Will it stop the bloodshed and help prevent the resurgence of ISIS?
Fri Oct 18, 2019 Joseph Klein 144
President Trump’s critics have regularly blasted his style of diplomacy, in which he combines bad cop, good cop rhetoric with the use of sanctions and tariffs to exert maximum economic pressure on the party he is trying to influence. This style was on display again this past week as President Trump tried to navigate the outbreak of conflict between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds that the president’s critics blame on his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeast Syria. Before President Trump proceeded with completing the troop withdrawal, he sent a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly encouraging him to make a good deal with the Kurds while threatening Turkey with economic devastation if it persists with its military operation against the Kurds.
Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo followed up with a visit to Ankara, where they secured an agreement to end the violence for now between Turkey and the Kurds in Syria pending the establishment of an expanded “safe zone” that Turkey has been seeking. While Turkish forces and allied Syrian insurgents halt their offensive, the Syrian Kurd forces would be expected to surrender their positions 20 miles from the Turkey-Syria border. As part of the deal, the U.S. will not put new sanctions in place and end the current sanctions if a real ceasefire endures.
Turkey is referring to the negotiated deal as a “pause,” not a full-fledged “ceasefire.” Vice President Pence used the term “pause” in his own remarks. He declared, “The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours,” referring to the Syrian Democratic Forces' People Protection Units, a primarily Kurdish militia. “All military operations under operation peace spring will be paused, and operation peace spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal. Our administration has already been in contact with Syrian defense forces, and we have already begun to facilitate their safe withdrawal from the nearly 20-mile wide safe zone area South of the Turkish border in Syria.”
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