Trump Reportedly Tells Erdogan US Will Cease Arming Syrian Kurds

Just after Putin hosted trilateral talks on Syria and the Middle East in Sochi involving Russia, Iran, and Turkey, President Trump spent part of his Friday after Thanksgiving on the phone with Turkey's Erdogan. While the two discussed Syria and other regional issues, it appears they broached the delicate and contentious topic of US support to Syrian Kurdish fighters (namely, the Kurdish YPG, which forms the core of the Syrian Democratic Forces). The call came amidst a flurry of diplomatic activity over the Middle East driven by the Kremlin, and follows a lengthy Trump-Putin phone call on Tuesday.

Members of the Kurdish YPG, Mint Press

Though the details of the call are still unclear, Trump outlined what was to be generally discussed in a tweet, and said this morning, "Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East. I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!"

Though not verified by the US side, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Trump told Erdogan during Friday's call that the US will cease supplying weapons to the Syrian Kurdish fighters, according to the AP. Turkey has long considered Syrian Kurdish militant groups to be terrorists, and Erdogan reportedly insisted at the Sochi summit that Syrian Kurds be excluded from all negotiations over the future of Syria on the grounds that they have links to the PKK. However, it is unlikely that a lasting political settlement for Syria can be negotiated and successfully held without Syrian Kurdish input.

But should Turkey's current claims that Trump vowed to end US military support to Syrian Kurds be confirmed, it would be a major development impacting the lasting arrangement of Syria and the war's outcome. "Mr. Trump clearly stated that he had given clear instructions and that the YPG won't be given arms and that this nonsense should have ended a long time ago,” Cavusoglu said at a news conference shortly after the call. And Erdogan presented an upbeat assessment of the call, tweeting shortly after: I had a fruitful phone conversation with the U.S. President Donald Trump today."

Meanwhile Trump's reference to $6 trillion appears to be related to a Nov. 8 Wall Street Journal story on a new study from the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, which calculates that the cost to US taxpayers for American troop deployment and wars in the broader Middle East - including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria - is about $5.6 trillion. Could a major pull-out and disengagement from Syria and other parts of the region be on the table (consistent with Trump's "America first" non-interventionist campaign promises)?

We previously explained that that US strategy and support to the Kurds was predicated on the Pentagon forcing itself into a place of affecting the Syrian war's outcome and final apportionment of power: the best case scenario for American power and planners in the region being permanent US bases under a Syrian Kurdish federated zone with favored access to Syrian oil doled out by Kurdish partners.

But it appears the Kurds may already be cutting separate deals and are in secret talks with Syria and Russia, which means a US exit from Syria could be forced sooner rather than later. According to University of Oklahoma Middle East expert Joshua Landis, the Kurds and the Syrian government are now sharing oil revenues from disputed oil fields controlled by Kurdish groups in some parts of Syria's east.

Landis confirmed last week that "the Syrian gov, Syrian Kurds, and Arab tribes share oil revenues already. SAG gets 65% of revenues in Rmeilan field. PYD gets 20% (powerful Kurdish confederation in Syria's north: the Democratic Union Party). Arab forces get 15%." Landis also posted the question, "is this the model for a future deal between Kurds, Arabs, and the Syrian Government in northern Syria?"

Should the White House confirm a commitment of US disengagement from the SDF with a concrete timeline, it would represent a monumental shift in policy, and would further ensure that Russia remains in the driver's seat concerning the future of Syria and the Levant.


Mena Arkansas Fri, 11/24/2017 - 18:56 Permalink

New Jewish group supports independence for KurdistanSeveral prominent Jews in Europe and North America joined an organization fostering Jewish-Kurdish friendship and supporting independence for Iraqi Kurdistan.The Jewish-American lawyer Alan Dershowitz joined the honorary board of the Brussels-based Jewish Coalition for Kurdistan last month, along with Irwin Cotler, a former justice minister of Canada, and Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, two well-known hunters of Nazis from Germany, the group’s founder and president, Joel Rubinfeld, told JTA Wednesday.Also on the honorary board of the coalition are Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Charles Tannock, a British lawmaker at the European Parliament and foreign affairs and human rights spokesman for the UK Conservative delegation.… right, Jeffrey Epstein's POS mouthpiece Dershowitz.

fulliautomatix Mena Arkansas Fri, 11/24/2017 - 19:37 Permalink

Taking Israels' money isn't likely a successful survival strategy in the ME, now: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan all pretty much on the same page, all due to some less than stellar US/UK/EU/Israeli/Saudi diplomacy (and the Saudi support is likely extremely polarised now). The fact that the policies that drove the diplomacy were lunacy in the first place was pointed out by only one man, Erdogan, before the start of the operation. When Obama refused boots on ground in Syria (failed to live up to the US end of the deal), Erdogan had to work to keep Turkey from turnng into the hell-hole that Syria, Libya, Iraq and Egypt had become. Not a perfect result (what with a multi-fronted war, a counter-coup and a righteously pissed populace to manage) but nevertheless a very fine example of political leadership: the US President has effectively binned all the plausible deniability of 16 years of military and quasi-military operations in the theatre, the leadership of the failed plan have shown themselves to be lesser people than Erdogan, Assad, Mubarak (and of course Putin). Erdogan is still standing and Turkey isn't a failed state.The grand prize is no more an option, better see what you can get out of the settlements. The Kurds know this. Everyone knows, except, of course, those that cannot bring themselves to know it. (That said, there is still a long way to go. Check back this time next year.)

In reply to by Mena Arkansas

BobEore fulliautomatix Fri, 11/24/2017 - 21:37 Permalink

Look at the jihadi-luvers come outta hiding... to push the amazingly rancid agit-prop storyline...

that the tel-aviv controlled entho-religious supremacists in Ankara are the GOOD GUYS after all!

Pathetic. You clearly deserve what's comin to yas...

but to wish it pon your own kith n kin? Fifth columnist TRAITORS to the peeples of the West.

Heck of job - Brownies!

In reply to by fulliautomatix

otschelnik fulliautomatix Sat, 11/25/2017 - 06:07 Permalink

 Here's the key take-away from this article, and there is a mistake:  the Syrian gov, Syrian Kurds, and Arab tribes share oil revenues already. SAG gets 65% of revenues in Rmeilan field. PYD gets 20% (powerful Kurdish confederation in Syria's north: the Democratic Union Party). Arab forces get 15%Can't be the R(u)meilan oil field in the South of Iraq.  Perhaps the author means the Syrian oil field of Al-Omar (near Dier ez Zor). The Turks have been running Kurdish oil from Iraq (mostly from the Kirkuk field) since 2nd Iraq war.  Its an Erdogan family business managed by Bilal (president's son) through the Turkish port of Ceyhan.  Never-the-less, if the Turks/Syrians cut a deal with the PYD/YPG (Kurds) on oil and then there's a good chance the Russian brokered peace deal is going to work. 

In reply to by fulliautomatix

BobEore Mena Arkansas Fri, 11/24/2017 - 21:14 Permalink

You've gottta luvs it!A loopy post... which appears to have set new records for "english as a second language/dysfunctional 'google-translate'-style hash o words"We previously explained that that US strategy and support to the Kurds was predicated on the Pentagon forcing itself into a place of affecting the Syrian war's outcome and final apportionment of power: the best case scenario for American power and planners in the region being permanent US bases under a Syrian Kurdish federated zone with favored access to Syrian oil doled out by Kurdish partners..." gets some serious reinforcement from an opening comment that jacks the thread to the appropriate level of erroneous dis-info... by ONCE AGIN FORCING upon us the special exceptionalists blend of ignorance and arrogance... to whit- the confusion of BARZANI-GANG KRG 'JURDISTAN' in the north of Iraq - a fiefdom of KurdishSunni tribal bandits with ties to Jihadis in Ankara, Jewhadis in Tel Aviv, and their joint-jihadi proxies ISIS...with the forces in NOTHERN SYRIA - YPG Kurds fighting AGAINST ISIS and Turkish invaders- and FOR a secular, pluratistic social alternative to the usual muddled eastern formula of genocidal religio-ethno-driven chaos. Good work guys! Kudos all round. Instead of asking why agenda-laden pieces like this increasingly look like they were written by displaced Bulgarian Kazahkistanis - and the comments which follow, by part-time trolls hired by sraeli third party sub-contractors... we might as well cut to the quick... and ask instead... cui bono? Who gains from having every deviation... from the defective dialectical formula of goodguy/badguy bullshit here...whacked offa the table?  WHO gains when the Rojavan experiment in freeing folks from the jihadist agendas of Turkey/Srael/GulfStates/Saudistan is finally finished off? WHO writes agit-prop towards that end? Who is paying attention to the psyops performed in service to a secret agenda of no good import for freedom-lovin folk the world over?

In reply to by Mena Arkansas

Normalcy Bias BlindMonkey Fri, 11/24/2017 - 19:10 Permalink

I certainly remember how H.W. Bush encouraged the Kurds to revolt against Saddam Hussein's forces after the first Gulf War, but then provided no support and even allowed the Iraqi's to fly helicopter gunships in the 'No Fly Zone.'They began their revolt on March 1, just one day after Bush halted the war. But Saddam's battered Republican Guard divisions in the south quickly refashioned themselves and attacked Shi'ite guerrillas. Meanwhile, in the north, several Iraqi divisions moved to crush the Kurdish rebellion. The U.S. inadvertently helped Saddam annihilate the rebels by agreeing in the cease-fire deal negotiated by General Norman Schwarzkopf to allow Iraqi generals to continue flying their helicopters--a mistake because Saddam then used them to strafe rebels on the ground.

In reply to by BlindMonkey

BobEore MuffDiver69 Fri, 11/24/2017 - 21:29 Permalink

"Oh look! A comment which succinctly and accurately describes how and why the SYRIAN kurds were supplied with US arms...""The nerve! WHAT CAN WE DO BOUT IT?""nUTHIn but bang our vote meters!"Dull wits without the slightest understanding - or interest in learning bout - muddled eastern geography - crowd the podium here to high five each others pushing of the approved "fakenews" storyline... which requires them to perform amazing intellectual contortions in order to present Turkish jihadis and their weird talmudic overseers as good guys in a struggle against the lil people.Tell us, blind moron guy - WHY 'it was a bad idea to arm those Kurds in the first place'... so that they could defend themselves against ISIL jihadis and their rape/torture/enslavement of the people of Syria and Iraq... and then take the fight right to them, rousting the Turco-Sraeli sponsored jihadis outta Raqqa and the rest of their nests...tell us, half wit - whose yur daddy?

In reply to by MuffDiver69

mkkby ISEEIT Fri, 11/24/2017 - 21:24 Permalink

If Trump does nothing else but undo all the stupid from Obama/Bush/Clinton, that alone would make him the best prez in 50 years.

Thank goodness SOMEBODY is questioning the madness of taking sides in the ME. Let the sand niggers off each other as much as they wish.

Now if he fires all the neocons who want a war with Russia, maybe the defense budget can be brought down to something less than full scale war.

In reply to by ISEEIT

fbazzrea Fri, 11/24/2017 - 19:06 Permalink

would further ensure that Russia remains in the driver's seat concerning the future of Syria and the Levant.this was inevitable as the damage to American credibility was done long ago by previous administrations.and as if the U.S. deep state does not relish the thought of remaining in that same driver's seat if allowed. but they blew it. in fact, they've blown America's opportunity for continued prosperity under the USD global reserve currency status due to their selfish, immoral and greedy extortionism practiced around the world. we had the world in our collective hands and wiped our ass with it.we have no one to blame but ourselves...

Koba the Dread fbazzrea Fri, 11/24/2017 - 19:26 Permalink

We? What do you mean we, paleface? We didn't have anything in our hands. You confuse us with our masters, the oligarchs and their catamites. They had the whole world in their hands. We had Riceroni and Spam. That they blew it is for our good. Their loss is our gain. It's how we can make America great again. Bring the troops home. Enter into fair trading agreements with other nations. Enter into fair trade practices in America itself. We lead by our example, not by force.

In reply to by fbazzrea

Lynn Trainor earleflorida Fri, 11/24/2017 - 20:42 Permalink

Everything I've read about the Kurds for years makes me see them as an underdog ethnic group that has assisted the U.S. many times, yet they are forever persecuted and oppressed!  I think we owe the Kurds a debt of loyalty, and should not be betraying them now that we don't seem to need them."Iraqi Kurds were an important partner for the U.S.-led coalition that ousted Saddam Hussein from power in 2003. After more than a decade of serving as the "glue" that holds the country together amid sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shia Arabs, Iraqi Kurds are increasingly asserting their autonomy . . ."--------------"If we were to list the nations currently living under great injustice during the 21st century, we could not disregard the Kurds, who are suffering from severe oppression, persecution, murder and destruction across the Kurdish territories. If we claim to support human rights, justice and the right of nations to freedom and independence, then we must support the Kurdish people. Those who want justice for themselves must be just to others, and whatever they want for themselves they must want for others. Otherwise, we fall into double standards and a loss of morality."…

In reply to by earleflorida

MuffDiver69 Fri, 11/24/2017 - 19:10 Permalink

One only had to read and listen to the Generals around Trump and you could predict this. Mattis,Kelly, McMaster etc have all served in region since Desert Storm and know the people,culture and issues personally. It wasn’t long ago many clueless clowns were saying we would invade with 100;000 troops etc ...McCain and the rest can bitch and moan, but this is top notch foreign policy unfolding and it starts with something not seen in 16 years...Reality!!!!!

dirty fingernails MuffDiver69 Fri, 11/24/2017 - 19:23 Permalink

Top notch foreign policy? Are you fucking kidding me? Trump has no clue about foreign policy and he generals he lets think for him only know American Empire foreign  policy. They haven't  wrapped their heads around the reality and are still trying the same failed policies from decades past when America was the sole superpower. Now she's a ragged out meth whore waving a 357 around the local McDs.

In reply to by MuffDiver69

earleflorida MuffDiver69 Fri, 11/24/2017 - 19:51 Permalink

its not reality,its called 'SPENT'!the UK was bleeding after wwi, and had finally bled to death after wwii.if not for the *EUC 1993 the USSAs co-conspirtator would be ZERO today!   (*the Berlin Wall and dissolution of the USSR)but a funny (gift!) and montrous financial windfall came their way[?]...--- the GLB Act of 1999 that disemboweled the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act of separating large (TBTF?) Banking Institutions from Investment Banking Institutions.The UK became a financial hub for the entire world 2nd only to its parent USSA.However the MENA proxy wars and clinton/BUSH/obama adventurism has left us[sa] broke!The icing on the cake?... BREXIT!?!this is a death knell for both the ussa/uk hegemony.fuck luxenburg, zurich, basil? [esp] the 'SQUARE MILE" where trillions are offshored of america's patriotic billiionairs (no to mention ME/ Europe [E&W]/Asians)its now up to germany, the european powerhouse that both the UK and USSA had thought never-ever rising from the ashes,... and yet a century later it was but a pyrrhic victory of monumental wealth distribution via our hubris!!!

In reply to by MuffDiver69