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Jason Ditz

Sen. Graham Visits Syria, Attacks Trump Plan to Pull Troops Out

Hawkish Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made a surprise visit to Syria on Monday, stopping off in the city of Manbij, which is held by US and Turkish forces. Graham delivered a speech clearly designed to attack the idea of a US pullout from Syria.

There is no official plan for the US to withdraw from Syria. Indeed, Pentagon officials have been presenting the US military presence in Syria as open-ended. That’s not to say that Graham’s comments had no reason.
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Pentagon Seeks Arms for 65,000 US-Backed Troops in Syria



While US “relief funds” are frozen in Syria, the Pentagon continues to seek massive amounts of funding for its military operations in the country. This includes a request for $300 million in weapons to give to “partner forces” in Syria.

This amounts to enough arms for 65,000 fighters. This is expected to center on the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is to say, almost entirely the Kurdish YPG. The US has been arming the YPG for years now as part of its Syria operations.

This is being sought in spite of repeated US assurances to Turkey that their arming of the YPG was temporary. With ISIS virtually wiped out in Syria, the YPG no longer has offensive goals fitting into US plans for Syria, and rather is focused chiefly on fighting a Turkish invasion of northern Syria.
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Afghanistan’s President Offers Taliban Talks ‘Without Preconditions’

Following the Taliban having made two very public offers of peace talks in the past two weeks, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has issued his own statement offering to enter into talks with the Taliban insurgency “without preconditions.”

Ghani offered to recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate part of the political process, and said he didn’t want to pre-judge anyone who was willing to come to the table to discuss reaching a settlement to end the Afghan War.
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