Just as the U.S. generals were about manipulate the Trump administration on the Syrian policy as they did the former administration of Barack Obama, they were countered by some U.S. senators who are well aware of the reality in the region
Leading U.S. senators gave a hard time to the American generals who are trying to sideline Turkey in the fight against Daesh and instead use the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and PKK Kurdish terrorists to do the job.
The powerful Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Republican Senator John McCain from Arizona and committee member South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham grilled U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) boss Gen. Joseph Votel at a hearing on Thursday and the general was clearly at a miss to provide any sensible answers and his responses at times were either misleading or clearly fabrications.
McCain said U.S. support for the People's Protection Units (YPG)-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) threatens to create a major rift between Turkey and the U.S. The senator said he doubted that Donald Trump's administration had a full grasp on the extent of Ankara's concerns regarding the group. In fact Senator McCain seems unaware that the U.S. military has been misleading the administration with false information on Turkey, its performance in Syria and the fact that the YPG is a terrorist outfit that is an extension of the PKK in Syria. That is the PKK that the U.S. has put on its terrorist list.
"Unless something changes, I foresee a train wreck here, and I'm not sure that the administration recognizes how seriously, particularly, [Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan views the threat that the Kurds pose," he said, referring to the YPG. That is exactly the problem. The pro-PKK lobby in Washington is deceiving the president and his men with lies.
Votel, who heads the American Middle East military command, said there has been a military and political effort to address Ankara's concerns, stressing that Turkey's contributions to the counter Daesh campaign are vital. "We certainly understand what their interests are, and we understand their concerns about the partners that we are working with. Turkey is a vital partner in this effort here. We cannot do what we're doing without them," he said. That is a grand lie. His men have briefed American journalists recently trying to underscore Turkey's successes in Syria, especially in al-Bab, and have said the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Turkish forces are still untested and cannot do the job in Raqqa. His CENTCOM has been feeding lies to the journalists saying only the YPG can do the job of kicking Daesh out of Raqqa. Thus CENTCOM has provided heavy arms and training to the YPG, a terrorist force that will definitely confront Turkey in the long run. Can any U.S. general pay the bill for such a colossal mistake? Can the Turkish public forgive the U.S. for such an act of treason?
Asked by Senator Graham about the YPG's "Marxist view of governing," Votel said, "I think it's fair to say that there is some affinity back towards that." Graham said: "So is it fair to say that we've got to be careful about over utilizing the YPG Kurds? Not only will it create problems for Turkey, other Kurds in the region don't buy into their agenda also." Votel responded: "I think it is important and that is why, as we look to a place like Raqqa, we are attempting to do that with the majority Arab forces." That is also a lie. The Americans used the same story to convince Turkey to allow the use of the YPG in liberating the Arab city of Manbij and promised to Ankara a year ago that the Kurds would leave the town once it was freed from Daesh. On the contrary the YPG remains well entrenched in Manbij and refuses to withdraw. Turkey has warned it will throw the YPG out of Manbij by force and the U.S. generals, instead of forcing the Kurds out of the town, have sent bodyguards to defend them. Could Votel explain this to the senators?
It is clear the U.S. generals are trying to mislead the Trump administration but they could not achieve much when they encountered senators who have a good grasp of the real picture.
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