US Lt. Gen. Paul Funk greets Kurdish commanders of Syrian Democratic Forces in Manbij, Syria, February 2018
UPDATE, 1900 GMT:
I chatted with Austria’s Radio FM4 about why the angry reaction of Republican legislators to Donald Trump’s sudden change of US policy on Syria is far from surprising.
Many Republican senators believe that the US, having fought for years alongside Kurdish forces, are abandoning those forces. Those Republican senators perceive that Turkey could try to overrun the two Kurdish cantons. And many of them see the American presence as a check on Iranian influence in Syria, given that Iran is behind the Assad regime.
The second reason for the disquiet? Donald Trump did not consult the military or the State Department.
We also discuss Trump’s subsequent bluster on Twitter about his “great and unmatched wisdom”: “I think there is a serious concern among American agencies and among Republican lawmakers: Is this guy fully in control here?”
And should the US be withdrawing from perpetual conflicts in the Middle East?
ORIGINAL ENTRY: I joined BBC Radio Wales on Tuesday to explain the turmoil in US policy towards Syria, following Donald Trump’s impulsive decision to accept Turkish control of the northeast of the country.
In a beginner’s guide on the BBC, we discuss why Trump’s decision, if it is not pushed backed by the Pentagon and the State Department, could further destabilize Syria — particularly with a Turkish confrontation with Kurdish groups.
Whatever you think of the US v. Iran, whatever you think of US v. Islamic State, whatever you think of the US alliance with the Kurds, Trump has undone all of this on the basis of a phone call with Turkey’s President Erdoğan.