U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday he was optimistic that a “good outcome” could be reached between Turkey and Syrian Kurdish groups, after speaking to the Turkish foreign minister.
“We recognize the Turkish people’s right to defend their country from terrorists, but we also know that those … who are not terrorists and fighting alongside us for all this time deserve to be protected,” Pompeo told reporters.
“There are many details to be worked out but I am optimistic we can achieve a good outcome,” he said.
Relations between the two NATO allies have been strained over U.S. backing for the Kurdish YPG, which Turkey views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) waging a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.
Pompeo said his phone call with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu involved several elements of U.S.-Turkey relations, including Syria and the detention of Americans in Turkey.
He said the U.S. envoy for Syria, Jim Jeffrey, had traveled to northeast Syria this week and would soon go to Ankara for talks, including on moving forward a UN-led political process to end the eight-year long conflict in Syria.
He suggested that talks between Damascus and the Syrian Kurds could be part of a broader political solution in Syria.
“We hope we can turn the corner here,” Pompeo added.
Kurdish-led groups who control swathes of northern Syria fear an attack from Turkey in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from their region. Turkey sees the Kurdish YPG militia close to its border as a security threat.
Trump’s decision to withdraw the troops hinges on Turkey’s cooperation to secure the northern border. But Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to crush the Kurdish groups that have been effective in defeating Islamic State in Syria.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi as part of a regional tour, Pompeo said the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria was a “tactical change” but the mission to destroy Islamic State and counter Iran’s influence remained the same.
In a speech in Cairo on Thursday, Pompeo vowed that the United States would “expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria, where Tehran is supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“It’s an ambitious objective, but it is ours, and it is our mission,” he added.
The speech sought to lay out the Trump administration’s strategy for the Middle East and criticized former U.S. President Barack Obama, without naming him, for “fundamental misunderstandings” about the Middle East.
Pompeo said on Saturday the speech had not taken aim at individuals but rather the ideas of the previous administration, adding that the Obama-era policies opened the way for Islamic State and the spread of Iran’s influence in the region
REVEALED: Far-right extremists are circulating plans to lock down Arizona streets if Trump is re-elected
On Saturday, The Arizona Republic reported that far-right paramilitary groups are circulating plans to lock down neighborhoods in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area in the event that President Donald Trump is re-elected, supposedly to police left-wing protesters.
"In Arizona, the head of the Prescott-area chapter of the Oath Keepers group, which recruits military and law enforcement officers, has warned residents to be prepared to protect their neighborhoods from feared extreme left-wing protesters who would be upset should President Donald Trump be re-elected," reported Richard Ruelas. "Part of that the pro-Trump group'splan involved closing streets and assigning monitors to control access, according to a planning document shared with The Republic."
Conservatives are hopping mad that their clumsy Hunter Biden smear is a flop
Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
In 2016, Steve Bannon did an amazing job rolling out the Clinton Foundation nontroversy. He gave The New York Times and CNN early access to Peter Schweizer's book, Clinton Cash, and the outlets gave it mainstream credibility. Later, when the Uranium One story was thoroughly debunked, it didn't matter. The foundation remained under a pall of fuzzy suspicions.
GOP insiders give Pence little chance of ever being president after four years spent defending Trump: report
On Saturday, writing for The Washington Post, Ben Terris reported that many Republican consultants and insiders believe that Vice President Mike Pence's presidential ambitions are doomed, for several reasons.
"If you list the top 10 most likely people to have a strong shot at the nomination, maybe Mike Pence makes number nine or 10," said former Marco Rubio presidential campaign manager Terry Sullivan in the piece. "Maybe." Former Jeb Bush campaign spokesman Tim Miller agreed, saying, "I could maybe see him becoming the nominee, but president? I just don’t see it."