by Daniel Pipes
October 15, 2019
Answers prepared for Евразия.Эксперт (Eurasian Expert) but not used because too brief for its purposes.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has admitted that American troops in Syria are in a “terrible” position. What happened to bring Americans to this predicament?
Trump has decided that bringing American troops back from the Middle East is his highest priority, ignoring the situation in Syria, morality, and the reputation of the United States.
What now is the mission of the US military in Syria after Turkish troops entered Syria? Is there a purpose if the Americans troops don’t support anyone – neither Kurds nor Turks?
The U.S. military mission in Syria is to leave but also to threaten Turkey if Erdoğan goes too far. Whatever that means.
Esper has spoken of withdrawing about a thousand troops from Syria and the main contingent may leave in the coming days. What do you expect next?
It’s hard to predict because so much of the U.S. government, especially the Department of Defense and the Congress, oppose Trump, so they might be able to stall or push him to get the Turks to stop the invasion.
Which forces will take advantage of the vacuum created in northern Syria after the American departure?
The U.S. withdrawal helps Turkey, which now can move into Syria; and the Asad government (and its Iranian ally), which is making deals with the Kurds.
|Smoke rises from Ras al-Ain on Oct. 14, day six of Turkey’s invasion of Syria.|
The Kurds are looking to Moscow to stop the Turks; will the Russians go against Erdoğan and support the Kurds?
I expect Putin to find a path that maximizes Russian influence over both Ankara and the Kurds. I can’t predict what that path will be.
How will it all end, what will be the alignment of forces in northern Syria?
I foresee a de facto division of northern Syria between Turkish, Kurdish, and Syrian-Iranian areas.
|Rouhani (L), Erdoğan, Putin: The external powers in Turkey.|