Washington, DC. Jim Mattis will go down in US military history for uttering the dumbest statement ever in political-military events, when he says the US will have Turkish Kurds “give back” arms after defeating ISIS.
America has told Turkey it will “take back” weapons supplied to the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria after the defeat of Islamic State, seeking to address Turkish concerns about arming Kurds on its border.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also promised his Turkish counterpart to provide a monthly list of weapons handed to the YPG, saying the first inventory had already been sent to Ankara. As if knowing somebody was given a pile of money, somehow assures the return of a pile of money.
Edogan’s administration sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdish PKK, which has been waging an insurgency in the country’s southeast since the mid-1980s. It has said supplies to the YPG have in the past ended up in PKK hands, and described any weapon given to the force as a threat to its security.
America sees the YPG as a useful idiot in the campaign to defeat Islamic State in Raqqa, the jihadists’ main urban base in Syria. The fight for Raqqa was launched two weeks ago, piling pressure on Islamic State which also faces defeat in its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul.
Secretary Mattis told Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik that a detailed record of all equipment provided to the YPG was being kept and that all the weapons would be taken back after Islamic State was defeated, the sources said. Mattis did not explain how the weapons would be “taken back” or what if the Kurds, simply don’t give them back?
Relations between the NATO allies have been strained by President Donald Trump’s decision to arm the YPG, despite protests from President Tayyip Erdogan who set out Turkey’s objections at a White House meeting last month. In fact, Erdogan personally told Trump to get Special US envoy McGurk out of his country over the issue, or he would have his own forces find and kill McGurk for arming the Kurds.