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After talks with Putin and Trump Erdogan looks isolated on Kurds and Syria

In separate meetings Russian President Putin and US President Trump tell Turkish President Erdogan of their countries’ continued support for Syria’s Kurds.

Alexander Mercouris

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My colleague Adam Garrie has spoken of the subdued tone of the joint press conference held during the summit meeting between US President Trump and Turkish President Erdogan.

Undoubtedly part of the reason for the subdued tone was the sense in the White House of the President being under siege because of the bogus story of the leak of ‘highly classified intelligence’ by President Trump to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.  However there is no doubt – as my colleague Adam Garrie correctly says – that the principal cause of the tension between Trump and Erdogan are the differences between them about the treatment of the Kurds in Syria

Erdogan spoke for a lengthier period than Donald Trump. He reiterated his stance against the PKK as well as the Kurdish YPG militias currently fighting in Syria.

The only problem is that America is a strong supporter of the YPG in the form of the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) which are compromised primarily of YPG fighters and commanders. America has recently given heavy weapons to Kurdish forces in Syria as they prepare to advance on Raqqa, the capital of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).

It remains unclear how America can be a Turkish and Kurdish ally at a time when both sides are fighting an open war in Syria and also in Iraq where America continues to maintain a large military presence.

It was one thing being a Turkish ally and covertly supporting Kurds in places like Iraq when Turkey wasn’t directly engaged in fighting Kurds in Arab countries, but now that this reality has changed, it is difficult to see how anyone, let alone a confused American administration could juggle this mutually incompatible alliance.

READ MORE: America’s collision course in the Turkish-Kurdish conflict

Indeed, recently, one of President Erdogan’s advisers spoke of how Turkish missiles might ‘accidentally’ strike US troops acting as a buffer between Turkish and Kurdish fighters in Syria. These are hardly the words of ‘allies’.

In fact to Erdogan’s and Turkey’s growing dismay the US has increasingly been arming the Kurds in Syria with heavier and heavier weapons, and has been sending more and more US advisers to Syria to work with the Kurds, as the US has come to look increasingly to the Kurds to pursue the war against ISIS.

What is interesting is that US policy of backing the Kurds against ISIS is being increasingly mirrored by Russia’s policy of backing the Kurds to do the same thing.  Consider for example Russian President Putin’s comments about the Kurds during his recent visit to China

I discussed this matter with the Turkish President. He expressed his concerns in this respect during our meeting in Sochi. I said to him then and I can say publicly now that there is no secret here. Unlike other countries, we have not declared any intention of supplying arms to Kurdish fighters. They do not have any great need for our supplies in any case, as they have other supply channels. We do not see any need to get involved in arms supplies.

But the Kurds are a real factor in the situation in Syria and their fighters are taking part in operations against the so-called Islamic State and are among the most combat-ready groups; therefore, we think it perfectly justified to maintain working contacts with them, if only to avoid possible confrontation and situations that could pose a threat to our service personnel.

I do not see anything here that could give our Turkish partners cause for concern. We are in contact, our position is open, and I hope that our Turkish partners understand it too. I am aware of the Turkish President’s concerns – and we discussed this yesterday – over the United States’ announcement that it will supply arms to the Kurds. We do not do this.

Obviously there are differences in the US and Russian approach.  As Putin was careful to say – and as he says he said to Erdogan during the recent meeting in Sochi – Russia is not arming the Kurds, and since the Kurds are obtaining arms from “other supply channels” (ie. the US) Russia has no need to do so.  However just as the US is looking to the Kurds to carry forward the war against ISIS, so Russia is doing the same.

In other words there is greater commonality of policy on the subject of the Kurds between the US and Russia than there is between either of these two countries and Erdogan and Turkey.

The events once again emphasise the disastrous extent of the failure of Erdogan’s policies in Syria.  Whereas before 2011 Syria was peaceful and friendly, and the border between Turkey and Syria was secure, Turkey now faces a hostile Syria with an increasingly powerful anti Turkish Kurdish militia backed by both nuclear superpowers becoming entrenched on its border.

The Syrian conflict is far from over and Erdogan still has some cards left to play.  The Russians need Erdogan’s help to consolidate the Astana peace process and to secure the ceasefire and the ‘de-escalation areas’ which they are trying to set up in Syria.  Turkey remains a large and important country, with both nuclear superpowers anxious to have good relations with it.

However Erdogan needs to play his cards right.  That means accepting that his neo-Ottoman policy of trying to turn Syria into an Islamist Turkish vassal state – and even possibly of seizing some of its territory – has utterly failed.  If he does that then he stands some chance of extricating Turkey from the Syrian mess he has got it into with a minimum of damage if only because the two nuclear superpowers – which seem to bear him remarkably little ill-will – look willing to help him do so.

The alternative is for him to press on even as his isolation grows greater.  In that case his and Turkey’s problems are going to get much worse.

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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