Oct 13, 2019

Lindsey Graham threatens Turkey with "most crippling sanctions" since Iran

Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday condemned Turkey for its "outrageous assault" on U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, which followed President Trump's decision to withdraw troops from the area.

Turkey's day of reckoning is coming for their outrageous assault on Kurdish Syrians. I’m leading the effort in Congress to work with the President on the most crippling sanctions since the Iran sanctions. Turkeys misadventure in Syria, if left unchecked, will destabilize the Middle East as much as Iran -- to the detriment of the United States and our allies.

The big picture: Though he's continued to fight back against criticism from Graham and other Republican allies for his Syria decision, Trump has endorsed the idea of sanctioning Turkey for its attack on the primarily-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, which allied with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

  • On ABC's "This Week," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. is "ready to go at a moment's notice to put on sanctions," and that "they could be maximum pressure, which would destroy the Turkish economy."
  • In April, the IMF predicted that sanctions stemming from the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal would cause the Iranian economy to contract by 6% in 2019.

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Pelosi and Graham team up to oppose Trump's Syria decision

Photos: Zach Gibson/Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) spoke Monday to discuss bipartisan efforts to overturn President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria and sanction Turkey for its military offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces.

Why it matters: Trump's decision has sparked bipartisan backlash and accusations that he is abandoning the Kurdish allies who helped the U.S. in the fight against ISIS. Trump has voiced approval for the idea of sanctioning Turkey for its invasion, but he has stood by his decision to move U.S. troops out of the way despite the overwhelming criticism he's received from even his most loyal allies.

Go deeperArrowOct 14, 2019

Trump on Syria's Kurds: "They're not angels"

President Trump addressed Turkey's invasion of Syria in the Oval Office on Wednesday, telling reporters that the Syrian Kurds — who allied with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS — are "not angels," and that the Syrian government and Russia will protect them.

Go deeperArrowOct 16, 2019

Trump confirms near-total Syria withdrawal while warning of costs for Turkey

Trump and Erdogan in 2017. Photo: Brenadan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump has confirmed that nearly all U.S. troops in Syria will be leaving the country while warning Turkey of repercussions for its offensive against Kurdish forces who had been key U.S. allies.

  • In a lengthy statement, Trump said the U.S. forces leaving Syria will remain in the region to guard against an ISIS resurgence. He also announced a suspension of trade talks with Turkey, a hike in steel tariffs to 50%, and potential "powerful additional sanctions" against those guilty of "serious human rights abuses."
Go deeperArrowOct 14, 2019