Aaron Stein is a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.
The two countries are trying to work together in Manbij, and it isn’t going well.
"Last week, the United States and Turkey started joint military patrols in the Syrian town of Manbij. The patrols are part of the second phase of the so-called Manbij Roadmap, an agreement the two countries signed this year to try to lessen tensions between them in Syria. Despite some progress, the plan hasn’t really worked, and what happens in the city could further undermine an already strained U.S.-Turkish relationship"Recall my repetitively stating that this agreement is a non starter?
"Manbij, which lies near the Syrian border with Turkey, has long been a point of contention between the two powers. In 2016, the United States, together with allied Kurdish forces, made a push to oust the Islamic State from the city. The mission was meant to block the militant group from access to the Turkish border, and it came in preparation for a larger campaign to liberate Raqqa slated for the following year. But the operation violated a long-standing Turkish red line against any Kurdish presence west of the Euphrates River.""Manbij, which lies near the Syrian border with Turkey, has long been a point of contention between the two powers" As has been stated here again and again- going back years now.
- Tuesday, August 16, 2016 - Turkey: US to Keep Manbij Promise? 3 Step Road Map: Assad Stays. Cooperating with Iran & More
I'm going to repeat this fact. Fact. Not lie. Not obfuscation. Not perception management
"Ankara was none too pleased. It viewed the westward march of Kurdish militias as a threat to its national security. And so, just after the fall of Manbij,(ethnic cleansing of Manbij) in the summer of 2016 Turkish troops invaded northern Aleppo. The Turkish operation, dubbed Euphrates Shield, ousted the Islamic State from its last positions along the border. But it also blocked all potential overland routes for the Kurds to push west toward the isolated canton of Afrin, where they would have joined with another contingent of Kurdish forces holed up there. In early 2018, Ankara followed Euphrates Shield with a second operation, dubbed Olive Branch, through which it took full control of Afrin and drove out the Syrian Kurds. (ahem- largely not Syrian Kurds)
During the buildup for that operation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled that Manbij could be next. And in a January speech, he warned U.S. troops not to get too close to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the most powerful Kurdish militia among those with which the United States works in Syria. The YPG also happens to be connected to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an insurgent group that has been active in Turkey since 1984"
YPG = PKK.
"The YPG also happens to be connected to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an insurgent group that has been active in Turkey since 1984."
The Manbij Roadmap has been plagued by a "lack of clarity" BY DESIGN
"To smooth things over with Turkey, former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Ankara in February to meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The two agreed to establish two working groups, one on Syria and one on broader issues in the U.S.-Turkish relationship, including the detention of U.S. citizens, the conviction of a Turkish national in New York, and Ankara’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system.
The working groups, which launched soon after Tillerson’s trip, had mixed results. In June, though, the two sides did reach an agreement on Manbij. Together, they crafted a road map to work together, rather than at cross-purposes, in the city. The plan called for independent patrols by each country along the area’s border, which would be followed by integrated military patrols down the line. Now that the joint patrols have started, the road map’s second phase is supposed to kick in. That will involve the United States and Turkey vetting members for the Manbij Military Council, which currently governs the city.
But the Manbij Roadmap has been plagued by a lack of clarity from the start."
"Ankara has insisted that the agreement was supposed to have a tight timeline. But the United States, for its part, has maintained that both sides were supposed to meet specific conditions before moving from stage to stage. The back-and-forth has undermined the road map’s intended effect: Tensions between the erstwhile allies remain high, and no one is sure what will come next"No agreement. Honestly it can't be claimed that there is an agreement went not one party, of either of the two parties participating in said agreement, can agree on what that agreement actually is! It's absurd to call this an agreement!
" Over and over again, Erdogan has made clear that he views Manbij as a stepping stone for clearing all YPG presence from eastern Syria. To underscore the point, Turkey has recently bombarded YPG positions near Manbij and elsewhere along the Syrian-Turkish border with artillery fire.
Turkey intends to use the military pressure to accomplish two things: first, to try to convince the United States to drop its Kurdish partners, and second, to force Washington to negotiate Manbij Roadmap-style agreements for other towns in eastern Syria. (Why would Turkey want to negotiate more nonsensical agreements with a duplicitous partner? Seems absurd.) Implicit is Turkey’s threat that if the United States doesn’t do what Turkey wants, it will continue to rain munitions down on territory that has, for the past several years, been relatively conflict free"Relatively conflict free for several years?- Sure ask all those Syrians who were living in their homes but are now stuck in refugee camps. Or worse.
The US will simply get their proxies to attack Turkey.. So they can claim innocence while covering up the fact they are standing alongside them. They've delivered tons of weapons and vehicles in recent months... Heavy equipment for trenches. It's a total hardening of positions.
"The United States, despite having had ample public warning from the Turkish government, appears to have been caught off guard by the recent uptick in shelling. (Off guard? Oh poor wittle United States. Bad Turkey.) It is struggling to respond, vacillating between trying to placate Turkey by privately hinting about future concessions along the border and quietly rebuking the Turks and warning that U.S. forces will defend themselves if fired on"
The United States’ top priority is to prevent Turkey from destabilizing northern Syria. (That is as written by Mr Stein- Turkey "destabilizing" northern Syria) The Turkish attacks challenge a central assumption about the direction of the Syrian civil war: that the various front lines have hardened and that the combatants’ existing positions can be used as the basis for negotiations to end the conflict. But the United States doesn’t really have a good option for responding to Turkey—it is not going to drop the Kurds, like Turkey wants, or start bombing Turkey in order to get that country to fall in line"
"The United States’ only realistic interim step is to try to fix the Manbij Roadmap in an attempt to take the immediate point of conflict out of the equation. Without another round of talks to flesh out the agreement, the process of vetting new members for the governing council is certain to be fraught, with each side withholding national intelligence about why it deems certain people to be off-limits. If the process breaks down entirely, Ankara will likely only increase the pressure on the Kurds in Syria"The US is already ok with that-
And just for the hell of it! More then two years old!
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