|Saved Stories – None|
|Flynn could implicate any number of Trump officials and Trump himself – Washington Post|
|The pathetic neediness of Trump – Washington Post|
|Trump’s decision to meet with Putin ‘drew literal groans’ from his staff: report – Raw Story|
|McCain: Trump Has No ‘Principles and Beliefs,’ Just ‘Takes Advantage of Situations’ – Newsweek|
|Trump once again rises to Wall Street’s defense – Washington Post|
|Trump May Be Nuts. But Is He Crazier than Nixon? Or LBJ? – Newsweek|
|What If? An Alternative Strategy for Sept. 12, 2001 – Common Dreams|
|Melania Trump basically dared her husband to run in 2016 – Death and Taxes|
|Jared Kushner Delays Senate Deadline for Documents in Russia Investigation Battle – Newsweek|
|Trump dumps Soho hotel after glitzy launch and 11-year slump – 6Sqft (blog)|
|McCain To Hillary Clinton: ‘You’ve Got To Move On’|
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says he understands why Hillary Clinton decided to write her campaign memoir, What Happened, which
|ANALYSIS: In questioning tape’s authenticity, President Trump seeks to define own reality – ABC News|
|Reports: Officer-involved shooting closes Parks Mall in Arlington – mySanAntonio.com|
|Gunfire at Middletown, New York, mall leaves 2 injured – CBS News|
|McCain: Trump doesn’t have any ‘principles and beliefs’ – The Hill|
|The Early Edition: November 27, 2017|
Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.
The attackers who killed at least 305 at a mosque in Egypts Sinai Peninsula on Friday were carrying the flag of the Islamic State group, according to Egyptian officials, the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said following the attack that he would respond with the utmost force. The BBC reports.
The assault was carried out by suicide bombers and up to 30 gunmen, according to survivors and officials, though no one has claimed responsibility it is widely believed to have been carried out by the Islamic State group. Louisa Loveluck and Heba Farouk Mahfouz report at the Washington Post.
The Egyptian army conducted airstrikes against the vehicles that were used in Fridays attack, however the use of devastating force has been the defining feature of Sissis approach to the Islamist insurgency in the Sinai and it has not delivered success, leaving civilians trapped between militants and heavy-handed military tactics. Declan Walsh and David D. Kirkpatrick explain at the New York Times.
The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vowed to counter terrorism and extremism, at a gathering of an alliance of 40 Muslim-majority nations yesterday, making the comments in light of the Sinai attack. Officials said that the alliance would allow members to request or offer assistance to each other to fight militants, Stephen Kalin reports at Reuters.
Sinai tribesmen called on men and youths to coordinate for a major operation with the Egyptian army in a statement posted to Facebook after Fridays attack, demonstrating the desire to end the Islamist insurgency despite the historically strained relationship between the army and Egyptian Bedouins. Dahlia Kholaif and Rory Jones report at the Wall Street Journal.
The unprecedented attack in the Sinai Peninsula should prompt Trump to re-examine Sissis aggressive approach to the Islamist insurgency, which has led to large-scale deaths of Egyptian security personnel, reported abuses carried out by Egyptian troops, and increasing insecurity for civilians. The instability of the Peninsula should require a multifaceted strategy for political and economic reconstruction, Ishaan Tharoor writes at the Washington Post.
The Sinai attack was different because it was carried out in a way that completely cuts across local dynamics, undermining the ability of radical groups to recruit local Egyptians and fomenting opposition to extremist ideology, H.A. Hellyer writes at the BBC.
The death toll in the Sinai shows that this is a crisis that has built over decades and accelerated in recent years, the Guardian Editorial board writes, arguing that Sissis heavy-handed approach has further isolated an area that has been marginalized, neglected and repressed and that relying on brute force would likely lead to more civilian deaths.
The White House acknowledged Friday that the Trump administration would stop arming Kurdish (Y.P.G.) fighters in Syria, in a statement a few hours after a phone call between Trump and the Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan, the policy shift has been long sought by the Turkish government due to its concerns about Y.P.G.s ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.), which has fought against the Turkish state for decades. Carol Morello and Erin Cunningham report at the Washington Post.
Trumps pledge not to arm the Y.P.G. will lose value if it is not implemented, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said today, a spokesperson for the U.S.-led coalition said yesterday that it was looking at adjustments to the support it provides to the Y.P.G.-led Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.). Reuters reports.
The Pentagon is likely to acknowledge that there are approximately 2000 U.S. troops in Syria, two anonymous officials said Friday, saying that a last minute change in schedules could delay an announcement. Idrees Ali reports at Reuters.
Russian air strikes have killed at least 53 civilians in the Islamic State-held village of Al-Shafah in the Deir al-Zour province at the weekend, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Russia had confirmed earlier that six long-range bombers had carried out air strikes in the area but stated that they had hit militants and their strongholds. The BBC reports.
At least 23 civilians were killed yesterday in pro-Syrian government forces operations against the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area near the capital of Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, despite the fact that the area forms part of an agreed de-escalation zone brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran. Reuters reports.
Russia has been emboldened by its efforts to support President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been pragmatic in his approach to Syria, however the challenge now is how to win the peace. Jonathan Marcus provides an analysis at the BBC, adding that the Trump administrations support for the Kurds provided it key leverage in the future of Syria but it may have conceded its influence to pacify Turkey.
U.S.-led airstrikes continue. There were no reported strikes conducted on Nov. 19 in Iraq or Syria. [Central Command] The figures have not been updated since Nov. 20.
The return of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has raised questions about the future of Lebanon and the region, Hariri unexpectedly resigned on Nov. 4 from the Saudi capital of Riyadh in a televised announcement citing the destructive role of Iran and its Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah ally as the reason for his decision, leading to two weeks of speculation over his status and Saudi Arabias potential role in his resignation. Ben Hubbard and Hwaida Saad observe at the New York Times, explaining the situation and its relevance to the Saudi-Iran rivalry and regional instability.
We will not accept Hezbollahs positions that affect our Arab brothers or target the security and stability of their countries, Hariri said in a statement released by the prime ministers office Saturday, Al Jazeera reports.
Hezbollah has cemented its status as a regional power and it may benefit from the instability that has been caused since Nov. 4 both within Lebanon and in its militant activity outside the country, which it has been conducting with the support of Iran. Erin Cunningham and Louisa Loveluck provide an analysis at the Washington Post.
Iran would increase the range of its missiles if Europe wants to turn into a threat, Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said at the weekend in comments quoted by the state-run Fars news agency, making the remarks after the French President Emmanuel Macron called for discussions on Irans ballistic missile program earlier this month. Al Jazeera reports.
The election of Trump and the foreign policy approach of Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman have united Iranians in the belief that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia cannot be trusted and that Iran is capable of staring down its enemies, especially in light of the successes of Iranian-led militias in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State group. Thomas Erdbrink writes at the New York Times.
The trial of Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab in Miami has the potential to further deteriorate U.S.-Turkey relations, Zarrab has been charged with conspiring with Turkish officials to help evade U.S. sanctions on Iran, charges which have infuriated Turkish President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan. David Gauthier-Villars and Nicole Hang report at the Wall Street Journal.
Erdoğan has attempted to paint the charges as a fabrication and the continuation of last years failed coup against Ankara, he has raised the issue with U.S. officials on numerous occasions and with Trump in September, revealing the level of anxiety that the Turkish government feels about Zarrabs case. Carlotta Gall and Benjamin Weiser report at the New York Times.
Speculation surrounding Zarrabs possible cooperation with U.S. prosecutors has prompted some to question whether he has been providing information to special counsel Robert Muellers team in his investigations into Trumps associates, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn who worked on behalf of the Turkish government before the 2016 U.S. election. Devlin Barrett reports at the Washington Post.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY
The U.S. reversed its decision to close the Palestinian Liberation Organization (P.L.O.) mission in Washington last week, saying that it would impose limitations that it would expect to lift after a 90-day period. Max Greenwood reports at the Hill.
The presidents son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner still has responsibility for a plan to end the Israel-Palestine conflict, however his portfolio has shrunk significantly since the appointment of White House chief of staff John F. Kelly. Sharon LaFraniere, Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker explain at the New York Times.
The strained relations between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and much of the staff at the State Department was exemplified by the recent departure of the chief of security, with many diplomats concerned about Tillersons lack of focus on policy and the priority he has placed on reorganizing the department. Gardiner Harris reports at the New York Times.
Tillerson has been focusing on fiddling around with the org chart and mundane tasks instead of focusing on diplomacy, he has failed to fill key positions and has immersed himself in bureaucracy. Tillerson needs to stop playing management consultant and be the secretary of state, the former U.S. State Department director of policy planning, David McKean, writes at POLITICO Magazine.
The F.B.I. did not notify tens of U.S. officials that Russian hackers attempted to break into their personal email accounts, an AP investigation has found, Raphael Satter, Jeff Donn and Desmond Butler report.
Special counsel Robert Muellers team have been investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynns work on a documentary film targeting exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen and financed by Turkish interests, the questions about the film come as part of a wider probe into whether Flynn improperly concealed financial ties to Turkey and Russia, and amid speculation that Flynn may be working on a deal with Mueller. Dion Nissenbaum and Rebecca Ballhaus report at the Wall Street Journal.
We are still in a stalemate, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson said last week, adding the U.S. is only 90 days into Trumps new Afghanistan strategy and that weve set all the conditions to win. Hans Nichols and Jonathan Allen report at NBC News.
South Koreas defense ministry today warned North Korea not to violate the armistice agreement after North Korean troops fired across the demilitarized zone (D.M.Z.) separating the two countries in an attempt to stop a defecting troop. Reuters reports.
Women who have joined the Islamic State group pose a significant challenge when they return to their native countries, many appear to have embraced the terrorist groups ideology and pose a threat to national security upon their return, including the possibility that they would indoctrinate family members. Souad Mekhennet and Joby Warrick report at the Washington Post.
Russian President Vladimir Putins tactics in Ukraine threaten to push the Trump administration into another bad deal that undermines the West and strengthens Russias hand, Josh Rogin writes at the Washington Post.
|Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller deal – The Hill|
|Flynns Turkish Delight: How, Why, and When He Reversed His Policy Positions on Turkey|
Many commentators anticipate that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will likely indict retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn in part for the former National Security Advisors previously undisclosed work as a foreign agent of Turkey. Muellers team has reportedly obtained enough evidence to indict Flynn and his son, according to an NBC News report earlier this month.
There is no way to tell, based on current reporting, whether that body of indictable evidence, includes the two alleged meetings in Sept. and Dec. 2016 where Flynn may have discussed a plot to forcibly remove U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, or initiate legal proceedings against him, in exchange for $15 million. But in considering Flynns case, it is important to keep track of how he changed from a relatively hardline position against the government of Turkey to public positions in favor of Ankara. Important questions for legal liability and moral responsibility include whether Flynns conflict of interest and efforts in favor of Turkey continued past the election and into his time in office.
Engaging in pro-Turkish government dealings was a major change in Flynns position on Turkey. In July 2016, Flynn gave a speech supporting the military coup against the Turkish government, specifically citing the countrys move toward Islamism under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the militarys secular orientation. And previously, while serving as DIA Director under the Obama administration, Flynn says he alerted White House officials to Turkeys indifference toward ISIS growth in Syria.
What explains why Flynn changed his position on Turkey and why did he persist in pro-Turkish positions after his firms contract to work on behalf of the Turkish government purportedly ended?
I. Flynns initial anti-Erdoğan, anti-Islamist public positions, and his later The Hill Op-Ed Reversal
War Against Cunning Radical Islamists Tweet (Nov. 16, 2015)Flynn has publicly spoken against what he views as a global threat of radical Islamism, which, according to his view, also implicated Erdoğans pro-Islamist government at one point. He tweeted in November 2015:
We are facing violent, but very serious and cunning radical Islamists. We can be war weary when we win. If we lose, we have nothing.
General Flynn (@GenFlynn) November 16, 2015
Flynn Expresses Concerns on Turkeys Indifference to ISIS to Sy Hersh (January 2016)Flynn seemed to view Turkeys pro-Islamist attitudes as leading to the countrys indifference to ISIS growing next door. In January 2016, he told Seymour Hersh in a New Yorker interview:
If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballisticWe understood Isiss long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.
He added that the Obama administration gave enormous pushback with respect to the DIAs reporting on ISIS growth in Syria, including Turkeys alleged indifference: I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.
Flynn Tweets that Fear of Muslims is Rational (Feb. 27. 2016)In line with his prior statements, Flynn tweeted in Feb. 2016 that fear of Muslims was rational:
Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions https://t.co/NLIfKFD9lU
General Flynn (@GenFlynn) February 27, 2016
Flynn Lauds the Anti-Erdogan Coup at ACT! For America Speech (July 15, 2016)On July 15, 2016, Flynn gave a speech at the Cleveland meeting of ACT! For America. The organization is an advocacy group that opposes what it calls Islamofascism, which Brigitte Gabriel, the groups founder, believes comes from one source: The Koran. Flynn began his remarks by expressing support for the military-led coup détat in Turkey:
[The Turkish military] has been just excised for many years by what, what really became a secular country, meaning a sort of, regular sort of nation-state, and then began to move toward Islamism. This is Turkey under Erdoğan, who is actually very close to President Obama.
So, Im going to be very fascinated to see what happens, because if they, the military succeeds, then one of the things that came out of the military tonight, theyre about plus eight hours from here, so its probably about I dont know, three-four oclock in the morning there. One of the things the military immediately said is:We recognize our responsibilities with NATO, we recognize our responsibilities with the United Nations, we want to make sure that the world knows, we are, we want to be seen as a secular nation. This is the military.
So, yeah, I think that is worth clapping for.
New York Times Notes Flynn and Trump Share Islamophobic Outlook and Flynns Influence on the Campaign (November 2016)The New York Times post-election profile of Flynn noted his anti-Islamist credentials throughout the campaign:
[Trump and Flynn] have both at times crossed the line into outright Islamophobia.
[Trump and Flynn] both exhibit a loose relationship with facts: General Flynn, for instance, has said that Shariah, or Islamic law, is spreading in the United States (it is not).
As an adviser, General Flynn has already proved to be a powerful influence on Mr. Trump, convincing the president-elect that the United States is in a world war with Islamist militants and must work with any willing allies in the fight, including President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
Flynn Supports Erdoğan Governments Goals in the Hill Op-Ed (Nov. 08, 2016)On Election Day 2016, The Hill published an op-ed by Flynn titled, Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support. The op-ed criticized the Obama administration for not being friendly enough toward Erdoğans government and portrayed Gülen as a cleric who portrays himself as a moderate, but he is in fact a radical Islamist.
It compares Gülen to the founders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and labels him Turkeys equivalent of Bin Laden:
To professionals in the intelligence community, the stamp of terror is all over Mullah Gülens statements in the tradition of Qutb and al Bana. Gülens vast global network has all the right markings to fit the description of a dangerous sleeper terror network. From Turkeys point of view, Washington is harboring Turkeys Osama bin Laden.
It also ties Gülen to the Clinton Foundation:
[F]unding seems to be no problem for Gülens network. Hired attorneys work to keep the lucrative government source of income for Gülen and his network going. Influential charities such as Cosmos Foundation continue their support for Gülens charter schools.
Incidentally, Cosmos Foundation is a major donor to Clinton Foundation. No wonder Bill Clinton calls Mullah Gülen his friend.
We need to adjust our foreign policy to recognize Turkey as a priority. We need to see the world from Turkeys perspective. What would we have done if right after 9/11 we heard the news that Osama bin Laden lives in a nice villa at a Turkish resort while running 160 charter schools funded by the Turkish taxpayers?
The forces of radical Islam derive their ideology from radical clerics like Gülen, who is running a scam. We should not provide him safe haven. In this crisis, it is imperative that we remember who our real friends are.
When Flynns op-ed came out, Ekim Alptekin, the Turkish businessman who hired Flynns firm, told the New York Times: This is not a guy who would be influenced by a contract. He wrote what he believes.
Al Monitors Turkey columnist Mustafa Akyol also told the paper of the warm reception Flynns op-ed had inside the government of Turkey: You would expect to see [an Islamophobia] concern here, but quite the contrary: Flynn is quite a respected figure now in government circles, just because he wrote that Gülen should be extradited to Turkey.
He added: [Flynns op-ed] was greeted with great happiness here, adding that Erdoğan supporters thought: Finally, somebody in America who understands us.
In late Nov., Alptekin denied that either Erdoğan or the Turkish government paid for Flynns op-ed, telling The Independent that the idea was preposterous, noting that the op-ed also criticized the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that Erdogan had sometimes supported. He contended that Inovos contract with Flynn Intel Group was not about representing the position of the Turkish government, and Alptekin said that he was not affiliated with the Turkish government.
Flynn has a strong anti-Islamist streak, and yet he went from criticizing Turkeys relatively pro-Islamist government and supporting the coup against Erdoğan, to publicly advocating for Gülens removal to face justice for the coup in Turkey. What changed between these two eventsthe coup and the op-edto cause Flynn to switch positions on Turkey?
II. A likely motive: lucrative lobbying contracts, and how Flynns private business activities may have affected his public positions
Flynn Intel Group Signs Contract with Inovo BV (Aug. 2016)In early August 2016, Flynn Intel Group was approached by Alptekin, the chairman of the Turkish-American Business Council, a Turkish economic relations board run by an appointee of Prs Erdoğan. Alptekin proposed that Flynn work on a project repairing Turkeys image in the United States with Alptekins Netherlands-based firm Inovo BVwork to be performed by Flynns firm over 90 days in exchange for $600,000. Flynn agreed.
Though Flynn later conceded in his belated filing that the Inovo work could be construed to have principally helped the Republic of Turkey, Flynn opted not to file this work with the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) database until strongly encouraged to do so by the Justice Department. FARA requires lobbyists whose work directly or indirectly benefits a foreign government to file as agents of a foreign power. The Flynn firm would likely assert that because the Inovo work benefitted a business and not a foreign nation, the firm could instead file with Congress under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, and it did so in Sept. 2016.
Flynn Meets with Turkish Ministers Alongside Woolsey in New York (Sept. 21, 2016)On September 21, Flynn met in New York with the Turkish foreign minister and energy ministers (the latter is also Erdoğans son-in-law), alongside former CIA Director James Woolsey and a former FBI agent, according to Woolseys account of the deliberations. Woolsey later told the Wall Street Journal that the meeting discussed a plot to remove Turkish cleric Gülen from the United States and take him to Turkey.
According to a report by the
Flynn Intel Group Lobbies Congress on Inovos Behalf (Sept.Oct. 2016)After signing the contract with Inovo BV, Flynns Intel Group began lobbying Congress on Inovos behalf, though Flynn himself did not participate in the lobbying. Flynns Sept. 2016 Lobbying Disclosure Act forms reveal that Robert Kelley, Flynns lawyer and a former Chief Counsel to a House subcommittee, managed the lobbying portion of the Inovo contract.
According to the FARA registration, in Oct. 2016, VP Bijan R. Kian met twice with Miles Taylor, National Security Advisor to the House Homeland Security Committee, to discuss Flynn Intel Groups work for Inovo and research related to Turkey and Gülen. According to a Daily Caller source, at the second meeting, Kian and Inovo representatives discussed Gülen with Taylor, and what they called his shady Gülen Movement Schools. The source added that House committee staff were not receptive to Kians approach, and that Flynn was not present for the meeting. Beyond this Congressional outreach, the FARA registration also notes that Flynns firm oversaw a PR firm SGR LLCs outreach to an Arkansas state government official with respect to the Inovo work.
The AP reported that as part of the Taylor meeting, Flynn Intel Group staff suggested that Congress hold hearings about Gülen.
At the time of the filing, Alptekin told the AP: I disagree with the filingIt would be different if I was working for the government of Turkey, but I am not taking directions from anyone in the government. He said the filings were a response to political pressure.
Flynn Groups VP Meets Alptekin Prior to The Hill Op-Ed (Nov. 2, 2016)According to an in-depth profile of Flynn by The New Yorkers Nicholas Schmidle, on November 2, 2016, Alptekin privately met Flynn Intel Group VP Bijan R. Kian and other corporate officers at the firms offices in Alexandria, Va. Alptekin, believing that Trump was likely to lose the election, emphasized that, We have to generate something to show Turkey how successful we can beWhat success can we show them now?
As Schmidle points out, Flynns op-ed in The Hill was published a week later.
Flynn and Alptekin Statement to the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 17, 2016)Flynn told the Wall Street Journal in a Nov. 17 statement that he would end his relationship with his firm if offered to serve in the Trump administration. He said: If I return to government service, my relationship with my company will be severed in accordance with the policy announced by President-elect Trump. Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin tells the Journal that he hired Flynn to advise him on the U.S.-Turkish security relationship, and more generally, to improve U.S.-Turkish relations.
WH Cabinet Secretarys Post-Election Investigation into FlynnsThe Hill Op-Ed (Nov. 19, 2016)On Nov. 19, the day after Trump appointed Flynn as his National Security Adviser, lawyer Bill McGinley, who later became White House Cabinet Secretary, called Kian and others to investigate the Flynn op-ed. A source told The New Yorker:
Some people seemed skeptical as to whether Flynn had really woken up the day before the election and felt compelled to write an op-ed defending ErdoğanMcGinley wanted to know if Turkish government dollars touched that op-ed.
Kian reportedly told McGinley that Flynn wrote the op-ed entirely on his own, and that it was unrelated to his work for Alptekin.
However, the Flynn groups FARA filing noted that in October and early November, Flynn developed the op-ed based partly based on research done for the Inovo work, and that a draft was shared with Inovo before publication. Further, SGR LLC, a public relations firm Flynn Intel Group hired as part of the Inovo contract, helped Flynn place The Hill op-ed.
Second Meeting with Turkish officials on Alleged Gülen Plot in New York (Dec. 2016)Muellers investigation is reportedly looking into whether, during a second alleged meeting between Flynn and Turkish government representatives in mid-Dec. 2016, participants discussed a plan for Flynn and Flynn Jr. to remove Gülen in exchange for up to $15 million dollars. It is also reportedly looking into whether they discussed a separate plan to free Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab. The Wall Street Journal reported that the alleged meeting took place in mid-December at the 21 Club in New York, and the discussion considered forcibly removing Mr. Gülen from the U.S. on a private jet to the Turkish prison island of Imrali.
If the December meeting were to be confirmed, even if the more sensational allegations about the content of the meeting were not established, it could contradict Flynn Intel Groups filing statements, which state that the Flynn firms contract with Inovo terminated in November 2016, and that is when Flynns paid work that benefited the Turkish government ended. Intentional false statements on a FARA form are a felony.
Flynn Tells Susan Rice Well Take it From Here on Raqqa Campaign (Jan. 10, 2017)On Jan. 10, outgoing National Security Adviser Susan Rice presented Flynn a plan to imminently take over the Islamic States capital in Raqqa, Syria, according to the Washington Post. The plan involved arming Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Syria, and Obama administration officials believed they had little time left to move forward with the operation.
The Post noted that Turkeys Erdoğan had resisted their overtures to fight the Islamic State more robustly, leading in part to the U.S. plan to rely on the Kurds:
In contrast to Obama, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not see the Islamic State as his countrys No. 1 threat. In private meetings with senior U.S. officials in 2014, Erdoğan said the Kurds were his top concern and that removing Assad ranked second, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.
Erdoğan has long been upset by the U.S. support for Syrian Kurds, which he considers part of a terrorist group that threatens Turkeys national security.
According to the Post, Flynn responded to Rice:
Dont approve itWell make the decision.
McClatchy reported that it is not known if Flynn consulted other administration officials before telling Rice to hold off on the decision, or whether Flynns decision was approved by a higher-ranking official such as Secretary of Defense nominee James Mattis.
Raqqa Plan is Dead on Arrival When Presented to Trump Officials (Jan. 17, 2017)
When the plan was turned over to the Trump administration on Jan. 17, per Flynns request, the Postreported that it was dead on arrival. According to McClatchy, Some members of Congress, in private conversations, have even used the word treason to describe Flynns intervention with Rice. And while there is no reporting whether Flynn advised Trump to hold off on the Raqqa assault, media outlets have noted that Trump only approved the plan weeks after he had fired Flynn.
Flynn, Turkish FM Meet over Breakfast at Trump Hotel (Jan. 18, 2017)McClatchy reported that Flynn met Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu over breakfast on Jan. 18 to discuss U.S.-Turkish interests. It was later reported by Business Insider that Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was also present at the closed-door meeting at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. Pro-government Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported at the time of the breakfast that the meeting was a first direct reachout between the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan administration and the incoming Donald Trump administration. An aide to Cavusoglu told the paper that that Çavuşoğlu was the only foreign leader at the breakfast and the topics on the U.S.-Turkish agenda were discussed by the attendees. Cavusoglu would later attend Trumps inauguration.
Met w/General Flynn,who will assume the position of National Security Advisor, and other officials at a working breakfast in Washington D.C.
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) January 18, 2017
President Trumps Call with Erdogan (Feb. 7, 2017)On Trumps first call with Erdoğan, the pair agreed to engage in joint action against ISIS positions in Syria, according to two sources in Erdoğans office, Reuters reported. They added that Erdoğan urged Trump not to support the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. Al-Monitor reported based that a senior Turkish official said that Erdoğan drew attention to the close ties between the Syrian Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers Party, the Turkish-based Kurdish group. Likewise, Reuters added that CIA Director Mike Pompeo would be in Turkey on Feb. 9 to discuss security issues with Turkish officials.
* * *
Considering the nature of Flynns pre- and alleged post-election work on behalf of the Turkish government, it appears that the money paid to him as part of the Inovo contract may have played a decisive role in changing his position on Turkey. The extent of his reversal would have negatively implicated U.S. national security interests if it figured into his response to Susan Rice on the operation to retake Raqqa, the Islamic States so-called capital. But why would Flynn remain motivated by pecuniary interests once he was named to be national security advisor and then served in the administration? Perhaps it was not a financial interest at that point. Perhaps it was a case of a persons judgment being clouded, convincing themselves that they believe in a new policy outlook to reduce the cognitive dissonance that would otherwise persist. Another explanation is a more illicit one. If Flynn and his son were still interested in mid-December in being personally paid $15 million by Turkey, theres reason to think Flynn would not have dropped such interests going forward on other policies favorable to Turkey. The allegations reported in the Wall Street Journal and NBC News involving the mid-December meeting certainly raise this specter. The available information in the public domain does not provide a sufficient basis to reach any firm conclusion. It will be up to Muellers investigation and others to tell.
|Trump ally Sebastian Gorka said he never leaves the house without 2 pistols and a tourniquet and Twitter lit up – Business Insider|
|Brooklyn Today November 27: Where to Get Dollar Oysters in Brooklyn – Brooklyn Daily Eagle|
|Seb Gorka bragging about his gun collection becomes an instant meme – The Daily Dot|
|Professor weighs in on investigation into Trump campaign’s ties to Russia – The UTD Mercury|
|Little prospect of Syria peace progress seen in Geneva talks|
BEIRUT (Reuters) – A breakthrough in U.N.-backed Syria peace talks in Geneva this week seems hardly more likely than in seven earlier rounds as President Bashar al-Assad pushes for total military victory and his opponents stick by their demand he leave power.
|Russia and US Presidential Elections of 2016 – Google News: Putin critic, Magnitsky Act advocate Bill Browder to speak in Atlanta at Carter Library – MyAJC|
Russia and US Presidential Elections of 2016 – Google News
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