World Brett McGurk earns allied anger over Syria-Iraq withdrawal maneuvers
Belarus Border Camp Emptied, Hundreds of Migrants Flown Back to Iraq
Belarusian authorities said that as many as 7,000 migrants remain in the country after more than a week of tensions between it, the migrants and Poland.Belarusian media reported that no more migrants were seen in the makeshift camps. The migrants were either put on flights back to their home countries or allegedly placed in a heated warehouse to protect them from the cold weather.
He's highly ambitious, but Brett McGurk's legacy may not age well with the Biden administration's military withdrawal from Iraq (announced by the President on Monday) and prospective military withdrawal from Syria.
Major American allies in Syria already feel betrayed by the White House coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa.
The leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces in northeastern Syria, General Mazloum Abdi, has been particularly disheartened by McGurk's actions under the Biden administration. Mazloum was instrumental to the U.S.-led effort to drive ISIS out of its Syrian strongholds. His kinship with America was forged in blood. But I'm told that on a recent visit to northern Syria, McGurk failed to even meet with Mazloum tofor U.S. economic development investments. Those efforts are supported by the U.S. intelligence community, the SDF, and affiliated Sunni Arab tribes in the area. Regardless, McGurk apparently deployed State Department diplomats to deliver the bad news to the general rather than do it himself in person. In the respect-oriented Kurdish culture, this could even be taken as offensive.
Iraq Militias, Seeing Taliban's Success, Plan to Force U.S. Troops Out After Dec. 31
"The Iraqi resistance was earlier than the Afghans in forcing the United States to withdraw from Iraq in 2011, and today the Iraqi resistance is stronger and more numerous," the Hezbollah al-Nujaba Movement spokesperson told Newsweek."The Iraqi resistance was earlier than the Afghans in forcing the United States to withdraw from Iraq in 2011," Nasr al-Shammary, spokesperson for the Hezbollah al-Nujaba Movement, told Newsweek, "and today the Iraqi resistance is stronger and more numerous.
What's odd here is that McGurk resigned from the Trump administration in protest over its plans to withdraw U.S. military forces from Syria. Why McGurk is now suddenly happy to support Biden's similar withdrawal policy is not clear. While a Biden administration official, on Tuesday, suggested tothat the U.S. will retain forces in Syria, those forces will not serve much purpose if they do not provide cover for economic and political activity independent of Bashar al Assad, Iran, and Russia. It's not just about the investment and associated signal of long term U.S. support to allies. Russia .
McGurk, however, is a proven political survivor. A senior Middle East hand for the Bush, Obama, Trump, and now Biden administrations, McGurk is renowned for his ability to find a role at the center of ideologically diverse administrations. Yet his critics say that this record is less a function of his Arabist skills and more a product of his penchant for D.C. political maneuvering. This maneuvering was the significant focus of Paul Wood's less-than-favorable Aprilof McGurk for Newlines magazine.
Joe Biden, country killer
President Joe Biden met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi at the White House on Monday. © Provided by Washington Examiner It wasn't just any leader-to-leader meeting. Biden announced that the United States would soon end its combat mission in Iraq. The move comes just a few months short of the 10th anniversary of America’s last withdrawal from Iraq. Back then, Biden was optimistic. "I can tell you that when we came to office, we had, we had over 150,000 folks there, a war with no political end in sight.
In that sense, a Syria withdrawal to match that from Iraq would at least allow McGurk to maneuver his way into some new friendships. Back in January, Al Monitorthat "His expected appointment will likely send a strong signal to Turkey and could complicate the Biden administration's efforts to reset relations with the NATO ally."
Perhaps no longer. McGurk's treatment of America's Syrian-Kurdish allies may win him VIP treatment by Recep Tayyip Erdogan's reflexively Kurd-hostile regime.
Still, the issue of reliability extends to Iraq.
During McGurk's visit to Baghdad less than two weeks ago, Al Arabiya's Joseph Haboushthat the Iraqi government said McGurk had discussed an imminent U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq. The Biden administration shamelessly denied this, even though we now know it to be the truth.
The Iraq withdrawal will certainly bolster McGurk's credentials with the Democratic Party progressive wing. But it may not earn him new friends on the moderate political center ground. Consider that China, now viewed by bipartisan majorities as theto U.S. international order in the 21st century, is moving the Iraqi oil market amid America's evacuation. Iran will be the of Biden's action.
Russia, China Offer Support to Syria Amid Biden Moves in Afghanistan, Iraq
A joint statement by Russia and Syria argued that "an illegitimate stay in Syria of foreign military contingentsimpedes stabilization in occupied areas," and China issued "unwavering support for Syria's efforts to safeguard its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity."Unlike Kabul and Baghdad, however, the Syrian government in Damascus has opposed U.S. military presence in the country, receiving assistance instead from Moscow and Beijing.
McGurk's reliable chirpiness should not be taken as a positive sign.
Back in 2011 McGurk praised the Obama administration's withdrawal from Iraq as the "" of a positive stable relationship between the U.S. and Iraq. That withdrawal was actually beginning of ISIS' Caliphate.
Whatever his political maneuvering skills, what now happens in Syria and Iraq seems set to define McGurk's political future.
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Syria Tells Israel It Will Defend Itself 'By All Means' After Back-to-Back Strikes .
The Syrian Foreign Ministry "reiterated its warning to Israel of the dangerous repercussions of its continuous attacks and holds it fully responsible for them."The Syrian Foreign Ministry released a statement Thursday railing against the latest "cowardly Israeli aggression" after an air raid Wednesday in the Al-Qusayr region of Homs province. The statement alluded to an earlier attack also blamed on Israel against the Al-Safira region in Aleppo.