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Holocaust Museum Faces Criticism After Pulling Syria Study

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The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has found itself in the middle of a fraught debate over the Obama administration’s legacy in Syria after withdrawing a study of the issue. Credit Drew Angerer for The New York Times

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is finding itself in an unfamiliar position: as a lightning rod for the fierce debate over the Obama administration’s role in the Syrian civil war.

The museum is facing withering criticism after pulling a study that it commissioned on Syria and published online Aug. 29. The report examined whether alternate strategies could have lessened the slaughter of war, now in its sixth year.

Museum leaders and the study’s authors had sought lessons on how a future president could mitigate similar crises. Though the authors found much to dislike in President Obama’s decisions on Syria, they also concluded that no single American action would have guaranteed a significant reduction in the violence there.

Critics of the study have portrayed that conclusion as an attempt to let Mr. Obama off the hook for the killings in Syria — a weighty charge for the Holocaust museum to confront, given that it is a moral force on issues of war, mass killings and government intervention. The museum ultimately pulled down the study after receiving complaints from allies.

Since then, the museum has been caught in a political debate and faced questions about academic freedom and the board’s ties to the Obama administration.

Continue reading the main story

The Times reached out to all 63 museum board members who are presidential appointees and members of Congress, as well as other museum officials. Interviews show that the museum was caught off guard by the impact and furor that its own report would have, and at least some board members were unaware that the museum was wading into a debate about atrocities in Syria.

Leon Wieseltier, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the former literary editor of The New Republic, is among the critics of both the study’s findings and its publication. He said the museum did the right thing by pulling it — a move that was first reported by Tablet magazine.

“The Holocaust museum, if it stands for anything, stands for the idea that we should always act against genocide and that there’s something forever wrong and unsatisfying about the idea that we can do nothing to alleviate radical evil,” Mr. Wieseltier said in an interview. “This paper basically whitewashes the Obama administration’s inaction on Syria and says that there’s nothing we can do.”

That characterization, echoed by other critics, incorrectly describes the report, according to several academics and Syria-watchers. They also said the study’s removal sets a troubling precedent for suppressing independent research.

“It’s absolutely shocking that they would pull a report simply because their supporters didn’t like the conclusions, which is the only way to interpret what they did,” said Marc Lynch, an international affairs professor at George Washington University and one of several experts interviewed by the study’s authors.

The museum, which opened in Washington in 1993 and operates with a mix of federal funding and private donations, has not explained its decision beyond a brief statement on its website citing “concerns” from “a number of people with whom we have worked closely on Syria.”

The study was commissioned a year ago by a think tank within the museum, the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. The think tank is overseen by the museum’s Committee on Conscience and undertakes research to help guide policy makers “to prevent — or, if necessary, halt — genocide and related crimes against humanity.”

The center’s director, Cameron Hudson, a National Security Council official under Mr. Bush who also worked on Sudan policy under Mr. Obama, said in a statement that the center had “clearly missed the mark” in seeking to “foster a constructive dialogue about how future genocide and mass atrocities can be prevented.”

Several members of the Committee on Conscience said they did not know about the Syria study until it was published online. Another member, Elliott Abrams, a leading conservative foreign policy expert and former museum board member, said he learned about it the day before it was posted.

Mr. Abrams said he called Sara J. Bloomfield, the museum’s director, to criticize its framing and warn her about a potential backlash.

Photo
Sara J. Bloomfield, the director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Credit Benjamin Myers/Reuters

“I don’t think I was the first person,” said Mr. Abrams, who served under President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush. Mr. Abrams added that he did not ask the museum to pull the study and was unaware of who did.

Ms. Bloomfield declined multiple requests for an interview over the last week.

Of the 63 trustees whom the Times contacted, many did not respond. Those who did either declined to comment or said that they had not heard of the study until its publication. Mr. Wieseltier said he wrote to a museum official he was friends with to register his outrage but did not ask for it to be withdrawn.

Mr. Hudson said no trustees had been involved in the study or its withdrawal. He did not respond to further inquiries. None of the study’s authors would comment.

Of the eight sitting federal lawmakers who are trustees, two responded. Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, had no comment on the study, a spokesman said. Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, said he supported the decision to remove it.

“Of all the monuments and symbols in our nation’s capital, none has a more important message than the Holocaust museum,” Mr. Hatch said in a statement. “It would be a tragedy for that message to be even slightly diminished by partisan politics.”

Menachem Z. Rosensaft, who was appointed as a museum trustee by President Clinton and Mr. Obama, said that he learned of the report after it was published, and understood the decision to pull it. Mr. Rosensaft, an adjunct law professor at Cornell University and Columbia University, said, “It leaves the option of discussing the report internally, deciding whether or not to keep it pulled, deciding whether to repost it, or deciding to post or publish it but in a broader context together with other opinions.”

Though publicly unavailable, the study is circulating among academics as a sort of email attachment samizdat. On social media, many researchers have hailed the study’s rigor. As more people read the report, anger over its removal has grown.

Speculation flew among conservatives on social media that Ben Rhodes, Mr. Obama’s deputy national security adviser and an architect of Mr. Obama’s Syria policy, was involved in the study, since he was named to the museum’s board before leaving the White House. Mr. Rhodes denied this and said in an email that he only learned of the study earlier this month.

Mr. Abrams, the Republican foreign policy expert, said that it was unfair to characterize the study as being designed by former administration officials to exonerate Mr. Obama.

“I was on the board for — I think it was nine years,” Mr. Abrams said. “I did not see one single case in which there was political influence on a staff product.”

The Obama administration’s role in the civil war, in which hundreds of thousands have died and millions have been displaced, has been a divisive topic in weighing Mr. Obama’s legacy.

The 193-page study is ambitious and highly technical. The authors applied five research models to project the outcomes of five alternate strategies that Mr. Obama could have pursued, effectively producing 25 distinct scenarios, each with its own lessons and nuances.

Of the 25, five found solid evidence that the examined strategy, had Mr. Obama pursued it, would have worked better. Six found that the alternate strategy would have been worse. Some were contradictory.

In addition, the authors, in evaluating the strategy Mr. Obama did pursue, found his administration did too much in some moments, worsening the violence, and too little in others. They declined to endorse Mr. Obama’s approach or the more aggressive policies commonly championed by his critics.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa divisions, said in an email that she was “disappointed” that the museum withdrew the research.

The study “revealed through rigorous inquiry just how difficult it is to be certain that military intervention will do more good than harm in dynamics as complex as Syria’s,” Ms. Whitson said, “especially when you factor in the disastrous U.S. record for military intervention in the region.”

Continue reading the main story

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is finding itself in an unfamiliar position: as a lightning rod for the fierce debate over the Obama administration’s role in the Syrian civil war.

The museum is facing withering criticism after pulling a study that it commissioned on Syria and published online Aug. 29. The report examined whether alternate strategies could have lessened the slaughter of war, now in its sixth year.

Museum leaders and the study’s authors had sought lessons on how a future president could mitigate similar crises. Though the authors found much to dislike in President Obama’s decisions on Syria, they also concluded that no single American action would have guaranteed a significant reduction in the violence there.

Critics of the study have portrayed that conclusion as an attempt to let Mr. Obama off the hook for the killings in Syria — a weighty charge for the Holocaust museum to confront, given that it is a moral force on issues of war, mass killings and government intervention. The museum ultimately pulled down the study after receiving complaints from allies.

Since then, the museum has been caught in a political debate and faced questions about academic freedom and the board’s ties to the Obama administration.

The Times reached out to all 63 museum board members who are presidential appointees and members of Congress, as well as other museum officials. Interviews show that the museum was caught off guard by the impact and furor that its own report would have, and at least some board members were unaware that the museum was wading into a debate about atrocities in Syria.

Leon Wieseltier, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the former literary editor of The New Republic, is among the critics of both the study’s findings and its publication. He said the museum did the right thing by pulling it — a move that was first reported by Tablet magazine.

“The Holocaust museum, if it stands for anything, stands for the idea that we should always act against genocide and that there’s something forever wrong and unsatisfying about the idea that we can do nothing to alleviate radical evil,” Mr. Wieseltier said in an interview. “This paper basically whitewashes the Obama administration’s inaction on Syria and says that there’s nothing we can do.”

That characterization, echoed by other critics, incorrectly describes the report, according to several academics and Syria-watchers. They also said the study’s removal sets a troubling precedent for suppressing independent research.

“It’s absolutely shocking that they would pull a report simply because their supporters didn’t like the conclusions, which is the only way to interpret what they did,” said Marc Lynch, an international affairs professor at George Washington University and one of several experts interviewed by the study’s authors.

The museum, which opened in Washington in 1993 and operates with a mix of federal funding and private donations, has not explained its decision beyond a brief statement on its website citing “concerns” from “a number of people with whom we have worked closely on Syria.”

The study was commissioned a year ago by a think tank within the museum, the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. The think tank is overseen by the museum’s Committee on Conscience and undertakes research to help guide policy makers “to prevent — or, if necessary, halt — genocide and related crimes against humanity.”

The center’s director, Cameron Hudson, a National Security Council official under Mr. Bush who also worked on Sudan policy under Mr. Obama, said in a statement that the center had “clearly missed the mark” in seeking to “foster a constructive dialogue about how future genocide and mass atrocities can be prevented.”

Several members of the Committee on Conscience said they did not know about the Syria study until it was published online. Another member, Elliott Abrams, a leading conservative foreign policy expert and former museum board member, said he learned about it the day before it was posted.

Mr. Abrams said he called Sara J. Bloomfield, the museum’s director, to criticize its framing and warn her about a potential backlash.

“I don’t think I was the first person,” said Mr. Abrams, who served under President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush. Mr. Abrams added that he did not ask the museum to pull the study and was unaware of who did.

Ms. Bloomfield declined multiple requests for an interview over the last week.

Of the 63 trustees whom the Times contacted, many did not respond. Those who did either declined to comment or said that they had not heard of the study until its publication. Mr. Wieseltier said he wrote to a museum official he was friends with to register his outrage but did not ask for it to be withdrawn.

Mr. Hudson said no trustees had been involved in the study or its withdrawal. He did not respond to further inquiries. None of the study’s authors would comment.

Of the eight sitting federal lawmakers who are trustees, two responded. Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, had no comment on the study, a spokesman said. Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, said he supported the decision to remove it.

“Of all the monuments and symbols in our nation’s capital, none has a more important message than the Holocaust museum,” Mr. Hatch said in a statement. “It would be a tragedy for that message to be even slightly diminished by partisan politics.”

Menachem Z. Rosensaft, who was appointed as a museum trustee by President Clinton and Mr. Obama, said that he learned of the report after it was published, and understood the decision to pull it. Mr. Rosensaft, an adjunct law professor at Cornell University and Columbia University, said, “It leaves the option of discussing the report internally, deciding whether or not to keep it pulled, deciding whether to repost it, or deciding to post or publish it but in a broader context together with other opinions.”

Though publicly unavailable, the study is circulating among academics as a sort of email attachment samizdat. On social media, many researchers have hailed the study’s rigor. As more people read the report, anger over its removal has grown.

Speculation flew among conservatives on social media that Ben Rhodes, Mr. Obama’s deputy national security adviser and an architect of Mr. Obama’s Syria policy, was involved in the study, since he was named to the museum’s board before leaving the White House. Mr. Rhodes denied this and said in an email that he only learned of the study earlier this month.

Mr. Abrams, the Republican foreign policy expert, said that it was unfair to characterize the study as being designed by former administration officials to exonerate Mr. Obama.

“I was on the board for — I think it was nine years,” Mr. Abrams said. “I did not see one single case in which there was political influence on a staff product.”

The Obama administration’s role in the civil war, in which hundreds of thousands have died and millions have been displaced, has been a divisive topic in weighing Mr. Obama’s legacy.

The 193-page study is ambitious and highly technical. The authors applied five research models to project the outcomes of five alternate strategies that Mr. Obama could have pursued, effectively producing 25 distinct scenarios, each with its own lessons and nuances.

Of the 25, five found solid evidence that the examined strategy, had Mr. Obama pursued it, would have worked better. Six found that the alternate strategy would have been worse. Some were contradictory.

In addition, the authors, in evaluating the strategy Mr. Obama did pursue, found his administration did too much in some moments, worsening the violence, and too little in others. They declined to endorse Mr. Obama’s approach or the more aggressive policies commonly championed by his critics.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa divisions, said in an email that she was “disappointed” that the museum withdrew the research.

The study “revealed through rigorous inquiry just how difficult it is to be certain that military intervention will do more good than harm in dynamics as complex as Syria’s,” Ms. Whitson said, “especially when you factor in the disastrous U.S. record for military intervention in the region.”

Nytimes

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Syria

Mixed Messages From U.S. as Turkey Attacks Syrian Kurds

- 24turkey1 facebookJumbo - Mixed Messages From U.S. as Turkey Attacks Syrian Kurds


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Turkish soldiers around the area of Mount Bersaya, north of the Syrian town of Azaz, on Tuesday. Credit Saleh Abo Ghaloun/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The White House sent out a message aimed at mollifying Turkey’s president on Tuesday, suggesting that the United States was easing off its support for the Syrian Kurds.

That message was quickly contradicted by the Pentagon, which said it would continue to stand by the Kurds, even as Turkey invaded their stronghold in northwestern Syria.

The conflicting statements appeared to reflect an effort by the administration to balance competing pressures. Turkey, which has been furious over American support for the Kurds, is a NATO ally, while the Kurds have been critical American partners in the war against the Islamic State.

For its part, the White House disavowed a plan by the American military to create a Kurdish-led force in northeastern Syria, which Turkey has vehemently opposed. Turkey, which considers the Kurdish militia a terrorist organization, fears the plan would cement a Kurdish enclave along its southern frontier.

That plan, a senior administration official said Tuesday, originated with midlevel military planners in the field, and was never seriously debated, or even formally introduced, at senior levels in the White House or the National Security Council.

Continue reading the main story

The official, who spoke to reporters on condition that he not be identified, also said that the United States had no connection to the Kurds in the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin, where the Turkish military has launched an invasion in recent days.

And he drew a distinction between allies — a term he said had legal connotations — and partners in a combat mission, like the Kurds. America’s actions on the ground in Syria, he said, would be driven by a calculation of its interests.

Taken together, the administration’s statements appeared to be a significant attempt to reassure Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who considers the Kurds a threat to his country’s internal stability.

But the Pentagon issued its own statement on Tuesday standing by its decision to create the Kurdish-led force. And a senior American commander praised the partnership with the Kurds, whose help was critical in a major American airstrike on the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, over the weekend.

“U.S. forces are training local partners to serve as a force that is internally focused on stability and deterring ISIS,” Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, said in the statement. “These local security forces are aimed at preventing the potential outflow of fleeing ISIS terrorists as their physical presence in Syria nears its end and pending a longer-term settlement of the civil war in Syria to ensure that ISIS cannot escape or return.”

The Pentagon has engaged in a rebranding effort, however, as the force was initially described as a border force, leading Turkey to fear the presence of thousands of American-backed, Kurdish troops on its border. Military officials are now saying that its duties will be mainly internal.

The debate over the partnership with the Kurds is taking place as the Kurds continue to play a major role fighting alongside the Americans in Syria.

The military’s Central Command said Tuesday that about 150 Islamic State fighters were killed in American airstrikes near As Shafah, Syria, on Saturday, in one the largest strikes against ISIS in the past year. The Kurdish-led militia, called the Syrian Democratic Forces, or S.D.F., helped guide the airstrikes, American officials said.

“The strikes underscore our assertion that the fight to liberate Syria is far from over,” Maj. Gen. James Jarrard, the commander of Special Operations forces in Iraq and Syria, said a statement. “Our S.D.F. partners are still making daily progress and sacrifices, and together we are still finding, targeting and killing ISIS terrorists intent on keeping their extremist hold on the region.”

Senior Pentagon officials and American commanders say that the Syrian Kurds will most likely serve as the backbone of the allied forces on the ground in Syria for months to come.

Echoing earlier comments by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the commander of the United States Central Command, General Joseph L. Votel, said in an interview last month that American forces would remain in eastern Syria, alongside their Syrian Kurdish and Arab allies, as long as needed to defeat the Islamic State.

Photo
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey was among those at the funeral of a soldier killed in the country’s operation in Syria. Credit Adem Altan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“What we don’t want to do is leave a mess,” General Votel said, something “worse than what we found.”

Coalition forces are attacking the last remnants of the Islamic State in the Euphrates River valley of Syria, near the Iraqi border. But as that campaign begins to wane, the American partnership with the Kurds is bringing it into ever-more-direct conflict with Turkey.

While the Turkish military incursion into Afrin has seized the world’s attention, American, NATO and Turkish officials have directed their eyes east, to the strategic city of Manbij.

Home to a contingent of United States Special Operations troops who are training and equipping Kurdish forces that control the city, Manbij is increasingly emerging as the ultimate target of the Turkish operation and a far more serious source of tension than the Afrin offensive.

A Turkish assault on Manbij could bring its forces into direct conflict with the Americans, with unpredictable results.

“It may bring a direct military confrontation, as American forces are there,” said Gonul Tol, director of the Center for Turkish Studies at the Middle East Institute in Washington. “The death of even one American soldier may completely break ties.”

Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, raised Manbij when briefing Turkish journalists on Tuesday morning, having met the day before with Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson in France.

“Terrorists in Manbij are constantly firing provocation shots,” Mr. Cavusoglu said. “If the United States doesn’t stop this, we will stop it.

Mr. Tillerson said the United States would keep working with Turkey to stabilize the situation and address its security concerns.

The level of concern about Turkish-American relations was reflected in the flurry of meetings this week between officials of the two countries.

American officials, led by the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, Jonathan R. Cohen, flew to Ankara, Turkey’s capital, for meetings scheduled for Wednesday, including with security officials. They were joined there by Rose Gottemoeller, the deputy secretary general of NATO, who was in Turkey for a planned, two-day visit.

In an interview with the NTV news channel, Ms. Gotemoeller treaded carefully, saying that “Turkey has legitimate reasons to be concerned about the Kurdish armed organizations in Syria,” but adding that “one should keep a balance between the threat and the reaction to it.”

Turkey has long complained about American support for Syrian Kurdish militias, which it says have emboldened the Kurdish separatist movement that Ankara considers a threat to its territorial sovereignty and is prepared to go to great lengths to counteract. Turkish officials say that this has allowed weapons and support to reach the outlawed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Europe and has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey.

Turkey, which shares a long border with Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria, has been particularly incensed by the Kurdish militias’ seizure of Arab villages and towns in the area.

Manbij is in many respects the gateway to those areas, a regional center some miles west of the Euphrates. It is now under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces, and has been since last August, when it expelled the Islamic State.

Robert S. Ford, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute and a former Ambassador to Syria, wrote in an analytical column that Turkey’s military operations in Syria demonstrated the difficulties of the American position. Turkey’s brushoff of American concerns made the United States look weak, Mr. Ford wrote, adding that some Kurdish observers were accusing America of being an unreliable ally.

“Over the longer term, it is hard to see how the U.S. will secure its stated political goal of stabilization in eastern Syria and genuine governance reforms in Syria,” he wrote.

Continue reading the main story

WASHINGTON — The White House sent out a message aimed at mollifying Turkey’s president on Tuesday, suggesting that the United States was easing off its support for the Syrian Kurds.

That message was quickly contradicted by the Pentagon, which said it would continue to stand by the Kurds, even as Turkey invaded their stronghold in northwestern Syria.

The conflicting statements appeared to reflect an effort by the administration to balance competing pressures. Turkey, which has been furious over American support for the Kurds, is a NATO ally, while the Kurds have been critical American partners in the war against the Islamic State.

For its part, the White House disavowed a plan by the American military to create a Kurdish-led force in northeastern Syria, which Turkey has vehemently opposed. Turkey, which considers the Kurdish militia a terrorist organization, fears the plan would cement a Kurdish enclave along its southern frontier.

That plan, a senior administration official said Tuesday, originated with midlevel military planners in the field, and was never seriously debated, or even formally introduced, at senior levels in the White House or the National Security Council.

The official, who spoke to reporters on condition that he not be identified, also said that the United States had no connection to the Kurds in the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin, where the Turkish military has launched an invasion in recent days.

And he drew a distinction between allies — a term he said had legal connotations — and partners in a combat mission, like the Kurds. America’s actions on the ground in Syria, he said, would be driven by a calculation of its interests.

Taken together, the administration’s statements appeared to be a significant attempt to reassure Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who considers the Kurds a threat to his country’s internal stability.

But the Pentagon issued its own statement on Tuesday standing by its decision to create the Kurdish-led force. And a senior American commander praised the partnership with the Kurds, whose help was critical in a major American airstrike on the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, over the weekend.

“U.S. forces are training local partners to serve as a force that is internally focused on stability and deterring ISIS,” Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, said in the statement. “These local security forces are aimed at preventing the potential outflow of fleeing ISIS terrorists as their physical presence in Syria nears its end and pending a longer-term settlement of the civil war in Syria to ensure that ISIS cannot escape or return.”

The Pentagon has engaged in a rebranding effort, however, as the force was initially described as a border force, leading Turkey to fear the presence of thousands of American-backed, Kurdish troops on its border. Military officials are now saying that its duties will be mainly internal.

The debate over the partnership with the Kurds is taking place as the Kurds continue to play a major role fighting alongside the Americans in Syria.

The military’s Central Command said Tuesday that about 150 Islamic State fighters were killed in American airstrikes near As Shafah, Syria, on Saturday, in one the largest strikes against ISIS in the past year. The Kurdish-led militia, called the Syrian Democratic Forces, or S.D.F., helped guide the airstrikes, American officials said.

“The strikes underscore our assertion that the fight to liberate Syria is far from over,” Maj. Gen. James Jarrard, the commander of Special Operations forces in Iraq and Syria, said a statement. “Our S.D.F. partners are still making daily progress and sacrifices, and together we are still finding, targeting and killing ISIS terrorists intent on keeping their extremist hold on the region.”

Senior Pentagon officials and American commanders say that the Syrian Kurds will most likely serve as the backbone of the allied forces on the ground in Syria for months to come.

Echoing earlier comments by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the commander of the United States Central Command, General Joseph L. Votel, said in an interview last month that American forces would remain in eastern Syria, alongside their Syrian Kurdish and Arab allies, as long as needed to defeat the Islamic State.

“What we don’t want to do is leave a mess,” General Votel said, something “worse than what we found.”

Coalition forces are attacking the last remnants of the Islamic State in the Euphrates River valley of Syria, near the Iraqi border. But as that campaign begins to wane, the American partnership with the Kurds is bringing it into ever-more-direct conflict with Turkey.

While the Turkish military incursion into Afrin has seized the world’s attention, American, NATO and Turkish officials have directed their eyes east, to the strategic city of Manbij.

Home to a contingent of United States Special Operations troops who are training and equipping Kurdish forces that control the city, Manbij is increasingly emerging as the ultimate target of the Turkish operation and a far more serious source of tension than the Afrin offensive.

A Turkish assault on Manbij could bring its forces into direct conflict with the Americans, with unpredictable results.

“It may bring a direct military confrontation, as American forces are there,” said Gonul Tol, director of the Center for Turkish Studies at the Middle East Institute in Washington. “The death of even one American soldier may completely break ties.”

Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, raised Manbij when briefing Turkish journalists on Tuesday morning, having met the day before with Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson in France.

“Terrorists in Manbij are constantly firing provocation shots,” Mr. Cavusoglu said. “If the United States doesn’t stop this, we will stop it.

Mr. Tillerson said the United States would keep working with Turkey to stabilize the situation and address its security concerns.

The level of concern about Turkish-American relations was reflected in the flurry of meetings this week between officials of the two countries.

American officials, led by the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, Jonathan R. Cohen, flew to Ankara, Turkey’s capital, for meetings scheduled for Wednesday, including with security officials. They were joined there by Rose Gottemoeller, the deputy secretary general of NATO, who was in Turkey for a planned, two-day visit.

In an interview with the NTV news channel, Ms. Gotemoeller treaded carefully, saying that “Turkey has legitimate reasons to be concerned about the Kurdish armed organizations in Syria,” but adding that “one should keep a balance between the threat and the reaction to it.”

Turkey has long complained about American support for Syrian Kurdish militias, which it says have emboldened the Kurdish separatist movement that Ankara considers a threat to its territorial sovereignty and is prepared to go to great lengths to counteract. Turkish officials say that this has allowed weapons and support to reach the outlawed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Europe and has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey.

Turkey, which shares a long border with Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria, has been particularly incensed by the Kurdish militias’ seizure of Arab villages and towns in the area.

Manbij is in many respects the gateway to those areas, a regional center some miles west of the Euphrates. It is now under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces, and has been since last August, when it expelled the Islamic State.

Robert S. Ford, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute and a former Ambassador to Syria, wrote in an analytical column that Turkey’s military operations in Syria demonstrated the difficulties of the American position. Turkey’s brushoff of American concerns made the United States look weak, Mr. Ford wrote, adding that some Kurdish observers were accusing America of being an unreliable ally.

“Over the longer term, it is hard to see how the U.S. will secure its stated political goal of stabilization in eastern Syria and genuine governance reforms in Syria,” he wrote.

Nytimes

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Syria

US chemical blame-game: Well-timed PR stunt or trick to justify military presence in Syria?

- 5a67ae24fc7e9309638b4567 - US chemical blame-game: Well-timed PR stunt or trick to justify military presence in Syria?


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US rejects Moscow-proposed UN mechanism to probe Syria chemical attacks based on facts

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Turkish attack on Rajo kills one civilian, wounds two others 

Turkish army is continuing its invasion attacks against Afrin Canton of Northern Syria, also hitting civilian areas besides military targets....

- 20180124 20180123 2018 01 23 hsk dauyyani ji bo efrin 2 620x3649b2bdb imageb2feed image 400x240 - Self-Defense Forces: We will not allow Turkey to invade Afrin  - 20180124 20180123 2018 01 23 hsk dauyyani ji bo efrin 2 620x3649b2bdb imageb2feed image 80x80 - Self-Defense Forces: We will not allow Turkey to invade Afrin 
Rojava6 hours ago

Self-Defense Forces: We will not allow Turkey to invade Afrin 

The Defense Councils of Northern Syria regions made a joint statement at Heseke Stadium in solidarity with the resistance of...

- KACOttawa 400x240 - Kurds in Canada urge Turkey to ‘stop spilling Kurdish blood’ in Afrin - KACOttawa 80x80 - Kurds in Canada urge Turkey to ‘stop spilling Kurdish blood’ in Afrin
kurdistan6 hours ago

Kurds in Canada urge Turkey to ‘stop spilling Kurdish blood’ in Afrin

Rojen Rahmani, head of lobbying and advocacy for KAC, said the Canadian government needs to respond and condemn Turkey’s violent...

- 20180123 20180123 555ef125f imaged8d415 image 400x240 - Number of civilians wounded in Turkish attacks rises to 10  - 20180123 20180123 555ef125f imaged8d415 image 80x80 - Number of civilians wounded in Turkish attacks rises to 10 
Rojava7 hours ago

Number of civilians wounded in Turkish attacks rises to 10 

Turkish army continued its airstrikes and artillery attacks on Cindires and Rajo districts of Afrin throughout Tuesday. 10 civilians suffered...

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