InfoMullet: Friendly Fired

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TLDRUpFront: A cease fire abroad, and friendly fire at home, both illustrates the risks of  being within the orbit of President Trump. Friendships are transactional, subject to “You’re Fired” at any moment as the Kurds in Northern Syria are realizing. And sustained close relations can lead to self-inflicted harm as Chief of Staff Mulvaney encountered during a press conference when he admitted President Trump did indeed seek the assistance of a foreign government interfering in a domestic election and tied delivery of US aid to that purpose.

FullContext in the Back:


It appears Vice President Pence has negotiated a ceasefire with President Erdogan of Turkey. The ceasefire is only for five days, during which the Kurdish SDF must withdraw south of the proposed Turkish safe-zone which we can now refer to colloquially as the Sudetenland. Afterwards, a permanent ceasefire may be negotiated. In return President Trump promises to lift sanctions and other economic conditions against Turkey.

Thinking through this. Trump originally put the sanctions in place to reverse the Turkish invasion of Operation Peace Spring. Now the sanctions utility has been downgraded to buying only 5 days for the SDF to retreat. Which, given they are not a party to the talks, I’m not sure if they’ve agreed to.

Indeed, there’s a lot of moving pieces that remain unclear. Congress was against the Turkish occupation of northern Syria at the expense of the Kurds, not just its timing. On Tuesday the House overwhelmingly condemned the President greenlighting a Turkish invasion, and I’m not sure whether a five-day delay to the same outcome will fly in terms of satisfying their concerns. I’m also not sure if the EU countries will lift their arms embargos. Obviously key players like the SDF, Syria, and Russia need to voice in as well.


Also, a final odd note, Pence is repeating the line that the YPG/YPJ are the PKK. I understand the talking-point value of this nonsense. But I don’t think they’ve fully thought it through. The PKK is an outlawed terrorist organization designed by the Department of State. And there are serious consequences for any federal official working with or for a designated terror group. If the political argument is going to be that the YPG/YPJ = PKK, will the legal argument also follow and President Trump, Vice President Pence, President Obama and thousands of US military and state department personnel are now to be charged with aiding a known terrorist group?


The other blockbuster news is White House Chief of Staff Mulvaney has pulled another Colonel Jessup by admitting the President ordered a Code-Red, or rather, that the President’s release of aid was explicitly tied to Ukrainian actions to conduct politically expedient investigations.



On Ceasefire:

Sources on Mulvaney’s Jessup-esque exchange with reporters.


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