"On January 16, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency released a map of the alleged safe zone in the area east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, which had been recently discussed between the US and Turkey. According to the Turkish side, this zone would include the entire area from the town of Jarabulus to the town of al-Malikiyah.
Ankara has been for a long time demanding to force Kurdish armed groups [YPG and Kurdish SDF units] out of the border area with Turkey. However, Washington, which uses these groups as its main proxy force, has been against this plan.
It seems that this situation may have changed." SF
If this "deal" is really the product of a "gut" level conversation between Trump and Erdogan (presumably through translators?), then it is an argument against the personal conduct of diplomacy by heads of state. There is no doubt that the president of the United States has the power and right to conduct such diplomacy. That being the case, the results of such personal effort must be examined.
I, personally, share the view of William Barr that Article 2 of the US Constitution establishes that the President of the US IS the Executive Branch and that all authority within the Executive Branch derives from that of the president. His or her power is limited by the requirement in Article 2 that he or she should cause the laws to be faithfully be executed. The president cannot make law. Only the Congress can legislate.
In this case what was evidently agreed to by the duopoly of Trump/Erdogan was the effective extension of Turkish authority into a wide band of Syrian sovereign territory. Turkey has sought this as a minimum requirement for its security for a long time. IMO Turkey has even greater actual ambitions in Syria than this, but Trump's simplistic understanding of the ME, dividing the players up into good guys and bad guys, supporters and non-supporters has, IMO, led him to think that there are certain good guys; Israel-Turkey-Saudi Arabia-Egypt-Jordan-Iraq- the Kurds and then there are bad guys; ISIS-AQ-the SAG-Iran, etc. In that context, anything that favors the good guys must be good and vice versa.
To give Turkey a license to take Syria one bite a time based on a lack of sophistication in understanding the true nature of the countries and peoples of the region is a terrible mistake.
"C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute." pl