As Obama prepares to leave office, he discusses some bold moves he wants to take before that day comes. One such move is his idea of arming Syrian Kurdish fighters that are combating ISIS in the Syria conflict. Obama claims that he “wants an offensive well underway before he leaves office that is aimed at routing the Islamic State” from Raqqa, their capital in Syria. American Generals say that our timeframe for taking Raqqa has been pushed back by Syria-Turkey border conflicts, so now the US feels it has to make up for lost ground.
Arming Syrian Kurds would cause conflict with Turkey, who is an ally that America needs in order to combat this insurgent ISIS group. Our relations with Turkey are already a little rocky over our differing opinions regarding the usefulness of the Syrian Kurdish troops. Is this the best way to step in and fulfill our “role” as a global leader? I am skeptical of such a bold advance, especially if it will cause conflict among our other allies against ISIS. I do think that it will help the Kurdish fighters keep up their morale, and if this is the only proposed solution, it will be interesting to see the shift in relations that comes as a result.
This decision has passed in the Pentagon Central Command, which oversees American military efforts in the Middle East, and now is waiting to be presented at the highest levels of the administration. This move may speed up the offensive against the Islamic State, but is it worth risking our relationship with Turkey?
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