(Via Reuters) The United States has started distributing arms to Syrian Kurdish fighters battling to help retake the city of Raqqa from Islamic State, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday, as the United States moved ahead with a plan despite concerns by ally Turkey.
The official said distribution of the arms had started in the past 24 hours, based on authority given by President Donald Trump earlier this month. (read more)
This is a very strategic move. The primary goal of the Trump Administration is the destruction of ISIS. The Kurds are currently the only fighting force, and a very good fighting force, with no ulterior motive other than the elimination of ISIS and the opportunity for peace, safety and security. Hopefully leading to a future creation of an independent nation of Kurdistan.
Recep Erdogan (Turkey) views the Kurds as a threat to his ability to recreate the Ottoman Empire. Turkey is a NATO member and view the Kurds as Erdogan’s political opposition. Erdogan wants Assad gone, but wants the space for himself. Erdogan will not be happy.
Bashar Assad (Syria) also views the Kurds as his political opposition. Assad benefits from keeping ISIS terrorists around as his enemy while he kills his political opposition. Kill off ISIS and Assad will have regional political governorship to contend with. He will not be happy.
Vladimir Putin (Russia) supports Assad, is generally ambivalent to the Kurds and holds a view of Erdogan as a useful part of NATO that he can manipulate. Putin cannot appear upset about this because he has optically presented himself as willing to aid in the elimination of ISIS; albeit aligned with Assad. He will be looking to navigate geopolitical leverage with this development.
All of the angst from those with vested adverse interests can be defrayed by Defense Secretary Mattis, Secretary of State Tillerson and President Trump, because the elimination of ISIS is job one and all regional participants have agreed in principle with this objective.