It’s my hypothesis that the Russian President Vladimir Putin Trump had been leaning on the US republican President Donald Trump for months to withdraw US troops from Syria but the president was being constrained by all the foreign policy experts around him.
President Trump came up with a plan in early December 2018 to have his team set up a phone call between both the US and Turkish presidents. Around December 14, 2018, President Trump placed a call to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan where he created the pretext to justify his orders to evacuate all US troops from Syria. This commitment was even a surprise to the Turkish leader, but a pleasant one.
This move by President Trump is viewed by foreign policy experts, as a Christmas gift to US adversaries, Russia, Iran, ISIS and the US ne’re do well ally, Turkey. Iran couldn’t be more pleased. As per a 12/22/18 Reuters report, “Iran said that the U.S. military presence in Syria had been “a mistake, illogical and a source of tension”, in Tehran’s first reaction to President Donald Trump’s planned pull-out.”
In addition, it exposes Israel to greater risk because of its arch enemy Iran’s presence in Syria, with its military possibly being deployed to its eastern border with Israel.
As per the December 20, 2018 Washington Post report, “Turkey’s defense minister said Thursday (12/20/18) that Kurdish forces (the US #1 military ally in fight against ISIS) in Syria would be “buried” in their trenches in any Turkish operation to rout the fighters from the border, just one day after President Trump announced (12/20/18) a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.”
“Speaking from the Qatari capital, Doha, Hulusi Akar said Turkey was preparing “intensely” for a military offensive east of the Euphrates River in Syria, where Kurdish-led forces have battled the Islamic State militant group.”
“The fighters have dug trenches and tunnels in the area in anticipation of the operation, Akar said, according to Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency.
“But whatever they dig . . . when the time comes they will be buried in the trenches,” he said. “Of this there should no doubt.”
“Trump has ordered a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, where they have partnered with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to oust Islamic State fighters.”
Link to entire report: Turkey threatens to ‘bury‘ Kurdish forces in Syria amid US withdrawal
There is a reason that President Donald Trump’s highly reputable, competent Defense Secretary General James Mattis quit right after President Trump ordered withdrawal of US troops from Syria without first having consulted with the US Department of Defense.
President Trump has developed a pattern of making unilateral foreign policy decisions either without consulting his top intelligence, military, and national security advisers, or he acts against their advice. He has become too reliant on listening to right wing pundits on FOX TV and despots of countries with adversarial objectives to US national security interests, for directions.
The question exists, as to whether the president is considering his own personal well being and financial interests with foreign countries as a priority over what’s in the best interests of this country and its peoples.
What’s worse is that the president’s recent actions make the USA look incredibly weak in the eyes of world leaders. He gave Turkey’s totalitarian leader an incredible gift that wasn’t even expected. What “Art of the Deal?”
Here’s the rest of the story…
On December 21, 2018, Matthew Lee and Susannah George of AP penned the following report, “Trump call with Turkish leader led to US pullout from Syria”
“President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria was made hastily, without consulting his national security team or allies, and over strong objections from virtually everyone involved in the fight against the Islamic State group, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.”
“Trump stunned his Cabinet, lawmakers and much of the world with the move by rejecting the advice of his top aides and agreeing to a withdrawal in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, two U.S. officials and a Turkish official briefed on the matter told The Associated Press.”
The Dec. 14 call, described by officials who were not authorized to discuss the decision-making process publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, provides insight into a consequential Trump decision that prompted the resignation of widely respected Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. It also set off a frantic, four-day scramble to convince the president either to reverse or delay the decision.
” National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said. “”Despite losing the physical caliphate, thousands of IS fighters remain in Iraq and Syria, and the group continues to carry out insurgent attacks and could easily move back into territory it once held if American forces withdraw.”
“The Dec. 14 call came a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu agreed to have the two presidents discuss Erdogan’s threats to launch a military operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish rebels in northeast Syria, where American forces are based. The NSC then set up the call.”
“Pompeo, Mattis and other members of the national security team prepared a list of talking points for Trump to tell Erdogan to back off, the officials said.”
“But the officials said Trump, who had previously accepted such advice and convinced the Turkish leader not to attack the Kurds and put U.S. troops at risk, ignored the script. Instead, the president sided with Erdogan.”
“In the following days, Trump remained unmoved by those scrambling to convince him to reverse or at least delay the decision to give the military and Kurdish forces time to prepare for an orderly withdrawal.”
“The talking points were very firm,” said one of the officials, explaining that Trump was advised to clearly oppose a Turkish incursion into northern Syria and suggest the U.S. and Turkey work together to address security concerns. “Everybody said push back and try to offer (Turkey) something that’s a small win, possibly holding territory on the border, something like that.”
“Erdogan, though, quickly put Trump on the defensive, reminding him that he had repeatedly said the only reason for U.S. troops to be in Syria was to defeat the Islamic State and that the group had been 99 percent defeated. “Why are you still there?” the second official said Erdogan asked Trump, telling him that the Turks could deal with the remaining IS militants.”
“With Erdogan on the line, Trump asked national security adviser John Bolton, who was listening in, why American troops remained in Syria if what the Turkish president was saying was true, according to the officials. Erdogan’s point, Bolton was forced to admit, had been backed up by Mattis, Pompeo, U.S. special envoy for Syria Jim Jeffrey and special envoy for the anti-ISIS coalition Brett McGurk, who have said that IS retains only 1 percent of its territory, the officials said.”
“Bolton stressed, however, that the entire national security team agreed that victory over IS had to be enduring, which means more than taking away territory.”
“Trump wasn’t dissuaded, according to the officials, who said the president quickly capitulated by pledging to withdraw, shocking both Bolton and Erdogan.”
“Caught off guard, Erdogan cautioned Trump against a hasty withdrawal, according to one official. While Turkey has made incursions into Syria in the past, it does not have the necessary forces mobilized on the border to move in and hold the large swaths of northeastern Syria where U.S. troops are positioned.”
“The call ended with Trump repeating to Erdogan that the U.S. would pull out, but offering no specifics on how it would be done, the officials said.”
“Over the weekend, the national security team raced to come up with a plan that would reverse, delay or somehow limit effects of the withdrawal, the officials said.”
“On (12/27/18), Bolton, Mattis and Pompeo met at the White House to try to plot a middle course. But they were told by outgoing chief of staff John Kelly and his soon-to-be successor Mick Mulvaney that Trump was determined to pull out and was not to be delayed or denied.”
“The White House had wanted to announce the decision on Tuesday (12/18/18) but the Pentagon convinced Trump to hold off because the withdrawal plans weren’t complete and allies and Congress had not yet been notified, according to the officials. The first country aside from Turkey to be told of the impending pull-out was Israel, the officials said.”
“Word of the imminent withdrawal began to seep out early Wednesday (12/19/18) after U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel started to inform his commanders on the ground and the Kurds of the decision.”
Link to entire AP report: Trump call with Turkey’s Erdogan led to US pullout from Syria