Half a dozen long convoys of trucks carrying US arms, hurriedly put together by US military headquarters in Baghdad, have crossed the border in the last three days on their way to the Syrian Kurdish PYD-YPG militia, debkafile military and intelligence sources report exclusively Monday, Nov. 14. The deliveries were expressly ordered by President Barack Obama in a radical turnaround from his five-year refusal to supply Kurdish fighters with American weaponry, least of all anti-air and anti-tank missiles.
More arms convoys are being organized for the same destination.
What caused President Obama’s sudden and belated change of heart about arming the Syrian Kurdish fighters? Our sources report six motives:
1. To get in the way of the deal for Syria that president elect Donald Trump is developing with Presidents Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan. Obama has chosen Syria as the first arena to disrupt the incoming president’s foreign and security policies.
2. debkafile’s Moscow and Ankara sources report that the accord taking shape between Trump and the Russian and Turkish leaders would have the Turkish army, with Russian air support, mount an offensive to retake Raqqa from ISIS. The Russians and Iranians would meanwhile wind up the battle to defeat the Syrian rebels still holding out in eastern Aleppo.
3. The timeline they have sketched for the conquest of Raqqa is mid-January 2017 in time for Donald Trump’s inauguration as president and well ahead of the defeat of ISIS in Mosul, Iraq. The Trump’s strategic team reckons that the Obama plan to retake Mosul is heading for fiasco, because the Iraqi army after four weeks of fighting is still held back by ISIS resistance from breaking through into the city.
Trump is therefore hoping to steal the march on Obama in the war on ISIS by seizing Raqqa before he steps into the Oval Office. Obama, aware of this, has determined to throw a spanner in his successor’s works.
4. The president elect has posted retired US officers to Kurdish provinces in Syria and Iraq as his emissaries for on-the-spot- reporting.
5. Armed with US heavy weapons, the Syrian Kurdish militia, which numbers 45,000 troops, is capable of upsetting the Turkish army’s role in the conquest of Raqqa – that is if Erdogan decides to divert the military forces he has deployed in Syria and Turkey to the anti-ISIS operation.
He might be dissuaded from this step when he realizes that a Kurdish army, substantially upgraded with US weapons, is sitting in northern Syria just across the Turkish border.
6. Our military sources don’t rule out the possibility of Turkey and Russia, whose spy planes are tracking the arms convoys for the Kurds, deciding to bomb them before they reach their destination. The Trump team of strategist advisers is no doubt in hectic consultation on this course with Moscow and Ankara.