Trumps says UK is thrilled with his decision to withdraw forces from Northern Syria
BBC News, the Guardian, Telegraph, Times, Financial Times, ITV News, Channel 4 News, Sky News and Reuters report that US President Donald Trump has threatened to destroy the Turkish economy if Turkey goes “off limits” following his decision to pull US forces out of north-eastern Syria. The Turkey’s Defence Ministry has confirmed that “all preparations” for a military incursion have been “completed””. In a series of tweets, Trump defended his move, which could open the way for Turkey to launch an attack on Kurdish fighters. The withdrawal was heavily criticised by Democrats and Republicans. The US Kurdish allies in the region have reacted angrily, describing the move as a stab in the back. The UN has warned that military action could create a wave of refugees and there are questions over the security of SDF prisons holding IS fighters.
The Independent reports that President Trump issued a rambling defence of his controversial decision to green light Turkey’s invasion of Syria, insisting he had consulted with everyone before acting and that the UK was “thrilled by the decision”, whiles sources have claimed that the White House statement is said to have ‘stunned’ the Pentagon.
The Daily Mail reports that an unnamed National Security Council official has claimed that a “spineless” President Trump was “out-negotiated” and “got rolled” by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he agreed to withdraw US troops from Syria.
The Guardian reports that a cross-party group of MPs and peers have warned that British IS fighters held in north-east Syria could be released if the US allows Turkey to invade the territory. The cross-party group, who visited the region last month, warned that President Trump’s unexpected announcement “risks global security” because it could allow IS members to escape and regroup.
The Financial Times presents an explainer of Trump’s announcement: “US president orders troops out as Turkey threatens incursion against Kurds in north-east of country”.
BBC News presents a profile of the Kurdish people: “Between 25 and 35 million Kurds inhabit a mountainous region straddling the borders of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia. They make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, but they have never obtained a permanent nation state”.
BBC News presents an outline of the reasons behind the conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish-led militia alliance.
In the Times, Richard Spencer examines whether Trump’s announcement will spark a Turkey-Syria war.
In the Guardian, Martin Chulov argues that the “betrayal of [the] Kurds” risks undermining the defeat of IS: “It is unclear whether Turkey has the will or capacity to take over detention camps”.
In the Independent, Borzou Daragahi argues that Turkey’s invasion of Syria risks provoking ire from all sides: “Turkey hopes to snuff out Kurdish-led enclave it views as a threat to its security and territorial integrity. But the risks are many”.
In the Telegraph, Roland Oliphant argues that the failure of Western statesmanship in Syria began before the Trump administration betrayed the Kurds.
In the Financial Times, David Gardiner maintains that “Donald Trump’s troop withdrawal leaves Syria a ticking time bomb”.
In the Telegraph, Mark Almond argues that “the betrayal of the Kurds is as immoral as it is sadly predictable”.
The Financial Times reports that “Donald Trump risks opening a new front in Syria”: “Allowing Turkey to move against Kurdish militants would destabilise the region”.
In the Telegraph, Macer Gifford contends that “Donald Trump has abandoned Syria for short-term political gain. We will all pay a terrible price for his folly”.
In the Telegraph, Raf Sanchez examines what Turkey’s offensive into Syria will mean for IS prisoners.
In the Guardian, Simon Tisdall argues that the US withdrawal from northern Syria creates the perfect climate for war crimes: “Erdogan aims to expel refugees and force Kurdish forces away from Turkey. It will result in enormous damage”.
In ITV News, John Irvine maintains that “Donald Trump’s singular betrayal of the Syrian Kurds is of Biblical proportions”.
BBC News reports that Syrians in Turkey are highlighting widespread racism against refugees after the death of a nine-year-old boy in Kocaeli province. Wael al-Saud killed himself after classmates attacked him, his father told Independent Turkish.
Reuters reports that the Yemen government and southern separatists are close to a deal that would end a power struggle in the southern port of Aden and see Saudi forces take temporary control of the city, four sources familiar with the negotiations said.
The Times, Independent and Reuters report that the Iraqi government has admitted that the army had gone too far in trying to quell protests that have swept through central and southern Iraq. Iraqi paramilitary groups close to Iran are suspected of joining attacks on protesters in Baghdad and other cities, leading to heavy loss of life among demonstrators. Reuters reports that Iran is calling on the Iraqi people to show restraint.
In BBC News, Research Fellow at Chatham House Renad Mansour examines the motives behind the Iraq protests: “While in the past few years protests in Iraq have become common, the latest wave of unrest which has reportedly left over 100 people dead and thousands more injured could mark a dangerous turning point”.
The Financial Times reports that Saudi Arabia has doubled down on a longstanding effort to entice foreign companies to list on its stock exchange, via a new batch of rules published at the weekend by the bourse and the country’s markets regulator.
BBC News reports that the remains of a 5,000-year-old city have been discovered in Israel – the largest and oldest such find in the region. The city was home to 6,000 people and included planned roads, neighbourhoods, a ritual temple and fortifications. An earlier settlement, believed to be 7,000 years old, was discovered beneath the city.
Reuters reports that Afghanistan looks headed for a prolonged period of political uncertainty, with the two front-runners in the precedential claiming victory before ballots are tallied and signalling they would not accept defeat.
The Guardian interviews the Iraqis translating the internet into Arabic: “Ameen al-Jaleeli and a team of student translators are working to empower people with knowledge”.
The Guardian reveals that Qatar is failing to investigate the sudden deaths of hundreds of migrant works. Hundreds of labourers in the World Cup host nation die each year, with the majority of the fatalities attributed to heart attacks or “natural causes” by the Qatari authorities.
In the Times, Anthony Loyd examines “why the babies born to Yazidi sex slaves have no place in a harsh world”.
In the Guardian, Michael Visontay argues that the Malka Leifer case is shaking the Australian Jewish community’s faith in Israel: “The message has been clear – politicians don’t treat allegations of sexual child abuse seriously”.
In the Independent, Bel Trew maintains that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is “getting away with tyranny in Egypt thanks to his UK and US allies”: “Over 3,000 people have been detained in anti-government protests. Yet Trump calls the Egyptian president his favourite dictator, and Britain remains Egypt’s single largest investor”.
In the Financial Times, David Sheppard argues that an enduring oil weakness raises [the] prospect of Saudi-led output cuts”.
Israel reacts to US Syria withdrawal: The Israeli media report deep Israeli concern with US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria. Kan Radio indirectly quoted a member of the security cabinet saying that Trump’s recent decisions – including the non-response to the downing of a US drone and attacks against Saudi oil facilities by Iran – were a “warning sign for Israel,” connecting such policies to the US president’s isolationist tendencies as he entered an election year. The only Israeli politicians to publicly speak out against the US decision were Blue and White leaders Yair Lapid and Ram Ben Barak, and Yamina’s Naftali Bennett. Lapid and Bennett framed their comments as support for the Kurds and against Turkey, and less as an overt criticism of the US administration, while Ben Barak tweeted: “Trump is giving us all the reasons to miss Obama.” Writing in Yediot Ahronot, Shimon Shiffer says: “Trump has become unreliable for Israel. He can no longer be trusted. There is real fear that if Iran continues to provoke us, we will be forced to deal with the ayatollahs’ regime without an American umbrella. The strategic reality, which has now been laid bare to us, demands an accounting from Netanyahu, who placed all of his eggs in Donald Trump’s basket.”
Katz leaks security cabinet discussions: Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) was heavily criticised yesterday for leaking comments purportedly made by IDF chief of staff Aviv Kochavi during a security cabinet meeting on Sunday. Kochavi, Katz tweeted, had supported the lifting of the ambiguity surrounding an IDF operation in Syria in late August – a move criticised at the time by opposition members and defence analysts as an election ploy by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Katz said public statements by Israeli officials about the operation were according to “completely professional considerations.” Katz was then blasted for leaking confidential deliberations from within a cabinet meeting. The IDF spokesman issued a statement subtly criticising Katz, saying: “In response to journalists’ questions this morning, the IDF is strict about maintaining the confidentiality of security cabinet meetings.”
Iran a concern on anniversary of Yom Kippur War: On the eve of Yom Kippur, the Israeli media focus on the anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War and draw comparisons to Israel’s current strategic situation. In particular, the growing concern of an Iranian attack via cruise missiles and drones (similar to the one that struck Saudi oil facilities last month). Writing in Ynet, Ron Ben-Yishai said: “Iran, Hezbollah and also the Palestinians can surprise us. The surprise attack will be conventional and maybe even limited – but it could cause severe damage to the civilian home front and hamper for some time the IDF’s offensive capabilities.”