Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Turkey to launch attack against Kurds in Syria

Turkey to launch attack against Kurds in Syria

That US military support for the YPG has shaken relations between Washington and Ankara.

He went on to list a sequence of crises in the Middle East - some of which have roots that predate the Obama administration - citing the explosive growth of ISIS, Syria's killing of its own citizens, Iran's moves to expand its influence, and Hezbollah's stockpiling of rockets.

Pompeo will likely face questions about last month's surprise announcement that US troops would soon leave northeastern Syria, where they help battle remnants of the Islamic State group.

The US top diplomat criticised US President Donald Trump's predecessor Obama for being naive and timid when confronted with challenges posed by the revolts that convulsed the Middle East, including Egypt, beginning in 2011. "It did come as a surprise to many", he said. Trump initially said it would be immediate, which alarmed his advisors and drove Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis to resign. Although we had openly discussed with Mr. Trump, different voices from certain circles of the USA administration are now heard.

In his initial reaction to the turnabout in US policy, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan certainly gave no indication of willingness to offer any guarantees.

In Qatar, Pompeo is likely to find a somewhat skeptical reception from a regime that has been under relentless attack from Saudi Arabia and its other Gulf allies for its willingness to defend Iran.

The Saudis have often complained to the USA about the Iranian military presence in Syria. "The threat from radical Islamic terrorism is going to be with us for a while, and we're determined to stay at it and continue to make sure that the resurgence of large land-based caliphates like ISIS don't happen on our watch".

It has vowed to increase the pressure until Iran halts what USA officials describe as its "malign activities" throughout the Mideast and elsewhere, including support for rebels in Yemen, anti-Israel groups, and Syrian President Bashar Assad. "Now comes the real 'new beginning, '" he said.

A line of U.S. military vehicles drive through a checkpoint of the Internal Security Forces in Manbij as they head to their base on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city on December 30, 2018. "This is not in the interest of any Arab country", the Egyptian source said. Salih told the secretary that Baghdad "will need the support of (U.S. troops)", and expressed his "gratitude to the US for its support, over the years".

"It feels a little bit as if the approach is to 'talk loudly and carry a small stick, '" said Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

Egypt, the source said, had made it clear that this was not something it saw as useful for regional stability. Trump and his Egyptian counterpart Sisi have lavished one another with praise on several occasions.

On a trip to Cairo, Pompeo insisted Trump's decision is final and Bolton's remarks did not contradict it.

"We see that the U.S.is having difficulties in its decision to withdraw from Syria".

In a scathing response on Twitter, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif mockingly said Teran will "mimic" U.S. policy in the Middle East "when hell freezes over".

Nina Shea, a leading advocate for persecuted Christians and the director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., told the Register that she was very anxious about the likely impact of Trump's pivot on Syria. Relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been rocked by turbulence in the past few years over Syria policy, US sanctions on Iran, trade tariffs, Erdogan's warming relationship with Moscow, and the Turkish detention of an American pastor, who was released in October. Just last September, Bolton pledged that the USA would stay in the war-torn country as long as adversary Iran remains active there.

The secretary of state delivered a speech Thursday at the American University in Cairo about how the U.S. will partner with Egypt and the broader Middle East to fight Iranian aggression in the region.

Last month, Erdogan threatened to launch a cross-border operation against the YPG, east of the Euphrates River, which he said later would be delayed after Trump's pullout order. "But this isn't a change of mission", he said.

In a press statement made in Cairo, Abbas reiterated a statement suggesting that he could not agree to what the Americans seemed to be offering. Others called it a breach of diplomatic norms at the least.

At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was said to have tried in vain to persuade Trump to walk back the decision, which was met with significant "disappointment" in Jerusalem, Israeli media reported.

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