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Turkey Invades Syria to Fight U.S.-backed Kurdish Forces ... Again

Grant Rumley
23rd January 2018 - Quoted by J. Dana Stuster - Lawfare

As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was committing to an open-ended U.S. presence in eastern Syria last week with the ambitious goals of preventing the return of the Islamic State, denying Iran a corridor to the Mediterranean, and ultimately removing the Assad regime, one of Washington’s most important partners, Turkey, was launching a new military incursion targeting U.S.-backed forces. 

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Pence also said in his speech that the United States would support a two-state solution “if both sides agree,” but his appeal only drew applause from half the chamber—Netanyahu’s opposition. There, again, the Jerusalem decision has created an obstacle to any renewed peace process. The decision has pushed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas into a reactionary fervor, which hasn’t been helped by the Trump administration’s decision to withhold $65 million in scheduled funding from UNRWA, the U.N. agency that provides assistance to Palestinian refugees. Other countries—including Belgium and the Netherlands—have agreed to step up their pledges to UNRWA to bridge at least some of the gap left by the United States. In a two-hour speech on Sunday, Abbas rebuked Trump administration officials, Arab leaders, and engaged in open anti-Semitism. The Oslo agreement was dead, he said, and he would no longer recognize the United States as a mediator. Grant Rumley, who wrote a biography of Abbas, argued for The Atlantic that the speech was akin to the rejectionism of Yasser Arafat; with his days as president possibly numbered, it could tilt “the scales in favor of a more volatile successor.” Even if Pence truly wants a two-state solution, its unclear who else does on either side of the negotiating table.

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