Friday, April 6, 2018

Manbij Quandary- US Turkish Tensions to Worsen & Mattis set to go

You better believe the Manbij situation and the possible kicking to the curb of Mattis are connected! Flashback: Jim Mattis- His alleged appeasement of Turkey is pretty questionable however it may have been too much for the superhawks in the Trump Whitehouse. FrontPage Magazine: Time to Get Tough With Turkey
     “There can be no doubt that the appeasement policy carried out by the outgoing national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, and Rex Tillerson, has failed miserably. How deeply SecDef Jim Mattis buys into that policy could be a factor in his survival on the Trump team”
Jim Mattis will likely be tossed to the curb in short order.
That was my thought on March 29/18. Today’s news leads me to believe Mattis may indeed  be given the Trump boot! Vanity Fair:Running Out of Punching Bags, Trump Turns on Mattis
The president has wasted no time turning Mattis into his next McMaster.

So how long before the official announcement?

The trouble at Manbij- Sigh...I’ve written about the Manbij issue for nearly two years now??
This goes back to Obama and a promise made to Turkey regarding the Kurdish proxies occupying and annexing Syria alongside Usrael. This situation flies so low under the radar that is has failed to garner any real notice in the Usrael led/sycophant media.

Wayback!  August 2016: Turkey: US to Keep Manbij Promise?
"The U.S. and the President Barack Obama personally promised that PYD members in the SDF would be withdrawn to the east of the Euphrates River. Now the U.S. must keep its promise, and we expect them to. We are maintaining our communications regarding this matter."
It’s now April 2018 and the situation is  actually  even worse in Manbij. It’s chock  full of PKK. And it’s been shored up by France, the US and of course Britain. The zioimperialists.
US Stationed in Manbij

“Speaking to Sputnik, representatives of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the self-proclaimed Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava) confirmed that the US-led coalition has been increasing its presence in Manbij, with a US, French and British military contingent being deployed in the region.”
I’d mentioned some of  this increased presence in an earlier post :FSA Behind Manbij Bomb Resulting in Two Special Ops Casualties??
The United States is reportedly sending additional troops to the northern Syrian town of Manbij where Turkey threatens to attack soon.

“The reinforcements were deployed near the Sajur River,” according to Anadolu Agency. “Also, reinforcements were deployed around Zub'ul Bayn village, west of Manbij.”
That background, extremely minimal and breezed through... Let’s now cut to the chase now
U.S.-Turkish Tensions in Syria: The Manbij Conundrum

A very long article that you should read entirely as I’m only using excerpts (highlighted) below.
"The long-simmering dispute between Turkey and the United States over the future of the town of Manbij and territory east of the Euphrates immediately below the Turkish-Syrian border intensified after the completion of Ankara’s successful military operation against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin.

Erdogan, who oversaw the operation as commander-in-chief—while announcing advances into Afrin along with numbers of YPG fighters killed on a daily basis (3,872 as of April 2)—has long been focusing on Manbij, which the YPG took from the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2016. His strategy seems designed to leverage the demonstration of the use of force in Afrin to nudge the United States to do what it was previously unwilling to do despite innumerable Turkish appeals over the past two years

Even if the U.S. soldiers there are not withdrawn—Erdogan is hoping to finally force the United States to review and ultimately terminate the de facto alliance it established with the YPG against ISIS, albeit under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF),

On March 22, Erdogan took his case directly to President Donald Trump once again in their first phone conversation since January 24, a few days into the Afrin operation. (Which garnered no mention in the official readout- though it was undoubtedly mentioned) The timing of the call was unfortunate, however, as it took place while Trump was preoccupied with his impending move later that day to remove National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

As speculation in Washington intensified about a possible change in Trump’s Syria policy, (There was no change, and there wasn’t going to be any change)  Erdogan followed up with a second call to him in eight days on March 30. While the White House readout stressed only the joint reaffirmation of the commitment “to work through issues that affect the bilateral relationship,”

“Turkey initiated its military operation in Afrin after getting a green light from Russia.  Moscow chose to give its implicit assent and cleared the way for the Turkish advance by withdrawing its military liaisons from Afrin.”  I’ve written mulitple times about this obvious fact.

“ Erdogan had every reason to expect such a response. He has been enjoying a very close relationship with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, characterized by a seemingly constant phone dialogue interspersed with frequent visits”

 I cover that fact all the time here because it seems quite obvious there is a whole lot of cooperation between Turkey and Russia!
“Turkey’s continued participation with Russia and Iran—the two countries primarily responsible for sustaining Bashar al-Assad’s rule and frustrating the prolonged Turkish-backed effort by his opponents—in the Moscow-sponsored “Astana process,” has been a crucial component of Putin’s efforts to cap his military success in Syria with a diplomatic triumph involving an eventual peace settlement.”
“There was also a more tactical and cynical quid pro quo in Putin’s calculations. Russia intensified its aerial bombing in support of Assad’s merciless advance into opposition-held east Ghouta near Damascus parallel to Turkey’s move into Afrin”

Erdogan and Putin were meeting in Ankara to formally launch the construction by Russia of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant and reconfirm Turkey’s purchase of its S-400 air defense system
 It’s called realpolitik- Again these topics have all been covered here- most recently .
In contrast to the honeymoon-like atmosphere in its relations with Moscow, Ankara’s relationship with Washington continued to be severely tested by differences, most notably over Manbij and the YPG. After having been “repeatedly deceived,”as he invariably characterizes his futile dialogue on this subject with Barack Obama, Erdogan harbored great hopes of a favorable change with Trump.
Trumps position has been EXACTLY THE SAME as Obama’s-
Washington refrained from disengagement from the YPG in its evolving post-Raqqa Syria strategy. In fact, the U.S. Department of Defense chose to increase the military assistance that would be given in 2018 to the SDF from $430 million to $500 million.
Reconciling the Irreconcilable?
It is clear that until the emergence of a revised post-Raqqa Syria strategy, the current U.S. engagement with the YPG will be sustained by General Joseph Votel, U.S. CENTCOM commander. (With our without Mattis?)

The deliberately public visit to Manbij on February 7 of two senior U.S. generals directly involved in the cooperative effort with the YPG, Paul Funk and Jamie Jarrard, reinforced the U.S. military’s message to Ankara. While in Manbij, Funk warned “You hit us, we will respond aggressively. We will defend ourselves.”
I reported this deliberate public visit here: US Special Forces Very Proud of Their Occupation
It's pretty obvious that tensions are escalating in Northern Syria.  The US has sent an undeniable F U message to Turkey.  I personally can't interpret this latest report any other way.
On February 11, McMaster undertook a trip with minimum fanfare to Istanbul for a meeting with presidential adviser Ibrahim Kalin.
Kalin restated Turkish demands relating to Manbij and the YPG, while McMaster sought to convince his Turkish interlocutor about Washington’s desire to find a compromise

This was followed by a meeting between Mattis and his Turkish counterpart, Nurettin Canikli, on the sidelines of a NATO event in Brussels on February 14, after which Canikli revealed with astonishment that Mattis had proposed “separating the PKK and the YPG” and “to get the YPG to fight the PKK,” while assuring him that the United States was “working on a plan to collect the weapons given to the YPG” as previously promised.

I can see why the Turks were flabbergasted! How stupid did the Americans really believe they were? Come on! That’s an absurd proposal. It’s the ISIS vs Kurds game all over again. Only an absolute fool would put forth such an idiotic idea. American diplomacy is non existent, or what is more likely, is the US just doesn’t give a dam about their NATO ally! Which I believe is the most likely reason that Mattis proposed such nonsense. Mattis blowing smoke

However, he (Tillerson) chose to pursue a much more conciliatory track in Ankara. Soon after his arrival, he allowed himself to be ushered into a three-and-a-half-hour meeting with Erdogan without any other U.S. official present, and Cavusoglu, the only other participant, as translator.

I’d characterize Tillerson as humouring Erdogan.. But he’s gone!

Erdogan’s skeptical approach was justified. Although the first working group meeting focusing on Manbij duly convened at the U.S. State Department on March 8–9, it was inconclusive.

Although diplomatic contacts failed to solve the crisis, they had the virtue from the U.S. point of view of helping to avoid an armed confrontation. On March 27, for example, Mattis welcomed the fact that there had been “no move on Manbij.”
Erdogan criticized the United States by saying “They say they will not leave Manbij. You do not have the right to be there in the first place…All the American officials with whom we have been in touch since the Obama administration guaranteed us that the terrorist organization will be removed from Manbij once the ISIS threat is eliminated. There were even those who said this would be done within weeks. Years have gone by and nothing has been done.”
 Can you blame Erdogan and/or the Turks for not trusting the US. In my opinion the Turks have been very, very patient. While the US cavorts with terrorists in their backyard. At their border. It’s outrageous really. It’s certainly not anything the US would tolerate!

I’m going to try to wrap this up:
Looking Ahead-
If Trump were to decide to accede to his Turkish counterpart’s demands on Manbij and proceed to implement his decision by lining up the currently dysfunctional national security team behind it, this would not by itself get the relationship back on track. This issue is only the most visible current symptom of the general malaise that has long bedeviled relations, and there are many other problems that will need to be resolved. ( The coup and Gulen)  
 Moreover, Erdogan would then surely insist, as he constantly reiterates, on the complete elimination of YPG control throughout the entire belt immediately south of the Turkish-Syrian border from the Euphrates to the Iraqi border. However, it would undoubtedly provide a major diplomatic achievement for Erdogan, without a risky operation involving the probability of a clash with U.S. troops and additional Turkish casualties.

However, in the meanwhile the administration will effectively stick to its current policy of maintaining the tactical alliance with the YPG under the SDF umbrella against the remnants of ISIS–as Votel reaffirmed once again in a speech in Washington on the same day–while trying simultaneously to preserve the strategic partnership with Turkey. Needless to say, this suggests continued turbulence in the U.S.-Turkish relationship.
The US Does NOT want to make nice with Turkey. Not the nation state as is exists today. The US does not want to preserve their partnership Or they would not have cavorted with PKK. Coddled Gulen. Attempted a coup. - They absolutely do not want to fix these issues. Because if they did, they already would have! It's pretty straightforward.

From earlier today:

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.... in April


  1. Hi Pen, you wrote-
    "The US Does NOT want to make nice with Turkey. Not the nation state as is exists today. The US does not want to preserve their partnership Or they would not have cavorted with PKK. Coddled Gulen. Attempted a coup. - They absolutely do not want to fix these issues. Because if they did, they already would have! It's pretty straightforward."

    Well said! It is blindingly simple. You would think everyone could see that: but they don't.

    It never ceases to amaze me that anyone would ever bother to negotiate anything with the US. They never keep their agreements. They always negotiate in bad faith.

    Mind you, I have no sympathy for Erdogan. His psychopathic ego got him (and, alas, the Turkish people) into this jam with his dreams of re-establishing the Caliphate.

  2. Hey James! Good to see you It is blindingly simple and obvious- two years the US and Turkey have been going back and forth of Manbij, the PKK and the US has really just flipped Turkey off the entire time- Plus they attempted the coup-
    I honestly think at this point in time that if people aren't seeing what's going on it's because they don't want to-

    I want to address some past history regarding Turkey and Syria- If I ever get the time to do it, cause it's been on my mind- I reread some comments from the Syrian fellow who hailed from Aleppo that really got me thinking and rethinking many aspects of this destabilization.

    bye for now!

    1. I think a history review would be very valuable, Pen. The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. This is especially so when dealing with psychopaths such as Erdogan or the collective Anglo-Zionist empire. In that case it is a solid gold principle.

      So we have Turkey (Erdogan) and the US who always lie when dealing diplomatically and Russia and Syria who never lie diplomatically. One side relies on bluff while the other never bluffs.

      The psychopathic wolves co-operate while there is a sheep to devour. But remove the sheep (Syria) and they turn on each other claiming the other lied to them. Shock horror!

      Russia (who diplomatically never lies and keeps its commitments) is allying with Turkey (that always lies and never keeps its commitments). The minute Russia trusts Turkey and makes itself the least bit vulnerable, Russia will experience loss and betrayal.

      Hopefully, Russia has a loaded gun and locked on Erdogan at all times.

      I think it is entirely possible (and in keeping with past behaviour) that when the US realises that it is going to get tossed out of Syria, it will turn on the Kurds (again) and offer them up to Turkey in return for Turkey turning on Russia and Syria. I expect that Erdogan is playing for this result.

      Should the US do this and re-establish itself in Syria, it will then turn on Turkey again and make nice to the ever psychopathic and therefore stupid Kurd leaders. And once more round the merry-go-round: psychopaths (predictably) behaving like psychopaths.

      Psychopaths can only win when honourable people trust them. Hopefully, Russia and Syria are only dealing with Turkey because they know Erdogan is untrustworthy (as demonstrated repeatedly by history) and therefore entirely predictable.

      So I think a little history lesson from you on this would be enlightening, to say to least, Pen!

    2. I should add that before the US offers up the Kurds-PKK et al to the Turks, it will first try to destabilise Turkey, as you have predicted for a long time, Pen.

      I don't think the US will be successful in that because of the (temporary) alliance between Erdogan and Russia: and the whole point of that alliance as far as Erdogan is concerned.

    3. thanks james- I am still hoping to get that done, but, look what's going on?
      I've been gathering up stories all morning for a post- it's so time consuming and yet so necessary

      thanks again for the valuable input james :)

    4. You're welcome, Pen, and good luck. All power to your pen!