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US defense budget trims millions of dollars benefiting terrorist group PKK/YPG

US defense budget trims millions of dollars benefiting terrorist group PKK/YPG
In massive bill, over $35.8M deducted from Iraqi part of anti-Daesh/ISIS fund while Syrian part cut nearly $18.37M

By Kasim Ileri

WASHINGTON (AA) – As it moves towards final approval, the US military budget for 2023 cuts millions of dollars in military aid that would have aided terrorist groups in northern Syria and northern Iraq, but still leaves millions more for the groups, which threaten the Turkish border and local civilians.

The US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill, which passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday by a vote of 350-80, cuts more than $35.81 million from the Iraqi part of the anti-Daesh/ISIS fund, which the PKK/YPG terror group will also benefit from, and almost $18.37 million from the Syrian part.

Following its House of Representatives approval, the $858 billion NDAA bill now heads to the Senate for a final vote, and if passed there, to President Joe Biden to sign into law.

Through many years and several US administrations, Türkiye has strenuously objected to US military aid – in the form of weapons, ammunition, and training – and partnering with the terrorist YPG/PKK, a branch of a terrorist group that has resulted in the deaths of some 40,000 people in its terror campaign against Türkiye. The US says it works with the YPG/PKK to fight Daesh/ISIS, while Turkish officials say using one terror group to fight another makes no sense.

In the US bill, as part of the fight against Daesh/ISIS in Iraq and Syria, $502.92 million of nearly $541.7 million requested to be given to US partners, including the terrorist group PKK/YPG, was still approved, including an inflation adjustment.

A table attached to the bill said $35.81 million of $358.15 million of the requested for Iraq was found unjustified, so the total was cut to $322.2 million.

The table also says that $18.37 million of the $183.67 million that PKK/YPG terrorists will benefit from in Syria is unjustified, so ultimately nearly $165.31 million was approved for activities including cooperation with the terrorist group.

- Taiwan, Ukraine, Türkiye

The wide-ranging bill, which includes raising military salaries by 4.6% and requires the Pentagon to convert fleets of non-tactical vehicles to zero-emission standards, also provides for $10 billion in military assistance to Taiwan by 2027. The status of the self-governing island, which China sees as its territory, has become increasingly contentious since then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited it this August.

On the Ukraine war, now nearing its 10th month, the bill allocates $800 million to finance the Ukrainian Security Assistance Initiative, and also allocates $6 billion in funds to support US military operations in Europe.

Articles linking the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye to restrictive conditions were also removed from the final version of the bill – a step that Ankara had pressed for.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.​​​​​​​ The YPG is its Syrian branch.

Following after a terrorist attack in Istanbul last month that killed six people and injured dozens and was blamed on the YPG/PKK, Türkiye launched airstrikes on terrorist YPG/PKK positions in northern Iraq, near the Turkish border, and has said a ground operation might come at any time.

In 2013, Türkiye became one of the first countries to declare Daesh/ISIS a terror group.

The country has since been attacked by the terror group multiple times, with over 300 people killed and hundreds more injured in at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb attacks, and four armed assaults.

In response, Türkiye launched anti-terror operations at home and abroad to prevent further attacks.

* Writing by Merve Berker

source: News Feed
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