Politics: As Capitol Hill Drafts Sanctions on Turkey, Trump Shrugs at Kurds - PressFrom - US

Politics As Capitol Hill Drafts Sanctions on Turkey, Trump Shrugs at Kurds

02:20  10 october  2019
02:20  10 october  2019 Source:   thedailybeast.com

Erdogan, Trump to meet next month in Washington amid Syria tensions: Turkey

  Erdogan, Trump to meet next month in Washington amid Syria tensions: Turkey President Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have agreed to meet in Washington in November amid tensions over Syria, Reuters reported Sunday.The agreement came during a phone call Sunday where the two leaders discussed a "safe zone" east of the Euphrates River in Syria from which Kurdish fighters would be withdraw, Ankara reportedly announced.The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.Conflict between the U.S. and Turkey over Kurdish fighters in Syria has been brewing for years.America is allied with the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which the U.S.

Civilians flee as airstrikes and artillery hit border region as Trump says about Kurds : ‘They didn’t help us in Normandy’.

President Trump ’s decision to clear the way for a Turkish military operation drew fire from top Republican supporters, who called it shortsighted and irresponsible. “I will do everything I can to sanction Turkey if they step one foot in northeastern Syria. That will sever my relationship with Turkey .

Capitol Hill managed a rare show of unity on Wednesday, as lawmakers from both parties recoiled in horror at a lightning-fast Turkish invasion of Kurdish territory in Syria and coalesced around the idea of responding through tough new sanctions on Turkey.

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: Deilil Souleiman/Getty© Provided by The Daily Beast Deilil Souleiman/Getty

And nearly every single one - regardless of party - blamed President Donald Trump for starting it all, when he abruptly announced on Sunday the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Kurdish lands in northern Syria.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who spent the week engaging in a lengthy Twitter tirade against the president’s decision, ratcheted up his rhetoric on Wednesday morning against Turkey and the administration.

Trump defends Syria move: The Kurds 'didn't help us' in Normandy

  Trump defends Syria move: The Kurds 'didn't help us' in Normandy President Trump on Wednesday criticized the Kurds, saying they didn't help the United States during World War II and that they were only fighting for their land in Syria during the battle against ISIS."The Kurds are fighting for their land," Trump told reporters at the White House during an event in the Roosevelt Room."And as somebody wrote in a very, very powerful article today, they didn't help us in the second World War, they didn't"The Kurds are fighting for their land," Trump told reporters at the White House during an event in the Roosevelt Room.

He added: “We will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if they invade Syria and will call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the US in the destruction of the ISIS Democrats also piled in but there was a lone voice of support for the president on Capitol Hill .

President Donald Trump ’s green light on Sunday for Turkey to attack Kurdish -held areas in northeastern Syria has generated widespread condemnation from political allies and rivals alike on Capitol Hill while opening the door for Democratic presidential candidates to hit him on foreign policy.

“Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration.  This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS,” Graham tweeted on Wednesday. “Will lead effort in Congress to make Erdoğan pay a heavy price.”

By Wednesday afternoon, Graham announced legislation with Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) that would impose aggressive new sanctions on Turkey.

The bill would sanction the U.S. assets of top Turkish leaders, including President Recep Tayyep Erdoğan; it also would punish any foreign individual or entity who sells weapons or provides military aid to Turkey, or supports the country’s domestic energy industry.

Van Hollen, meanwhile, tweeted on Wednesday morning that Turkey must pay a “heavy price” for its actions. “Senators on both sides of the aisle won't support abandoning the one regional group most responsible for putting ISIS on its heels.”

White House Threatens Turkey With Crippling Sanctions

  White House Threatens Turkey With Crippling Sanctions The Trump administration on Friday belatedly threatened new sanctions against Turkey that officials said could cripple Turkey’s economy in response to its military offensive against Kurds in northern Syria. President Trump will sign an executive order giving the Treasury Department new powers to punish Turkish government officials if Turkey targets ethnic and religious minorities in its operations against the Kurds. The White House also warned that if any Islamic State fighters being held in prisons in the area were allowed by Turkey to escape, the United States would respond forcefully.

Withdrawing troops in Syria pleases Turkey but endangers Kurds fighting the Islamic State. Mr. Trump announced his decision as an act of military restraint, long overdue now that ISIS has been Mr. Graham, for one, has threatened legislation to impose sanctions on Turkey if it invades.

President Donald Trump ’s decision to have U.S. forces in northern Syria step aside to make way for Turkish troops and put U.S.-allied Syrian Kurds at risk, has sparked outrage among Trump ’s closest allies on Capitol Hill , with many Republicans questioning Trump ’s leadership on foreign policy issues.

Trump himself initially promised to impose crippling sanctions on Turkey if they moved forward with military action against the Kurdish ethnic minority, which has been a steadfast partner to American military efforts in the region for years but is viewed as a terrorist element by Erdoğan.

“If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey,” he tweeted.

But by Wednesday afternoon, Trump appeared less committed to the fire and fury in the wake of the invasion, but indicated he had no problem with Graham’s sanctions and still promised to “wipe out” Turkey’s economy if Erdoğan attempted to “wipe out” the Kurds.

“We’re speaking to both sides. We’ve told President Erodgan how we feel, but we are speaking to both sides and we’re seeing what can be made out of a situation, but we have no soldiers in the area,” Trump told reporters when asked about the decision to abandon the Kurds. “We are getting out of the endless wars. We have to do it.”

'We feel betrayed': Kurds in U.S. voice anger at Trump's troop pullback

  'We feel betrayed': Kurds in U.S. voice anger at Trump's troop pullback 'We feel betrayed': Kurds in U.S. voice anger at Trump's troop pullbackNASHVILLE/NEW YORK, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Like many Kurds living in the United States, Lava Antar has had a hard time sleeping this week, waking often to check reports of Turkish jets and artillery pounding her northeast Syria homeland. Once, she learned her former neighbor's 30-year-old son was killed.

WASHINGTON — For nine months, the Pentagon played down the presence of its 1,000 troops in Syria, hoping that President Trump would not focus on the extent to which the American military was continuing to fight the Islamic State despite his order in December to pull out.

The strong pushback on Capitol Hill prompted Trump to recast as well as restate his decision, but He promised to destroy the Turkish economy “if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and Trump defended his latest decision, acknowledging in tweets that “the Kurds fought with us” but adding that

The president then, appearing to cite an article on TownHall.com, added the Kurds, “didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy as an example” … “but they’re there to help us with their land, and that’s a different thing.”

“With all of that being said, we like the Kurds," he said.

By the time Trump spoke, Graham and like-minded lawmakers had already determined a tough response was warranted. “While the Administration refuses to act against Turkey, I expect strong bipartisan support,” Graham said of his legislation.

Indeed, criticism was widespread in the GOP ranks for Trump’s move. While Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the top House Republican, slammed the move by calling on Turkey to stop it instead of mentioning Trump, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the number three House Republican, named names.

The president’s decision to withdraw is “having sickening and predictable consequences,” said Cheney. “The U.S. is abandoning our ally the Kurds, who fought ISIS on the ground and helped protect the U.S. homeland… This action imperils American security and that of our allies. Congress must and will act to limit the catastrophic impact of this decision.”

Trump and Congress spar over sanctioning Turkey

  Trump and Congress spar over sanctioning Turkey Facing scathing criticism from Republican lawmakers and members of his own military, President Donald Trump on Monday was working toward applying harsh new sanctions on Turkey following its incursion into northern Syria. The scramble to apply new sanctions came after Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria, a move that paved the way for Turkey's military offensive. Even some of Trump's fiercest defenders have questioned his decision, and senior national security veterans have decried the move as abandoning Kurdish allies.

Trump has also spoken about the Kurds as if they are somewhat disposable allies and as if their conflict with Turkey is none of the United States’ business. He even suggested anything that happens is Barack Obama’s fault. “I think there’s a lot of pressure on Turkey .

Still, bipartisan lawmakers on Capitol Hill also objected to Trump ’s decision, with some, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) urging him to “reassess” and suggested that Congress would impose sanctions on Turkey — and call for its suspension in NATO — if it attacked the Kurds in Syria.

The quick turn of events—one of the harshest rebukes yet of GOP establishment foreign policy from a president who never warmed to it in the first place—has left many Republicans on the Hill scratching their heads. “We have maybe one senator happy about this decision,” a GOP staffer told The Daily Beast. "It perplexes me that we're in a position where the majority of Republicans who will carry the banner of Republicans in the post-Trump era are, saying this is not good."

Indeed, one of the few GOP lawmakers to cheer the decision was Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), the libertarian-minded Trump confidante who’s urged on the president’s more isolationist instincts over the objections of most of the rest of the party.

In a Twitter victory lap on Wednesday, Paul taunted the “Cheney/Graham Neocon War Caucus” and praised Trump as “the first president in my lifetime to understand what is in the national interest and what is not. He is stopping the endless wars and we will be stronger as a result.”

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), tried to stake out some middle ground on Wednesday in his first statement yet on the Turkey matter. “Turkey’s aggressive actions raise serious concerns. Such an action lacks international support and risks a precipitous decline in the U.S.-Turkey relationship, as President Trump has robustly described,” he said, referencing Trump’s threats. “All parties should immediately de-escalate and return to border security discussions.”

Trump: Let 'Napoleon Bonaparte' rescue Kurds

  Trump: Let 'Napoleon Bonaparte' rescue Kurds Donald Trump suggested Monday that Syria's formerly US-allied Kurds could look to 19th century French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte for protection after the US president ordered the departure of nearly 1,000 US troops from the country. "Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!" Trump wrote on Twitter.He defended his weekend order to vacate northeastern Syria and abandon the Kurds, saying that the US mission to defeat Islamic State in the region had been achieved "100 percent.

WASHINGTON―Allies and critics of President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill offered a harsh rebuke to the commander in chief on Monday in response to his decision to suddenly withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, essentially clearing the path for a Turkish military invasion of the region.

Van Hollen to introduce sanctions against Turkey after Trump withdraws U.S. troops from the border region. The president indicated that he expects a clash between the Kurds and Turkish military but that the U.S. will not pick a side or act as a buffer to prevent it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who controls the floor, criticized the Syria withdrawal as a mistake in a statement on Monday, but stopped short of fully blaming Trump. Asked about McConnell’s support for a sanctions response, a spokesperson for the Senate leader told The Daily Beast he did not have anything to add.

Trump is poised to face widespread backlash from his own party in Congress on Syria if McConnell, or Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), moves to put new sanctions to a vote. Pelosi’s office did not respond to request for comment regarding her position on the issue.

It would not be the first time this year that Trump earns a bipartisan rebuke from Congress over sanctions: in January, 11 GOP senators voted with Democrats in hopes of overturning the administration’s decision to ease sanctions on Russia. The measure ultimately failed to get 60 votes.

Regardless of how Turkey sanctions develop, many from both parties worry that an enormous amount of harm has already been done through Trump’s decision—to the Kurds themselves, to the region’s stability, and to the international reputation of the U.S.

“The damage has been done,” said a GOP staffer. “What does it say about us and our future partnerships? How can we level-headedly talk to other nations and say, we want to partner up with you?”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Sen. Mitt Romney raises a troubling theory about Trump and Turkey .
Romney suggested that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan might have given Trump an ultimatum — and that Trump caved on withdrawing from Syria.But while that line will get a lot of play, there’s something else Romney said that shouldn’t escape notice. He also floated a theory about how Trump arrived at the decision: that he got bullied into it by Turkey and that he backed down.

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