Turkey vs the SDF

SYRIA UPDATE: A few days ago, Turkey conducted airstrikes against the predominantly Kurdish SDF, which is our main ally on the ground the force responsible for 95% of the gains against ISIS. Turkey is now carrying out artillery strikes along the borders of the Kurdish canton of Afrin, and have reportedly been moving forces towards the SDF-held city of Tel Abyad. The stated aim of the Turkish government is to invade SDF territory, take Tel Abyad, and then move west into Kobane canton. They also want to take Manbij and the territory around Raqqa.

For the last several months, the SDF, backed by US special forces and air support, has been conducting an operation to take Raqqa, the capital city of the Islamic State. As of yesterday, they were on the verge of taking the strategic Tabqa Dam, which would give them full control of the area around Raqqa and clear the way for them to advance to the city limits and then enter the city. The loss of both Raqqa and Mosul, which the Iraqi military is currently clearing, would break the back of the Islamic State and reduce them to a rump force.

Today, in the wake of the Turkish airstrikes deep in SDF territory (that came close to hitting US troops), and in light of Turkey's extremely aggressive rhetoric and actions indicating a probable invasion, the SDF announced that the Raqqa campaign has been indefinitely postponed. The fight against ISIS, for now, has stopped, because of Turkish intervention in support of terrorism.

This is completely unacceptable. We need American leadership -- not just a few tweets, but actual action. That action has been lacking. The President is off having a tiny hand-measuring contest with Kim Jong-Un. The Secretary of State is completely unqualified for his position. The State Department is still filled with unfilled leadership positions, and is facing massive budget cuts. American diplomatic power in the region has been crippled, and the Turks are now giving us ultimatums, as though we were some two-bit minor power.

Earlier this month, most of my friends freaked out when the US conducted retaliatory airstrikes against Assad, and again when we dropped a big bomb on ISIS in Afghanistan. I pretty much yawned at both of those incidents. I am not yawning now.

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