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Warren Gamaliel Pence

Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo proudly announced Thursday, at the US Embassy in Ankara, that they had convinced Turkey to agree to a ceasefire in northern Syria today, and all they had to do was agree to everything Turkey wanted: the removal of all Kurdish forces within 20 miles of the entire Syria-Turkey border. Turkey has agreed to halt military action in the so-called "safe zone" for five days, and if all the Kurdish fighters have withdrawn, Turkey will permanently call its Orwellian "Operation Peace Spring" over. (It was an operation, but involved neither peace, nor Spring.)

As for the Kurds, they're fucked. The former US allies who did the bulk of the fighting to bring down the ISIS "caliphate" in Syria, at the cost of 10,000 Kurdish lives, have to get the hell out. Oh, and Trump has some lovely parting gifts for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

[The] agreement essentially gives the Turks what they had sought to achieve with their military operation in the first place. After the Kurdish forces are cleared from the safe zone, Turkey has committed to a permanent cease-fire but is under no obligation to withdraw its troops. In addition, the deal gives Turkey relief from sanctions the administration had imposed and threatened to impose since the invasion began, meaning there will be no penalty for the operation. [emphasis added -- Dok]

Also, a lifetime supply of Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat®. Thanks for playing! And Donald Trump, having halted the invasion he gave Turkey the OK to start, will now sit back and wait for the Nobel committee to send him that Peace Prize Obama stole from him.


Here are Pence and Pompeo thanking Donald Trump for his masterful work in giving Erdogan everything he wanted.

Pence, Pompeo secure ceasefire agreement in Syria youtu.be

We like the part where Pence simply doesn't answer the question about whether this US-Turkey deal represents "a second abandonment of the Kurds."

Oh, yes, about that: The Kurdish forces weren't even included in the discussions, and the Associated Press reports

it was not immediately clear whether they would comply. Before the talks, the Kurds indicated they would object to any agreement along the lines of what was announced by Pence. But Pence maintained that the U.S. had obtained "repeated assurances from them that they'll be moving out."

Later, the commander of Kurdish-led forces in Syria, Mazloum Abdi, said on Kurdish Ronahi TV that he hoped the agreement would bring an end to the fighting, although he defined the area covered by the ceasefire more narrowly, effectively the parts of northern Syria Turkey has already occupied.

"We hope that this cease fire will be successful, and we will do our best to make it successful," Abdi said Thursday, describing it as a "tentative agreement." Abdi is also known by his nom de guerre, Mazloum Kobani.

Abdi also did not specify that his fighters would withdraw from any territory. Kurdish fighters have already been driven out of much — but not all — of the area he defined. But they are still entrenched in Ras al-Ayn, fiercely battling Turkish-backed Syrian fighters trying to take the town. Whether the Kurdish fighters pull out of Ras al-Ayn will likely be an early test of the accord.

Where are the Kurds supposed to go? That's not America's problem. Fuck 'em -- "They should have known better than to trust me" has always been Donald Trump's way of doing business, and now it's official American policy. As the Great Man said Wednesday, before his glorious peace victory, "They've got a lot of sand over there. So, there's a lot of sand that they can play with."

The AP notes that the full extent of the Turkish-controlled "safe zone" will cover a significant chunk of northern Syria:

In contrast with Pence's description of a limited safe zone, the agreement would effectively create a zone of control patrolled by the Turkish military that Ankara wants to stretch for the entire border from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, though the agreement did not define the extent of the zone. Turkish forces currently control about a quarter of that length, captured in the past nine days.

The rest is held by the Kurdish-led forces or by the Syrian government military, backed by Russia, which the Kurds invited to move in to shield them from the Turks. None of those parties has much reason to let Turkish forces into the areas.

Here, have a map, also from the AP:

Map by Associated Presshttps://apnews.com/04c074aed3c34bc7a6f3beaa6004aff8

Rachel Maddow offered this succinct description of the "deal":

A "senior US official" confirmed to CNN that was exactly what the "deal" achieved:

This is what Turkey wanted and what POTUS green lighted. I do think one reason Turkey agreed to it is because of the Kurds have put up more of a resistance and they could not advance south any further as a result. If we don't impose sanctions then Turkey wins big time.

As of yet, we haven't seen whether Trump has called for the unidentified official to be executed for treason.

Just for laughs, Turkey's foreign minister insisted it's not even a "ceasefire," because a "ceasefire" is declared between legitimate combatants, and the Kurds are mere terrorists.

The "president" of the United States of America appears to have wholly adopted the Turkish view of the Kurds in Syria, calling the US capitulation to Erdogan "a great day for civilization" and empathizing with Erdogan's struggle to be rid of that awful infestation of a hated ethnic minority:

The strategic genius seemed to think Turkey's unilateral agreement to a five-day pause in fighting, to allow the Kurds to cleanse themselves from the border, constituted an actual settlement that would stand for all time:

This is an incredible outcome. This outcome is something they've been trying to get for 10 years -- everybody, and they couldn't get it. Other administrations. And they never would have been able to get it unless you went somewhat unconventional. I guess I'm an unconventional person.

Mediaite drily notes, "It's unclear what outcome Trump is referring to. Previous U.S. presidents have not sought to hand over northern Syria to Turkey." Indeed.

Trump also insisted, despite the fact that they weren't included in a single moment of the Pence-Pompeo-Erdogan talks, that the Kurds were perfectly delighted with the plan imposed on them:

Everybody agreed to things that three days ago they would have never agreed to [...] That includes the Kurds. The Kurds are now much more inclined to do what has to be done. Turkey is much more inclined to do what has to be done.

Really, this is just the best thing possible, because now the Kurds will be pushed out, and Erdogan, that great man, probably won't be forced to exterminate them.

Trump's admiration for Erdogan is apparently unrequited, however, since the Turkish strongman took a very dim view of Trump's idiot letter telling Erdogan not to be a "tough guy" or America would have to slap him. BBC North America editor Jon Sopel reports:

Just to pile on, Turkey's ambassador to the US, Serdar Kilic, went on the PBS "NewsHour" to say this of the letter:

Frankly speaking, I hope history will not record that letter. That letter should not have been sent in the first place, because it lacks all the niceties, and it's void of any established practices in that regard. I hope history is not going to record it in any case, in any way.

Trump then responded with a second letter inviting Erdogan to his birthday party, ending "Do you like me? Y__ N__"

At his rally in Dallas last night, President Dipshit-On-A-Barstool explained there was really nothing more he could have done, because the lesser races simply don't know anything but fighting anyway.

Sometimes you have to let them fight a little while… right? [...] Sometimes you have to let them fight. It's like two kids in a lot, you got to let them fight and then you pull them apart[.]

They aren't civilized like us, so we had to let the strongman have his way. Let's not forget that in this analogy, Trump would be the "adult" who told the bully to go ahead and pound on the other kid, then cautioned, "don't get too rough, OK? You don't want to make me come break you up."

It really is a wonderful day for America and for Turkey and for Russia and Syria and Iran. And the Kurds we betrayed will just have to live with what a great day it is for them, too.

[AP / WaPo / CNN / AP / Mediaite / CNN]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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