WHAT IT IS
- One of the key players within the Syrian Civil War and the war on ISIS are Syrian Kurdish forces.
- Kurdish forces are a key partner for the U.S., and have led an effective coalition against ISIS and the Assad Regime.
- President Donald Trump and the U.S. have gone ahead with a strategy of arming Kurdish forces and militias as they continue the fight against ISIS.
WHY IT MATTERS
Turkey, another key player in the war on terror and NATO ally of the U.S., views Kurdish forces and militias as terror organizations. Taking the step of arming the Kurdish forces and militias with U.S. weapons and machinery is a big step away from the Turkish government. It could throw the friendship between the U.S. and Turkey into question.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
- It seems the U.S.-Turkey alliance is going to survive this policy move by President Trump.
- Turkey’s Foreign Minister, on the other hand, is asserting that the special U.S. envoy to smooth relations between the two sides is actually making things worse.
- Kurdish forces in Syria have marched on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, intending to occupy the city after capturing it.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
- Is it better for the U.S. to make decisions based on the short term issue of ISIS in Syria, or focus on the long term issue of keeping Turkey as an ally in the Middle East?
- Are there any other options of arming rebel groups, that are not Kurdish forces, in the fight against ISIS and the Assad Regime?
- With how sticky of a situation it has become, having to decide between allies, is the fight against terror in the Middle East better left to the region’s countries?
- Is there any way to broker a longer lasting peace between the Kurds and Turks so that the two can work together against common enemies?