Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Indicates Rejoining Northeast Syria with the Rest of the Country

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Indicates Rejoining Northeast Syria with the Rest of the Country

One on one talks in Helsinki between Presidents Trump and Putin regarding U.S.-Russia cooperation to assist Syrian refugees in returning home are bearing fruit — despite public statements that sound like feet dragging from Secretary of State James Mattis and CENTCOM head Gen. Joseph Votel. Neocon U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are proposing legislation that would allow the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to determine if fresh ‘election meddling’ occurs in November 2018 and thereby usurp the President’s chief executive authority to impose more sanctions on Russia.

Nonetheless, on Tuesday Secretary of State and former CIA director Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would support a peace settlement that includes the northeast of the country where American troops are based (without Damascus permission) after the defeat of ISIS. This is to some extent belated recognition of the reality that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Kurds, recognizing the Americans won’t stay for years and fearful of future Turkish aggression against their lands without Syrian Arab Army (and indirectly, Russian) protection, are in negotiations to reconcile with the Syrian government. With the rebels rapid collapse in the southwest, the SAA’s next battle is likely to be for jihadist dominated Idlib. — JWS

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