Defence

Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Hinges on Turkey

Whether pulling the remaining U.S. troops from Syria turns out to be a bold and beneficial move or a stupid, harmful one depends on what Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will do. Angelo M. Codevilla American Greatness That, in turn, depends in no small part on what constraints he senses from President Trump—as well as from Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Here, to the best of my understanding, are the circumstances and the possible consequences of the president’s decision to withdraw from Syria. ... Read More »

Turkey says the US just agreed to more of its demands as Ankara sees expanded power in Syria

President Donald Trump’s administration may have just handed Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan another win. Natasha Turak CNBC Less than a week after Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, Turkey’s foreign minister said Tuesday the U.S. has agreed to complete its previously established “roadmap” to remove all Kurdish militia fighters from the Northern Syrian town of… Ankara has been waiting for this guarantee for a while, complaining since its agreement in June that Washington was dragging its ... Read More »

Trump’s New Embrace of Turkish President Erdogan Decried by Top US Jewish Leaders

Two prominent American Jewish leaders expressed strong concern on Monday over US President Donald Trump’s declaration of faith in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of his sudden decision to withdraw the… Ben Cohen The Algemeiner “This most recent embrace of Turkey as a strategic partner in this ‘new’ US policy — relating to ISIS, Syria, the Kurds — should raise serious alarm bells in Israel and in the… Rabbi Abraham Cooper — associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal ... Read More »

Russia-Ukraine War: Kiev’s Navy Says ‘We Will Be Ready’ and Prepared to Use ‘Weapons’ If Moscow Attacks Again

One month after Russia attacked three Ukrainian navy ships in the Kerch Strait, Ukraine’s navy chief said his country was prepared to defend its sovereignty from its bigger neighbor and exert its freedom to navigate in the… Cristina Maza Newsweek “There’s a war going on, initiated by Russia…and this war is raging at the sea too, since 2014. Whether we want and don’t want to lay low at bases and offices; we have to fulfill our duties regarding the… And the ... Read More »

Australian troops to stay in Middle East despite US pullout: Morrison

Australian troops will remain in the Middle East despite US President Donald Trump announcing the withdrawal of thousands of soldiers from Syria and Afghanistan in a… Eryk Bagshaw Brisbane Times Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia’s presence “will remain” in the region, where more than 600 troops continue to conduct operations and train local troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We have to be conscious of the potential for a resilient and a resurgent [Islamic State],” he said.  “We’re in regular ... Read More »

Incoming US Secretary of Defense Shanahan has ties to US-Turkey arms trade

United States Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who will take over for ousted Secretary of Defense James Mattis in January, has significant ties to the U.S.-Turkey arms trade— a… Meghan Bodette The Region “I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019. Patrick has a… Shanahan joined Boeing in 1986, and worked there for over 30 years. He had no previous ... Read More »

Trump Says Turkey Should Easily Be Able to Mop Up ISIS in Syria

Days after handing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a diplomatic win by announcing he’ll pull U.S. troops out of Syria, President Donald Trump defended the move, saying Turkey “should be able to… By Onur Ant, Nick Wadhams, and Selcan Hacaoglu Bloomberg Trump’s action on Syria, which was announced on Twitter and triggered the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and later Brett McGurk, a leading U.S. diplomat, came a week after the… Instead, during a lengthy phone call on Dec. 14, Trump shocked ... Read More »

Avoiding a Free-for-all in Syria’s North East

President Donald Trump has ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from north-east Syria. ICG This risks chaos and drives home the urgent need for a deal that restores Syrian state sovereignty to its north east, assuages Turkish security concerns and allows for some degree of Kurdish self-rule. What’s new? President Trump’s surprise decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria followed previous warnings that he justified their presence only as part of the campaign to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). Trump said ... Read More »

The biggest winner of Trump’s Syria withdrawal? Turkey.

When President Trump announced Wednesday that he was pulling U.S. forces out of Syria, it came as a shock to much of Washington. Ishaan Tharoor The Washington Post Key U.S. military officials reportedly felt hoodwinked by the drastic shift in policy; Trump’s secretary of defense quit. Counterterrorism experts warned that a departure could lead to an Islamic State resurgence. Critics in the foreign-policy community declared that Trump was giving “a Christmas gift to our enemies” — namely Russia and Iran, whose influence the… ... Read More »

North Korea: We Asked 27 Experts What They Think Will Happen in 2019

The world’s best Korea and Asia watchers gave us their predictions. Will we go back to “fire and fury” or is lasting peace just over the horizon? Harry J. Kazianis and John Dale Grover The National Interest The following is a note from our Executive Editor and the Center for the National Interest’s Director of Defense Studies, Harry J. Kazianis : What happens next when it comes to the North Korea challenge? Your guess is as good as mine, but by looking ... Read More »

Jim Mattis, Defense Secretary, Resigns in Rebuke of Trump’s Worldview

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose experience and stability were widely seen as a balance to an unpredictable president, resigned Thursday in protest of President Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from Syria and… Helene Cooper The New York Times Mr. Mattis had repeatedly told friends and aides over recent months that he viewed his responsibility to protect the United States’ 1.3 million active-duty troops as worth the concessions necessary as defense secretary to a… But on Thursday, in ... Read More »

Anger, confusion greet Trump’s surprise decision on Syria

Senate Republicans uncharacteristically lashed out at President Trump on Wednesday for announcing a sudden and immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, a decision that came without consulting Congress and seemed to catch the Pentagon off guard. Rebecca Kheel The Hill Several lawmakers said Congress received no advance notice of Trump’s announcement, leaving them fuming and scratching their heads. “I don’t know what they’ve done, but this is chaos,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a staunch Trump ally and Armed Services Committee ... Read More »

US approves possible Patriot missile sale to Turkey in bid to block Russian purchase

Washington (CNN) – Amid diplomatic tensions between the US and Turkey on a range of issues, the US State Department announced Tuesday that it approved the possible sale of a $3.5 billion Patriot missile system to Turkey. By Ryan Browne, CNN The approval is an attempt by the US to get Turkey to give up its plans to purchase the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system. The proposed purchase has been a major impediment to closer US-Turkish relations amid fears the Russian ... Read More »

Don’t let Russian S-400s peel Turkey away from the West

U.S.-Turkish relations are enjoying a somewhat warmer moment, following the resolution of the crisis over American pastor Andrew Brunson and the recent dialogue to resolve differences over U.S. cooperation with the… Kemal Kirişci and Seçkin Köstem Brookings However, Ankara’s commitment to purchase S-400 surface-to-air missiles from Russia presents a big challenge with important geopolitical implications. Among other problems, the plan could get Turkey sanctioned and removed from the U.S.-led program to provide F-35 aircraft. Some experts have recently argued that ... Read More »

China will ’never seek hegemony,’ Xi says in reform speech

China will never pursue hegemony, President Xi Jinping said Tuesday as global concerns persist over the country’s growing economic influence. BEIJING – Associated Press Hurriyet During a speech to mark 40 years of market reforms, Xi repeated China’s commitment to a multilateral trading system and further opening of its economy. However, he did not announce any new initiatives to counter a slowing economy and trade frictions with the United States. The Chinese leader said China would not develop “at the expense of other countries’ ... Read More »

German arms export policy condemned by church organization

The German government is not keeping its promises of restricting arms exports to countries fighting in Yemen, a church organization has said. Arms firms are selling weapons to Saudi Arabia via foreign subsidiaries. Ben Knight DW A German church organization representing both the Catholic and Protestant churches has condemned the country’s arms exports, as criticism mounts of Angela Merkel’s decision to allow old Saudi weapons orders to be fulfilled, despite a recent promise to put exports to Saudi Arabia temporarily on hold. ... Read More »