(GPA) Washington, D.C. – After months of statements in his presidential campaign that “safe zones” for refugees in Syria proposed by Hillary Clinton were likely to start World War Three, Donald Trump has apparently revived the idea.
In an extended interview with ABC News this week, President Donald Trump said he “will absolutely do safe zones in Syria,” to shelter refugees within the country. His plan may apparently include no fly zones near the Syrian border with Turkey.
The border regions where these “safe zones” are likely to be established are regions already primarily controlled by Turkish backed rebels and heavily influenced by Ankara. Turkey has been advocating this type of plan for some time now and is likely to encourage the US to help carry it out.
Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu came it in support of Trump’s proposal today, saying “We have seen the U.S. President’s request for conducting a study. What’s important is the results of this study and what kind of recommendation will come out.” Muftuoglu seemed hopeful that Trump would end up enacting the plan that “Turkey has advocated from the start. The best example is in Jarablus,” an area formerly held by IS.
Some areas near the border, held by Turkish forces and their allies in the Free Syrian Army (FSA), are already being called “de-facto safe zones.” Chances are, Turkey and their terrorist friends would enjoy the safe zone idea as a chance to maintain control over crucial regions. It’s also important to remember that Turkey doesn’t see Russian ally, Bashar Assad as having a place in the Syrian government once the war is over.
Another government in favor of the idea to speak out in support of Trump after he made his comments was Qatar. Qatari state news quoted Foreign Ministry official Ahmad al-Rumaihi saying that there was a “need to provide safe havens in Syria and to impose no-fly zones to ensure the safety of civilians.”
Some readers may recognize this plan as the same one put forward by Hillary Clinton, which Donald Trump criticized by saying would “lead to World War Three.” This is also a similar idea to the one Clinton spoke of in one of her leaked Goldman Sachs speeches where she said “To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas. So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk — you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians… So all of a sudden this intervention that people talk about so glibly becomes an American and NATO involvement where you take a lot of civilians.”
The problem with Trump’s statements on the campaign trail compared to his plans now is, his campaign statements were actually correct. Even after Trump also promised during the campaign to improve relations with Russia, it seems he didn’t even think to consult the Kremlin when he thought of this idea.
The safe zone idea genuinely will needlessly increase tensions with Russia by way of applying pressure on their ally Syria. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Trump hadn’t consulted with Moscow about the idea in a conference call with reporters today. Peskov also warned US leaders that “It’s important to make sure that this does not further aggravate the situation with refugees. Evidently, all the possible consequences should be taken into account.”
Some may have been hopeful about Trump’s talk about strengthening ties with Russia as a good way to possibly help clean up the mess in Syria rather than make it worse. Now with the revival of the establishment plans to further infringe on Syria’s sovereignty coming from the new administration this seems like it may have been wishful thinking. Trump was elected as an outsider but as far as his picks for defense and security positions go, he managed to choose some very establishment leaders to head up the American imperialist project. It now seems that in less than a week of being in office, the consequence of these decisions are already coming into focus.
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Image: Flickr – Jordi Bernabeu Farrús