World Former U.S. officials criticize Trump's decision to 'abandon' Kurds
Pentagon: Revenue from Syria oil fields going to Kurdish-led forces
Revenue from oil fields that U.S. forces are protecting in northeast Syria will go to U.S. partner forces in the region and not the United States, the Pentagon's top spokesman said Thursday."The revenue from this is not going to the U.S., this is going to the SDF," Jonathan Hoffman told reporters at the Pentagon, referring to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.President Trump last week gave the go-ahead for an expanded military operation to secure expansive oil fields in eastern Syria, and the Pentagon has already sent new troops and armored vehicles to the area.The new plan backtracks on Trump's original desire to pull all U.S.
Two former senior U.S. officials who helped lead the fight against the Islamic State terror group have condemned President Donald Trump's decision toin northern Syria.
The interviews — featured in MSNBC's On Assignment with Richard Engel — suggest a deep sense of unease among those close to the campaign with the way the U.S. has treated a loyal ally, and the devastating impact the decision has had on the Kurdish people.
Brett McGurk, who ran the counter-ISIS strategy under Trump and former President Barack Obama, said he was shocked by evidence he'd seen of "war crimes" and "terrible acts of barbarity" following.
Pentagon says U.S. won't keep revenue from Syrian oil fields
President Trump ordered the withdrawal of troops from the region weeks agoMr. Trump also ordered the withdrawal of troops from the region several weeks ago, but CBS News saw soldiers re-establishing their presence inside northeastern Syria. They wouldn't talk with CBS News, but from what we could overhear, it was more of a meet-and-greet than a tactical deployment of U.S. protection.
The U.S. decision to withdraw troops from the area and clear the way for the Turkish advance had resulted in a "complete unraveling of the entire tapestry of northeast Syria," he said.
As a result of the Turkish invasion, it's estimated thatfrom their homes, leading to accusations of ethnic cleansing.
"Definitely the United States bears some responsibility" for that, McGurk said.
Gen. Joseph Votel, former commander of U.S. Central Command, expressed his concern that America's ability to operate effectively in the region was now "diminished" and said he feared that it will be "Russia, Turkey and perhaps Iran" who will be calling the shots from now on.
For more on this story: The next episode of On Assignment with Richard Engel airs on MSNBC at 10 p.m. ET on Sunday Nov. 17th.
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President Trump's personal attorneys told a federal judge on Friday that they intend to petition the Supreme Court next week to review an appeals court decision that said the Manhattan district attorney can subpoena the president's tax returns.Trump's lawyers and the district attorney's office said in a joint letter to a federal judge that the decision will be appealed to the high court by Nov. 14.
Both men were at the forefront of the U.S. mission to eradicate ISIS from the territory it had seized in Syria and Iraq. In Syria, that strategy focused on U.S. special forces allying with a Kurdish militia that became known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
While the U.S. provided critical military assistance, training and air support, the SDF's fighters led the brutal ground war against the terror group. They suffered devastating losses during years of fighting, before finally.
McGurk held his positionin response to what he called Trump's "reckless" declaration that he intended to bring U.S. troops home. McGurk had argued that the region required stability to ensure ISIS couldn't return.
The SDF were "absolutely essential to our success in Syria," Gen. Votel said.
Turkey feared the presence of an autonomous Kurdish region on its southern border could embolden its own significant Kurdish minority.
They claimed the SDF were effectively an offshoot of the PKK, a Kurdish militia designated as a terror group by the U.S. who have fought a decadeslong insurgency against the Turkish state.
The presence of U.S. troops was thus "the only thing" preventing Turkey "from coming across the border," Gen. Votel claimed.
But in October, following a phone call with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump
America "never agreed to protect the Kurds," he said in October. "We've done them a great service...and now we're getting out."
It was a "complete 180 degree reversal,'' according to McGurk, who said he felt Trump had "clearly" given Erdogan the "green light" for the invasion.
"It doesn't seem very honorable to step away from your partners," said Gen. Votel who retired following the victory over ISIS earlier this year after three years as commander of U.S. Central Command and almost 40 years of service.
Erdogan says he returned Trump’s threatening letter on Syria invasion
Erdogan says he returned Trump’s threatening letter on Syria invasion“This letter was re-presented to Mr. President this afternoon,” Erdogan said in a joint news conference alongside Trump at the White House.
As U.S. troops pulled out of Kurdish areas they wereby people who felt betrayed.
Gen. Votel said he thought the American soldiers who fought side by side with the Kurds were "as disappointed" as he was by the president's decision.
Following fierce criticism from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, Trump did appear to partially backtrack. He announced that some U.S. troops would in fact remain in Syria, but not to protect the Kurds.
"We did leave soldiers because we're keeping the oil," he said. "I like oil. We're keeping the oil."
But this decision, combined with mixed messages from the White House and Pentagon, resulted in the mission becoming "very unclear," said McGurk.
"Our legal basis for being in Syria is ISIS, not to protect oil," he told NBC News.
Trump tweeted last month urgingif they wanted U.S. protection, seemingly referring to a desert area where Kurdish people have never lived.
That was an "incredible thing for an American president to say," said McGurk, who argued that it showed the president had "no idea about the history, about the terrain... about anything really going on, on the ground," he argued.
Gen. Votel said he fears the consequences could also be severe for the effectiveness of future U.S. military campaigns.
He said he fears the U.S. military will struggle to "identify partners in future" to advance American interests.
"I think it's going to cause our partners...to question our motives," he said.
U.S. Resumes Operations Against ISIS in Northern Syria .
MANAMA, Bahrain — United States troops have resumed large-scale counterterrorism missions against the Islamic State in northern Syria, military officials say, nearly two months after President Trump’s abrupt order to withdraw American troops opened the way for a bloody Turkish cross-border offensive. American-backed operations against ISIS fighters in the area effectively ground to a halt for weeks despite warnings from intelligence analysts that Islamic State militants were beginning to make a comeback from Syrian desert redoubts even though their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been killed during an American raid on Oct. 26.
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