U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull back forces ahead of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria is a reflection of his long-stated policy goals, according to an analyst.
“President Trump has been clear he has no interest in miring the U.S. in a civil or sectarian conflict in that region. We did have a military objective there which was to defeat ISIS’s military capability. We actually did accomplish that,” Mollie Hemingway said during a Fox News television segment.
“The idea that we should stay there in perpetuity is something that clearly the foreign policy consensus in this town very much likes, but it is at odds with what a lot of people think about how we should be fighting wars, what our ideas should be about when we go into conflicts, when we get out,” added the Fox News contributor and senior journalism fellow at Hillsdale College.
Trump has faced bipartisan opposition from lawmakers after he announced following a Sunday telephone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the U.S. would pull back its forces from the Syrian border.
“Congress has a clear Constitutional means to exercise its authority on military force. If they’re so sure about keeping men and women in Syria, they should debate, define and authorize the use of force and deal with the electoral consequences,” Hemingway said as Senator Lindsey Graham and a Democratic ally prepare sanctions legislation against Turkey.
The bill is expected to be introduced into the federal legislature next week.
Responding to criticism from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Trump’s decision to relocate U.S. forces in Syria, Hemingway said it is “interesting” that the former top diplomat “does not consider NATO member Turkey to be an ally. Wonder what she thinks the T stands for.”
She was referring to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, of which Turkey and the U.S. are key members.
Clinton had tweeted that Trump’s decision is a “sickening betrayal” of the YPG, which leads the U.S.-backed force in northeastern Syria.
Mike Dorian, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute think tank, lashed out at criticism to Turkey’s operation from French President Emanuel Macron, saying “The goal should be to strengthen Turkey, a NATO ally. The Turkish-Syrian border is Europe’s border with the Middle East.”
“What is the Euro/French plan to solve the Syrian refugee crisis in Turkey (which holds 4 million refugees) and to stabilize the Turkish-Syrian border?” he asked.
Turkey on Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorist elements and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to eliminate terrorist elements from the PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
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