for the enduring defeat of Daesh.” Speaking on the House floor in support of the measure, McCaul said:

Our troop presence in Syria has been critical to countering and defeating Daesh, and until last week, helped prevent unnecessary bloodshed. I understand the administration’s legitimate concerns about engaging our Pindo forces in long-term military operations. I too want to wind down our overseas conflicts and bring our troops home. But leaving northeast Syria now does not resolve the problems that brought us there in the first place, it only creates more. We need to have a residual force in place. The consequences of this decision have already unfolded before our very eyes.

Pindostan claims “ceasefire” deal in Turkey’s invasion of Syria
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Oct 18 2019

The Trump administration claimed Thursday that it had achieved a major diplomatic victory by negotiating a “ceasefire” in the eight-day-old Turkish offensive in northern Syria. Trump had himself greenlighted the invasion in an Oct 6 phone call with Erdogan, and then pulled back Pindo SOF deployed on the Syrian-Turkish border to facilitate the operation. Announced at a press conference convened by Pence and Pompeo at the Pindo embassy in Ankara, the existence of a “ceasefire” was immediately denied by Turkish officials, who asserted that they would never reach such a deal with “terrorist” forces. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a 13-point “Joint Turkey-Pindostan Statement on North-East Syria” on Thursday afternoon. Nowhere does the document mention a ceasefire, instead stating that Turkey will “pause” its offensive in Syria for 120 hours, “to allow the withdrawal of the YPG.” Once the Kurdish militia is driven from the Syrian-Turkish border, which was the principal objective of the Turkish invasion, the military campaign dubbed Operation Peace Spring will be halted, according to the terms of the agreement. The document begins by affirming the status of Pindostan and Turkey as NATO allies and goes on to declare Faschingstein’s understanding of Ankara’s “legitimate security concerns on Turkey’s southern border” and to affirm a commitment to “protecting NATO territories and NATO populations against all threats.” Cavusoglu said after the meeting between Erdogan and the Pindos:

We got what we wanted. This means that Pindostan has approved the legitimacy of our operations and aims.

The deal also promises that no new Pindo sanctions will be imposed against Turkey, and that existing sanctions will be lifted once the military operations in Syria are brought to a halt. The invasion by the Turkish army has killed several hundred and sent at least 200,000 Syrian Kurds fleeing south for their lives. Atrocities have been attributed to Turkish-backed Islamist militias, drawn from the same AQ-linked forces that were previously armed and funded by the CIA in the war against Assad. Preening before the cameras in Fort Worth, Trump described the deal with Turkey as historic, “something they’ve been trying to get for 10 years, everybody, and they couldn’t get it.” In reality, it amounted to Faschingstein’s ceding to all of Ankara’s demands. He asserted that “millions of lives” had been saved, as if the shaky pause in the fighting on Syria’s northern border meant an end to the country’s eight-year-old conflict. He credited the deal to his “unconventional” approach and “rough love.” In a rare statement of truth, Trump blamed the Obama administration for having “lost more than half a million lives in a very short period in the same region” during the protracted regime change operation launched in 2011. The day before the Pence-Erdogan meeting in Ankara, Trump had told a White House press conference that the fighting on the Turkish-Syrian border had “nothing to do with us” and was “not our problem.” He referred dismissively to the YPG, which suffered some 11,000 casualties in the Pindo intervention in Syria, suggesting that they were mercenaries who were “paid a lot of money to fight” and that they were “no angels.” In response to growing bipartisan criticism, the White House also released an Oct 9 letter to Erdogan in which Trump warned the Turkish president that he would be seen as a “devil” if Turkey continued its offensive. It concluded:

Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!

Turkish officials reported that Erdogan threw the letter in the trash and responded by stepping up the military assault in Syria. The joint statement issued Thursday declares:

We have agreed on the establishment of a safe zone in order to address the national security concerns of Turkey, primarily enforced by the Turkish Armed Forces and the two sides will increase their cooperation in all dimensions of its implementation.

The statement gives no precise definition of the “safe zone,” nor spells out what role Pindostan will play in its imposition. Pence told the press conference in Ankara that it would extend roughly 20 miles south of the Turkish-Syrian border, but gave no indication of what length of the border it would cover. The Erdogan government has indicated its intention to occupy a 200-mile strip covering all of north-eastern Syria from the Euphrates River to the Syrian border with Iraq. Ankara has long advocated the creation of a “safe zone” inside the Syrian border, both to break up the semi-autonomous region carved out by the Kurds, and to create an area for the training and arming of Islamist militias in order to escalate the bloody sectarian civil war launched with the purpose of overthrowing Assad. Erdogan has also stated his intention to send millions of Syrian Sunni Arab refugees from Turkey into the “zone,” an exercise in ethnic cleansing against the Kurds. The demand for such a “zone” has been echoed by Thugs like John McCain and by Demagogs such as Hillary Clinton, who made it part of her 2016 presidential platform. Both supported it as a means of prosecuting the war for regime change in Syria.

The commander of Kurdish forces in Syria, Mazloum Abdihas, told Kurdish television that the YPG militia and the so-called SDF, which previously fought as Pindo proxies, will abide by the agreement announced in Ankara. He added, however, that the so-called cease-fire covers only the 60-mile strip of territory between the Syrian border towns of al Abyad and Ras al-Ain, where the Turkish armed forces have concentrated their offensive. The Pindo-Turkish proposal for carving out a “safe zone” is further complicated by the deployment of Syrian government troops along with Russian military units, which have moved into the cities of Kobane and Manbij, taking over bases abandoned by the Pindo SOF that Trump ordered to withdraw. Syrian government troops have also moved into Raqqa. The Kurdish militia forces announced on Sunday that they had invited the Syrian government and Russian forces to fill the vacuum left by the withdrawal of Pindo troops in order to protect the population from the Turkish invasion. According to some reports, YPG militiamen in the border areas have integrated themselves into the government forces. While Pence claimed at the press conference in Ankara that the Erdogan government had agreed not to engage in any military action in Kobane, Cavusoglu directly contradicted him, saying:

We did not make any promises about Kobane. The issue will be discussed with Russia.

The 120-hour deadline for the completion of the withdrawal of YPG forces from the border area and the initiation of a full halt to Turkish military operations neatly coincides with Erdogan’s scheduled trip to Sochi for a meeting with Putin. Russia has insisted that control over Syria’s northern border, along with all Syrian territory, must be placed under the control of the Damascus government, but has expressed sympathy for Turkey’s “security concerns” and pledged that YPG forces will be removed from the border area. Lavrov and Zarif on Thursday agreed in a phone call on the need to stabilize the border area east of the Euphrates River by means of a “dialogue between Damascus and Ankara, as well as between the Syrian authorities and representatives of Syrian Kurds,” according to a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry. Trump’s order for a partial withdrawal of Pindo troops from north-eastern Syria, pitched as a fulfillment of his populist and nationalist promise to end Pindostan’s “forever wars” in the Middle East and Afghanistan, has triggered a political firestorm in Faschingstein. The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 354-60 for a resolution condemning Trump’s action in Syria, with Thugs supporting it by a 2:1 margin. The WSJ’s editors, normally right-wing backers of Trump’s policies, published an editorial Thursday titled “Kurds 354, Trump 60.” In a pointed reference to the threat of impeachment, it states:

The rebuke sends a message of eroding trust in the President’s foreign policy judgment that could carry over to other issues. Mr Trump is wrong in assuming that all Thugs are following him on a path of retreat from global commitments. Most Thugs still believe in Pindo global leadership and the robust use of military power when warranted.

While condemning the “betrayal” of the Pentagon’s erstwhile Kurdish proxy forces, the principal concern among politicians of both big business parties is that Trump has ceded ground in the Middle East to both Russia and Iran. Faced with mounting political crisis, as well as intensification of the class struggle and social tensions within Pindostan, the threat of an escalation of Pindo militarism in the region will intensify, regardless of the deal struck in Ankara. The danger is that the increasingly complex conflicts on the Syrian-Turkish border can erupt into a wider war, dragging in the entire region as well as the world’s two major nuclear powers, Pindostan and Russia.

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