Trump Orders U.S. Forces to Withdraw From Northern Syria
The Wall Street Journal reports Trump Orders U.S. Forces to Withdraw From Northern Syria
The U.S. military is evacuating its roughly 1,000 troops from northern Syria at the direction of President Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said, removing a last impediment to Turkey’s expanding incursion into Syria and marking an accelerated U.S. pullback from the international anti-Islamic State campaign.
Amid rapidly changing dynamics, the U.S. military said in a revised assessment on Sunday that Turkish artillery deliberately targeted areas within hundreds of feet of American troops on Friday. Hundreds of relatives of imprisoned Islamic State fighters fled refugee camps after Kurdish security personnel fled Turkish shelling.
Within Syria, there are few places where troops can move southward to reach the Iraqi border. In areas like those around the city of Deir ez Zour, Russia and Syrian troops are camped out, defense officials said. Officials said they are assessing whether they can expand their footprint into eastern Syria.
Mr. Esper, calling it “a very terrible situation,” said he spoke to Mr. Trump on Saturday evening. “After discussions with the rest of the national-security team…[the president] directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria,” Mr. Esper told CBS on Sunday.
Otherwise, U.S. troops would be “likely caught between opposing advancing armies,” as Russian-backed units advance northward and Turkey expands its incursion southward, Mr. Esper said.
Sanctions Ready to Go
Bloomberg reports Trump Says ‘Ready to Go’ on Turkey Sanctions as Troops Leave
President Donald Trump said the U.S. is “ready to go” with more sanctions on Turkey in response to its incursion into Syria, after his defense secretary said the president ordered a deliberate withdrawal of troops from northern Syria to keep them out of harm’s way.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said the U.S has full authority to impose sanctions quickly on Turkey that could include shutting down all U.S. dollar transactions with the country’s entire government -- which is a step the administration may take.
Asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” about videos circulating that appear to show the execution of some Kurds, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said if true, they “would be war crimes” -- raising questions about whether talk of imposing economic sanctions may be coming too late.
Esper said the U.S. learned in the past 24 hours that Turkey is likely to attack further south and to the west in Syria, and that Kurdish forces are looking to cut a deal with Syria and Russia to counterattack against the Turks in the north.
There are roughly 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria, Esper said on CBS. He made it clear that if U.S. forces are attacked they will be able to respond because “we had the right of self-defense and we will execute it if necessary.”
“We may want a war over; we may even declare it over,” Mattis said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “You can pull your troops out -- as President Obama learned the hard way, out of Iraq -- but the ‘enemy gets the vote,’ we say in the military.”
Turkish Lira Bears May Go All In
Bloomberg reports Trump’s Sanction Threat May Give Lira Bears License to Go All In
The lira’s worst week since March may pale in comparison to what could happen when markets reopen on Monday.
Bearishness on the currency -- as measured by one-month risk reversals -- rose by the most since March last week on the prospect of more U.S. sanctions after Turkey started a military operation in Syria. Those bets are likely to soar after President Donald Trump said on Twitter that the U.S. “Treasury is ready to go” if additional sanctions are needed.
His comments came after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Washington could shut down all dollar business with Turkey.
Bring All the Troops Home
Trump only is pulling Troops out of Northern Syria because Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan informed Trump that Turkey was sending in troops.
"Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them! We are monitoring the situation closely. Endless Wars!" Tweeted Trump.
On the same grounds we should pull all US troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan, Germany, Turkey, and everywhere else.
Bring all the troops home from everywhere. The US cannot afford to be the world's policeman, nor should we try even if we could.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock