US Avoids War With Turkey as Trump Pulls Troops Out of Syria

-edited

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the US he will invade Syria to attack the Kurds, a US ally. Trump pulls out.

The Wall Street Journal reports American Troops to Withdraw From Northern Syria Ahead of Turkish Incursion.

The White House indicated that U.S. forces will withdraw from northern Syria in advance of an expected incursion of Turkish forces in the region that could spark fighting with American-backed Kurds, in what officials believe could be the end of the fight against Islamic State there.

Turkey’s incursion might mean the complete withdrawal of American forces from Syria, a U.S. official said early Monday. Last year, Mr. Trump called for a complete U.S. withdrawal from Syria, but ultimately reversed himself after a backlash from GOP allies and top military officials.

Sunday night’s announcement came as U.S. officials have grown concerned that Turkey would mount a military incursion into northern Syria and set off a battle with Kurdish fighters known as the YPG, a group Turkey considers to be a terrorist affiliate of the Turkey-based PKK. The U.S. considers the Kurds allies in destroying Islamic State’s territorial hold in Syria.

Mr. Erdogan expressed “his frustration over the U.S. military and security bureaucracy’s failure to implement the agreement between their two nations,” and added that “the two leaders agreed to meet in Washington next month, per President Trump’s invitation.” The White House readout didn’t mention the prospective meeting, nor did it refer to the fate of the Kurds.

If Turkey conducts a widespread incursion using heavy arms and forces, the U.S. might have no choice but to pull its more than 1,000 troops out of Syria to avoid a potential conflict with a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, officials have said. U.S. officials said they harbor deep misgivings about withdrawing troops from the area and leaving their close Kurdish allies to an uncertain fate.

It remained unclear late Sunday what Turkey’s incursion into northeastern Syria would mean for the thousands of soldiers captured during the fight against Islamic State. The U.S. official said there was no formal agreement with Turkey over custody of the fighters, but if Turkey was to mount a major incursion, the problem would be all theirs, the official said.

There are nearly 2,000 foreign fighters being held in a handful of detention facilities in northern Syria by the SDF; another 10,000 Syrian and Iraqi fighters are being held there. Tens of thousands of family members—as many as 80,000—are also living in special camps set up for them, officials said. During the fight with Islamic State, the fighters were detained, mostly by members of the SDF.

Understanding the Convoluted Mess

  1. The US is in Syria to fight ISIS. ISIS is a direct result of the US invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
  2. The Kurds are the only US ally in Syria.
  3. Turkey, an alleged US NATO ally, is poised to invade Syria to eliminate the Kurds.
  4. Iran and Turkey have a peaceful relationship and are major trading partners.
  5. Trump's sanctions on Iran harm Turkey.
  6. Turkey recently unleashed a new flood of refugees into Greece with more to come. Last month, the Greek website ekathimerini reported Erdogan Threatens to Flood Europe with Some 5.5 Million Refugees.
  7. Turkey is holding the refugees in return for a bribe payment from the EU initiated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  8. Erdogan wants more money from the EU and for the US to get out of Syria so that it can attack the Kurds.
  9. Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq are allies of Iran.
  10. The US invaded Iraq in the first US-Iraq war to support Kuwait.
  11. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and United Arab Emirates back the US against Iran.
  12. To the ire of Trump, Turkey recently purchased an S-400 air defense system from Russia and cooperates with Moscow in Syria.

Incirlik Air Base

For icing on the mess, 50 of America's nuclear weapons are stationed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, just 70 miles from the Syrian border.

What can possibly go wrong?

Obviously Nothing

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (93)
No. 1-36
Tengen
Tengen

If anyone's playing 4D chess in this scenario, it's Erdogan. I didn't think much of him for a long time but he's played the game well in recent years. His attacks on the House of Saud were particularly impressive.

Last year Trump made noise about getting out of Syria entirely, now we're dragging our feet on leaving only the north. So much for ending the wars, peace breaking out, and the rest of the Q-Anon delusion!

Mish
Mish

Editor

"Other than Wagner and his many Tesla-obsessed aliases, 2banana is probably the biggest troll here. He's not an idiot, he knows how corrupt the Fed and the bankers are, but for some reason is determined to be a partisan jackass anyway. The last few times I called him out he didn't even respond."

Would not surprise me in the least if they were the same person.

Mish
Mish

Editor

2banana says "If there was any fairness - you should be forced to live it in it instead of infecting more sane areas with your political foolishness."

That was in response to me leaving Illinois

Asinine comment of the year - and obviously false too

I support reduced government and government spending. Trump ought to try it.

I am against public unions and have been all my life. Never once voted for a union candidate which makes 2banana a liar.

Trump did nothing on that score. Nor did he propose bankruptcy reform which easily would have passed.

For that, 2banana exposes his anti-Mish bias to the nth degree.

He is clearly a delusional "Trump can do no wrong kind of idiot" hiding behind a TDS accusing mask.

And on top of it, he proposes a policy that amounts to once you are born in a blue state you cannot leave it.

2banana you are really pathetic.

Thanks for exposing yourself

Note: copying this to all new posts until I am sure he has seen it. No response in the next three more posts counting this and he is gone

Mish
Mish

Editor

Not really 4-D chess just playing hardball. What can Trump do but pull out?

Oh ... and brag about it

Of course, we had no business there or in Iraq in the first place

Democritus
Democritus

The USA is in Syria for different reasons. Mainly to weaken Syria, its leader and its people. If it were just about ISIS, the USA would have worked together with Assad. In reality, the USA allowed ISIS and Al Qaeda to thrive by never criticizing Turkey for supporting those organisations, and even now supporting their save haven in Idlib.

KidHorn
KidHorn

Sometimes the only way to get peace is to have a war. I've always felt that way about the middle east. The current setup is untenable. Too many adversaries in one place. I think the west should pull out of the middle east and let them have at it. And whatever consequences occur, everyone has to live with. If the Sunni's want war with the Shiite's, let them have it. If they all want to battle Israel, go at it. I suspect we'll discover there's a lot more bark than bite among the ME nations.

Matt3
Matt3

I think most of us, even if we supported the Iraq war (I did), can agree that these wars have proven to be a mistake. Getting out is the right choice. I hope we do the same in Afghanistan and then avoid more of the Libya type debacles also.

Hansa
Hansa

"1. The US is in Syria to fight ISIS. ISIS is a direct result of the US invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."

No, Mish. The US is in Syria to control the Conoco oil fields and deny this fuel to the Syrian government. Our "withdrawal" from Syria is really a reposition from the Turkish frontier to the Euphrates, in case the Syrian government forces attempt to retake their oil fields as the Kurdish YPG moves northward. And ISIS is a direct result of the CIA, not the overthrow of Saddam. Geez, there are 10 years between Saddam's overthrow and the appearance of ISIS. In fact -- and I do emphasize FACT -- ISIS was formed at a well-photographed meeting of McCain in Syria in 2013 with the conspirators al-Baghdadi, the founder of ISIS, the criminal kidnapper Mohamed Nour, and Abu Ibrahim, the liver-eating cannibal of al-Qaeda. Snopes and the NYT worked overtime debunking tales of that crucial meeting, because that's what they're paid to do.

FromBrussels
FromBrussels

.....and I think to myself.....WHAT A WONDERFUL WOOOORLD.... technologized , informatized,monetized, globalized, and probably many other ' izeds' ....except CIVILIZED...... 10K years later we remain just as primitive underneath a thin veneer that would disappear in a jiffy if necessary ... ANIMALS we are.... the worst, most perverse and destructive kind on the planet ......must be our 'intelligence' ...

Fulgurite
Fulgurite

US troops withdraw from their positions in Northern Syria. Where does it say that they will completely leave the country, and not merely relocated to a different part of Syria?

njbr
njbr

This reinforces the fact that those locals who aid the US in their conflicts will be left on the rack after the US gets tired of the game. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. The Kurds are the ultimate example of this. Think there will chances of blowback?

Carl_R
Carl_R

Well, the Kurds (and other minority factions around the world) will know better next time that you can't trust the US. The US is fickle, and will hang minorities out to dry when it becomes inconvenient to support tehm.

JonSellers
JonSellers

The USA doesn't have allies. It has pawns. And pawns are expendable.

Latkes
Latkes

Mish, what would you have done in this specific situation if you were the US president?

Sechel
Sechel

turkey was never going to war with the u.s.

abend237-04
abend237-04

This shit sandwich has taken 100 years to assemble, but it appears finally ready to explode. Turkey may not even realize it, but she's very much in the empire building business. Empires are all alike in always having, "troubled border regions." Turkey's is the Kurds. For Russia, it's the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, etc.

For those keeping score, you'll recall Gertrude Bell's warnings to Churchill about the folly of using a road atlas to carve up the failed Ottoman empire after WWl, ignoring tribal boundaries, ethnic groups like the Kurds, etc., etc. We are a North American empire. Syria is not our "troubled border region." Let's invade Mexico or Cuba...before they've all come here illegally.

numike
numike

all glory is fleeting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPiH-LBna5I

Mish
Mish

Editor

Q: Mish, what would you have done in this specific situation if you were the US president?

A: Not get involved in the first place

No war in Iraq Not sending chemicals to Hussein Not getting involved in Libya or Yemen Not going to Syria Accepted the peace agreement with Iran Not let Israel set our foreign policy

Mish
Mish

Editor

Great and unmatched Wisdom

avidremainer
avidremainer

There is an Arab joke about the British which seems to apply:

Q. Is it better to be a friend or an enemy of the British?

A. Enemy, if you are an enemy there is every chance you will be bought. If you are a friend there is the certainty you will be sold.

indc
indc

Is US going to arm Assad's troops now that they dont want to stay there? You make them defenseless and talk about moral high ground. Why is US ok with turkey attacking kurds, who want to live their own life.

Fulgurite
Fulgurite

"...pulls troops out of Syria."

Why can't you dumb Americans read your own (easy) language?

Where does it say that the troops will actually LEAVE Syria? Nowhere!

The official US policy is that US troops "...will no longer be in the immediate area."

IMMEDIATE area! Not OUTSIDE of Syria!

crazyworld
crazyworld

Everybody forgot that if there are so many ISIS prisoners on the KURDE side of SYRIA it is because they surrendered in mass to that unofficial Syrian army existing only by virtue of the Western countries war support. They even abandoned the northern oil fields to the Kurds by fear of having to be dealt with by the nearby Syrian Army who would have considered them as war criminals (as they were). Syrian is a country under martial law and most would have been executed so far.

I fear, if left alone, Turkey could send them to the weak European union as kindly educated migrants if they are not satisfied with Europe subsidies. Let us see what happen, the Kurdes could also make important deals with Syria and their allies in order to block Turkey Northern Syria invasion.

njbr
njbr

Thanks for the tweet reminding us that a trip to the hardware store is required to remedy the "unhinged" situation.

If the in phrase "in my great and unmatched wisdom" doesn't provoke laughter or bowel spasms, you need to call a doctor.

njbr
njbr

...A new report released by the Department of Defense this week revealed that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been emboldened by the partial removal of U.S. troops from Syria and policy shifts in Iraq.

The report, released by the Pentagon's inspector general, details how the drawdown of U.S. troops has forced the Trump administration to rely on third-party monitoring of some areas, including a refugee camp set up by U.S.-backed forces....

...The buildup of ISIS forces in Syria and Iraq comes after the Trump administration and U.S.-backed forces had pushed the terror group out of its last major holdings in Syria earlier this year, forcing the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, into hiding and driving the group underground.

Local officials now worry that the group's ideology is being spread among inhabitants of refugee camps along the Syrian border where families of ISIS fighters and some former fighters themselves now are staying....

crazyworld
crazyworld

As far as the US troops presence in middle-east is concerned, obviously the US Army is not leaving the Syrian area. If we read between the lines, we understand that The US Army is still there now because ISRAEL is nearby and under permanent threats amongst other by IRAN.The TRUMP unilateral reject of the Nuclear treaty with Iran (ISRAEL was strongly opposed to it (and I understand their position)) is one of the proves of ISRAEL new influence on the US administration. What else can we do. ISRAEL is threatened to be destroyed by all radical muslims whatever the country they live in all around ISRAEL. As far as US and European inhabitants of non muslim culture are concerned, so far the threat by radicals only (geographycaly remote but it change as they slowly invade their countries) apply ONLY IF they dont convert to ISLAM. Could be that TRUMP action regarding the invasion of Northern Syria by TURKEY is a warning to some congressman from the democrat side harassing him.

abend237-04
abend237-04

"I, in my great and unmatched wisdom..." I suspect The Donald is tired of his experts disagreeing and is being a bit facetious here, in the vein of President Truman once lamenting his lack of a "one-armed economist," Trump is finding it impossible to find a one-armed military expert.

Suddenly, in the wake of his taking a clear position, one-armed experts abound, all of whom appear to be adamant that someone else's son or daughter keep the peace in Syria. I'd love to be a fly on the wall listening to the military staffs in Moscow, Damascus, and Ankara discussing strategy in the wake of Trump's move. Atop all their agendas: 1.Trump has declared the Americans out. 2.Who deals, and how, with the 20,000 ISIS wingnuts in the prisoner compounds scattered all over northern Syria? 3.Who pays for it, and how?

abend237-04
abend237-04

And while I'm speculating... Could it be that the much-maligned and oft-attacked Kurds have been making their own plans since Saddam tried to kill them all? The Kurds number thirty five million people, comprising 20% of Turkey's population, 10% of Iraq's, 10% of Syria's, etc. Million man armies can easily be raised from a united population of that size. Kurds sit astride the northern Iraqi oil fields, providing the means to sustain such armies. Ankara, Baghdad and Damascus may find the Kurds are far more than just another troubled border region...perhaps a nation in waiting armed to the teeth and tired of being stomped, gassed and shot like rats at the West Asia dump.

Mish
Mish

Editor

"Mish, I specifically asked in this specific situation. Trump inherited this situation. What would you do if you inherited this situation?"

I would have advised the world I would pull all US troops Out of Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Japan, Cuba, and the entire rest of the world on a new policy

"The US is no longer the World's Policeman"

I would have further announced that neither Israel nor Saudi Arabia sets US policy and that we would be neutral towards Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

In regards to Europe, I would have advised the EU that if they feel a need to defend itself from Russia, then Germany and the EU would have to foot the bill, not the US.

If any country specifically asked for US troops they would have to pay for them, and we might not take up the offer.

US troops are better used on the Border with Mexico than in Japan.

I would have announced a date for all this as soon as I was elected. I would have given countries 1 year notice.

That specific enough?

wootendw
wootendw

"What can possibly go wrong?"

Not nearly as much as if the US stays longer.

What is likely is that Turkey, which has been working with Russia, will exit from Syria as Syrian forces move in and the Kurds ally with them.

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

"in my great and unmatched wisdom": laugh of the century! Really a stable genius!

FloydVanPeter
FloydVanPeter

"Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq are allies of Iran."

Corrections:

The Ruling party of Syria is allied with Iran. The majority of the population hates Iran! Let me know if you need more details...

Lebanon is not an ally of Iran. Rather, Hezbollah the strongest militia in Lebanon (stronger than the Lebanese army) is a proxy of Iran! The Lebanese officials have a single option to choose from...

Can't comment about Kuwait .

The situation in Iraq is dicey with conflicting interests. It noteworthy that the Ottomans in their wisdom administered Iraq as three separate administrative regions for the major population sectors (Kurds, Suni-Arabs, and Shia).

"Saudi Arabia, Jordan and United Arab Emirates back the US against Iran

I suspect that it is the other way around.

Remo Grecko
Remo Grecko

The Charter of the UN explicitly guarantees the security of smaller nations/civilians through the UNSC. By allowing Turkey to attack the US allied Kurds, Mr Trump made a mockery of the International Order as we know it. No country aligned to the US would feel safe anymore. Mr Trump has achieved what no other US leader could have achieved within the space of two years-reversing all the gains of the previous administration plus the destruction of US leadership in the most troubled part of the world. The Republican senators should consider this unwise decision the straw that broke Trump's presidency.

Freebees2me
Freebees2me

Trump Foreign Policy:

From this day forward, America shall govern her foreign policy based on putting America first (and fully expecting every other country shall do the same for itself). Gone are the days where America's foreign policy shall be driven by efforts to negate the interests of adversaries (whether actual or perceived).

And the Swamp hates it......

Ebowalker
Ebowalker

The CIA picked a fight with Trump and hes fighting back. Hes finally doing things we hoped he would. It will cost him his presidency but hopefully it helps end the mass slaughter of innocent civilians

FloydVanPeter
FloydVanPeter

It took less than a week to find out what transpires after the withdrawal of the partly US forces. The MSM silence is deafening.