Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told US President Donald Trump on Tuesday night that Turkey will never declare a ceasefire in northeastern Syria and that it will not negotiate with Kurdish forces it is fighting in its offensive into the region, Reuters reported.
Speaking to reporters on a flight back from Baku, Erdogan said the offensive would continue until it reaches its goals, and added that he was not worried about sanctions.
“They say ‘declare a ceasefire’. We will never declare a ceasefire,” Erdogan declared. “They are pressuring us to stop the operation. They are announcing sanctions. Our goal is clear. We are not worried about any sanctions.”
Erdogan said he told Trump in a phone call earlier this week that he should send a US delegation to Ankara to discuss their demands and try to reach an agreement. The White House said on Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence will meet with Erdogan in Ankara on Thursday.
Turkish soldiers last Wednesday launched a cross-border assault against Kurdish fighters Turkey sees as terrorists.
The operation was launched three days after Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of US forces in northeastern Syria, leading to some accusations that Trump’s move was an authorization for Turkey to invade the region.
The Turkish attack is aimed at the US-allied YPG, the key component of the forces who fought Islamic State (ISIS). The group is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group linked to Kurdish separatist insurgents in Turkey.
While Trump defended his administration’s plans to withdraw US forces from northern Syria, he also made clear that the US would not allow Turkey to do anything inhumane in Syria.
On Monday, the White House announced that Trump will sign an executive order imposing sanctions on Turkey over its invasion of northern Syria.
Three of the four members of “The Squad,” the grouping of far-left Democratic freshmen who have stirred excitement and controversy among Democrats and derision among Republicans, are set to endorse Bernie Sanders for president.
The Vermont senator, the first Jewish candidate to win presidential nominating contests when he ran in 2016, hinted at the announcement in the debate Tuesday night in this suburb of Columbus.
Sanders, 78, was asked by the CNN/New York Times moderators how he would reassure voters that he was up to a run after surviving a recent heart attack.
“Let me invite you all to a major rally we’re having in Queens, New York,” he said. “We’re going to have a special guest at that event. And we are going to be mounting a vigorous campaign all over this country. That is how I think I can reassure the American people.”
Before the debate was through news outlets broke the news that the “special guest” at the event Saturday would be the prominent member of the Squad, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
Within minutes, another Squad member, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, announced her endorsement and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan was said to be set to announce her endorsement.
Omar and Tlaib both endorse the boycott Israel movement; Sanders does not but upholds the right of Americans to boycott Israel. In her announcement, Omar hinted that Sanders’ at times tough criticism of Israel drew her to him. Sanders “truly prioritize human rights in our foreign policy–no matter who violates them.”
Omar and Tlaib also have been accused by some Democrats and by Republicans of crossing the line into anti-Semitism. President Donald Trump has said the party is anti-Semitic because of their influence.
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
US President Donald Trump will sign an executive order imposing sanctions on Turkey over Ankara's invasion of northern Syria, the White House announced Monday.
The official statement by President Trump follows:
I will soon be issuing an Executive Order authorizing the imposition of sanctions against current and former officials of the Government of Turkey and any persons contributing to Turkey’s destabilizing actions in northeast Syria. Likewise, the steel tariffs will be increased back up to 50 percent, the level prior to reduction in May. The United States will also immediately stop negotiations, being led by the Department of Commerce, with respect to a $100 billion trade deal with Turkey.
This Order will enable the United States to impose powerful additional sanctions on those who may be involved in serious human rights abuses, obstructing a ceasefire, preventing displaced persons from returning home, forcibly repatriating refugees, or threatening the peace, security, or stability in Syria. The Order will authorize a broad range of consequences, including financial sanctions, the blocking of property, and barring entry into the United States.
Since my first day in office, the Trump Administration has worked tirelessly to preserve the safety and security of the United States and its citizens. The United States and our partners have liberated 100 percent of ISIS’s ruthless territorial caliphate. Turkey must not put these gains in jeopardy. Turkey must also prioritize the protection of civilians, particularly vulnerable ethnic and religious minorities in northeast Syria. Indiscriminate targeting of civilians, destruction of civilian infrastructure, and targeting of ethnic or religious minorities is unacceptable. Additionally, the return of refugees must be conducted in a safe, voluntary, and dignified manner.
Turkey’s military offensive is endangering civilians, and threatening peace, security, and stability in the region. I have been perfectly clear with President Erdogan: Turkey’s action is precipitating a humanitarian crisis and setting conditions for possible war crimes. Turkey must ensure the safety of civilians, including religious and ethnic minorities, and is now, or may be in the future, responsible for the ongoing detention of ISIS terrorists in the region. Unfortunately, Turkey does not appear to be mitigating the humanitarian effects of its invasion.
As I have said, I am withdrawing the remaining United States service members from northeast Syria. As United States forces have defeated the ISIS physical caliphate, United States troops coming out of Syria will now redeploy and remain in the region to monitor the situation and prevent a repeat of 2014, when the neglected threat of ISIS raged across Syria and Iraq. A small footprint of United States forces will remain at At Tanf Garrison in southern Syria to continue to disrupt remnants of ISIS.
The United States will aggressively use economic sanctions to target those who enable, facilitate, and finance these heinous acts in Syria. I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path.
Monday, October 14, 2019
Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Sunday urged the country’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) to prepare against the "enemies".
The IRGC should continue inventing and building modern and advanced military hardware, Khamenei said, according to the Xinhua news agency.
"You must have all necessary defense, operational and intelligence equipment. However, these instruments must be manufactured and developed at home and meet all the needs of the country on the ground, in the sky and space as well as at sea and borders. Even the cyberspace is among the necessary instruments," he said.
The IRGC needs to "keep moving forward in tactical and strategic strengths, operate with constant alertness and readiness, and avoid even a moment of neglect," added Khamenei.
Tensions between the US and Iran have increased since President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal last May. He later imposed two rounds of sanctions on Iran, the latest of which went into effect in November of 2018.
Iran, in turn, has scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal.
A commander in the IRGC recently declared that US regional bases and its aircraft carriers in the Gulf are within the range of Iranian missiles and warned, “Our missiles will destroy their aircraft carriers if they make a mistake.”