This is apparently not what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants. But Trump is being advised by military officials to arm the Syrian Kurds with heavy weaponry (including anti-tank missiles) in the fight against ISIS.
The People’s Protection Units, or the Y.P.G. (Kurdish: Yekîneyên Parastina Gel) is a Kurdish militia group operating in Syria.
Turkish President Erdogan says he doesn’t want the U.S. to arm them, because supposedly they’re aligned with some other terrorist group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the P.K.K. Here’s the New York Times:
President Trump has approved a plan to provide Syrian Kurds with heavier weapons so they can participate in the battle to retake Raqqa from the Islamic State, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
American military commanders have long argued for arming the Y.P.G., a Kurdish militia that contains some of the most experienced fighters among the Syrian force that is battling the Islamic State.
But Turkey has vociferously objected to such a move, insisting that the Kurdish fighters are linked with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the P.K.K., which both it and the United States regard as a terrorist group.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is scheduled to meet with Mr. Trump in Washington this month, and the American decision on arming the Kurds is likely to figure prominently in the discussion. Mr. Erdogan is expected to press Mr. Trump to give Turkey and the Syrian rebels it backs a bigger supporting role in the assault on Raqqa.
Turkey was informed of Mr. Trump’s decision, according to an American official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing private diplomatic communications.
The Turkish government had no immediate reaction, with officials declining to comment before Mr. Erdogan’s office did.
But the move was likely to anger Mr. Erdogan, who has been pressing the United States to lessen its support for the Syrian Kurds, which the United States considers its most reliable partner against the Islamic State but which Turkey views as terrorists allied with a Kurdish insurgency in Turkey.
First of all, who cares what Turkey’s authoritarian leader says the U.S. should do?
Second of all, Turkey apparently wants us to keep arming groups like the Free Syrian Army, al-Nusra Front, and al-Qaeda, and a bunch of other militias, all of whom are associated with ISIS. How is that preferable to arming the Kurds?
This is just one reason the U.S. shouldn’t be involved with these Middle East conflicts. In fact, the reason ISIS is anything today is because of the U.S.’s, Saudi Arabia’s, Qatar’s and other Middle East allies arming them.
If Middle Eastern countries want to support terrorist groups for the purpose of toppling an elected leader whom they don’t like (such as Assad), that’s their business. But the U.S. shouldn’t have anything to do with it.