December 1, 2022 | FDD Tracker: November 2, 2022-December 1, 2022

Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker: December

December 1, 2022 | FDD Tracker: November 2, 2022-December 1, 2022

Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker: December

Trend Overview

Edited by David Adesnik and John Hardie

Welcome back to the Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker. Once a month, we ask FDD’s experts and scholars to assess the administration’s foreign policy. They provide trendlines of very positive, positive, neutral, negative, or very negative for the areas they watch.

In Iran, anti-regime protests continued into their third straight month despite the death of hundreds at the hands of security forces. The Biden administration has condemned this crackdown but refuses to endorse the protesters’ demand for an end to 40 years of clerical dictatorship. Nor will the White House rule out a resumption of talks with Tehran to revive some version of the 2015 nuclear deal.

The authoritarian regime in Beijing is also weathering a wave of protests sparked by its draconian efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Biden administration offered tepid words of support for the protesters but appears to remain focused on reducing friction with Beijing. The Kremlin still controls the streets in Moscow but had another bad month in Ukraine, where Kyiv’s forces retook the strategic regional capital of Kherson with help from American and NATO weapons. Among the fraternity of anti-American autocrats, Kim Jong Un seemed most confident, testing a pair of intercontinental ballistic missiles, on one occasion with his nine-year-old daughter in tow.

Will December prove to be another rough month for America’s adversaries? Check back with us at the beginning of February, since the Tracker is taking off at the end of this month for the holidays. However, before we head out, we will be publishing a special year-end retrospective in mid-December that breaks down where the Biden administration has done well and where it has faltered in 2022.

Trending Positive

Trending Neutral

Trending Negative

Trending Very Negative


By Craig Singleton

Previous Trend: Neutral

President Joe Biden held a much-anticipated meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia — the first face-to-face exchange between the two leaders since Biden became president. The meeting did not result in any diplomatic breakthroughs, nor did Biden and Xi issue a joint statement afterwards. But White House officials expressed optimism that the meeting would prevent a further deterioration of the bilateral relationship. Notably, Biden did raise several sensitive topics with Xi, including U.S. concerns about Chinese human rights abuses and Beijing’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan.” Chinese officials told Biden that any unilateral attempt by Washington to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait represented “the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations.” Moreover, Xi gave no indication that he intends to meaningfully alter Beijing’s problematic behavior, suggesting the bilateral relationship will continue to worsen.

Amid the Chinese Communist Party’s harsh crackdown on peaceful protestors demonstrating against Beijing’s draconian pandemic-related restrictions, the Biden administration took a cautious approach. The White House publicly expressed support for “peaceful protests, here in the United States and around the world,” while privately seeking to disassociate such support from the administration’s efforts to repair the U.S.-China relationship. Meanwhile — many U.S. legislators, Republicans and Democrats — voiced unwavering backing for the protest movement. These competing responses reflect a growing divergence between the White House and Congress over how aggressively to confront Beijing — differences that threaten to complicate Biden’s foreign policy agenda in 2023.


By RADM (Ret.) Mark Montgomery and Jiwon Ma

Previous Trend: Positive

The Biden administration sought to promote international cooperation on cybersecurity. The White House kicked off the month by welcoming leaders from 36 countries and the European Union for the Second International Counter Ransomware Initiative Summit to develop strategies to thwart global ransomware threats.

The Biden administration achieved mixed success in building a consensus among U.S. policymakers on longstanding debates on cyberspace authorities. On a positive note, President Biden is reportedly set to review a revised version of National Security Policy Memorandum-13, which will allow the Pentagon to retain its powers to launch time-sensitive cyber operations without prior State Department review, which has historically delayed the response time of cyber operations.

However, the administration reportedly reached a “no-decision” in its review of the “dual-hat” arrangement, whereby one person leads both the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. Thus, the current arrangement will likely remain. Proponents of the dual-hat structure argue it facilitates increased intelligence sharing between the two agencies, while opponents argue the single position is too powerful for one person.

Third, the White House took more than a year to review a Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency report on how to better protect U.S. critical infrastructure. In a belated letter to Congress, Biden communicated the administration’s intentions to revise parts of Presidential Policy Directive 21 to set baseline cybersecurity standards for U.S. critical infrastructure.

Finally, the National Cyber Strategy is overdue and reportedly hung up with the National Security Council.


By Bradley Bowman

Previous Trend: Neutral

The Biden administration published its annual report to Congress on China’s military power on November 29, focusing largely on the “military-technological development of the People’s Liberation Army,” or PLA. The report makes clear that Beijing is developing the military means to conquer Taiwan and defeat an American attempt to intervene. The Pentagon notes that the 20th Party Congress focused on “intensifying and accelerating the PLA’s modernization goals over the next five years.” China already boasts the largest navy in the world (approximately 340 ships and submarines), an air force “rapidly catching up to Western air forces,” and a PLA Rocket Force that launched 135 ballistic missiles for testing and training in 2021, “more than the rest of the world combined.”

Meanwhile, the Defense Department warns that Beijing’s nuclear warhead stockpile will likely grow from more than 400 warheads now to about 1,500 by 2035. To support this expansion, Beijing is building three solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silo fields, which will cumulatively contain at least 300 new ICBM silos. To be sure, the United States possesses a larger nuclear arsenal. However, the pace and opaque nature of Beijing’s “strategic breakout,” combined with its refusal to engage in substantive nuclear arms talks with the United States, risk miscalculation and force the Pentagon to assume the worst.

In its 2022 Nuclear Posture Review, the administration expressed a desire to “prevent an arms race.” Unfortunately, as the new Pentagon report reveals, Beijing is already racing, and losing an arms race is much worse than competing in one.


By John Hardie

Previous Trend: Neutral

The Biden administration and Western allies are racing to finalize their plan to cap the price of Russian oil exports. The plan aims to slash Moscow’s revenue while maintaining the supply of Russian oil to global markets, thus avoiding a price spike. Yet Washington and its allies are dooming their plan to failure by refusing to establish a secondary-sanctions regime to force top customers, especially China and India, to comply. Instead, the coalition has resigned itself to their non-participation. Moreover, the allies, minus a few Eastern European holdouts, are pursuing a price cap roughly equal to or even above the current market price of Urals crude. This will likely succeed only in keeping Russian oil on the market, which appears to concern the administration more than cutting Kremlin revenue.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, U.S.-supplied weapons played a key role in forcing Russia to abandon its position in Kherson Oblast west of the Dnipro River, a decision Moscow announced on November 9. Washington unveiled three additional military aid packages for Kyiv in November, collectively worth $1.2 billion. Among other things, they focus on helping Ukraine counter Russian cruise missile and drone strikes against its electrical grid. On November 7, Ukraine’s defense minister announced the arrival of the first two U.S.-supplied NASAMS air defense systems. Air defense was also a top priority at the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group’s seventh meeting, held on November 18. In addition to military aid, Washington will also provide over $53 million to help repair Ukraine’s electrical grid, along with $4.5 billion in direct budgetary assistance.


By Hussain Abdul-Hussain

Previous Trend: Neutral

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States is still reviewing its policy on Saudi Arabia, potentially aggravating Washington’s already precarious relationship with the key Gulf ally and top oil exporter. Blinken’s statement came as Washington let American companies resume production in another leading energy producer and human rights abuser — Venezuela. By forgiving its Venezuelan adversaries but not its Saudi allies, Washington sends the wrong signal to friends and foes worldwide.

Blinken’s statement also came shortly after the Biden administration ruled that Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, commonly known as MBS, has immunity from a lawsuit over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The administration cited “longstanding and well-established principles of customary international law” that grant legal immunity to foreign heads of state.

As the war in Yemen comes to a stalemate and MBS emerges immune from legal troubles, little is left for Washington to settle with Riyadh. The Biden administration launched its review after the Saudi- and Russian-led OPEC+ cartel slashed its daily oil production by 2 million barrels in October, aiming to buoy oil prices. At the time, the administration suspected that Riyadh did so in a bid to increase inflation and cost Biden’s Democratic Party the midterm election. But energy prices have since declined, while the Democrats kept the Senate and barely lost the House. At this point, the White House’s review is probably more about placating a domestic U.S. audience that opposes granting MBS immunity.


By Craig Singleton

Previous Trend: Neutral

Several U.S. delegations, including one led by President Biden and another by Vice President Kamala Harris, crisscrossed the Indo-Pacific in a sign of America’s commitment to the region. In his first visit to Southeast Asia as president, Biden travelled to Cambodia for meetings with leaders of countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Biden promised Washington would commit resources — not just rhetoric — to the region as part of a new “comprehensive strategic partnership” with the 10-country bloc. Nevertheless, Biden’s speech was short on specifics, focused primarily on enhanced collaboration on climate and health-related issues. These same themes featured prominently in Biden’s subsequent remarks at the G20 in Indonesia, where he committed the United States to meeting its emissions targets under the Paris Agreement. For her part, Harris attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Thailand, where she sought to convince attendees that the United States remains a reliable economic and security partner.

Biden and Harris’ focus on the region is commendable; however, both have repeatedly shied away from concrete actions aimed at reducing regional reliance on China, such as promoting enforceable trade pacts with the United States. Meanwhile, Chinese leader Xi Jinping leveraged the G20 and APEC to repair China’s relationships with several key U.S. allies, including Japan. Seeking to circumvent U.S. and European criticism of China’s predatory economic behavior, Xi also reiterated Beijing’s ostensible focus on “peaceful coexistence and common development” with all Asian nations, albeit without ceding ground on China’s claims to Taiwan and most of the South China Sea.

International Organizations

By Richard Goldberg

Previous Trend: Negative

In late November, the Biden administration pushed a UN Human Rights Council resolution to condemn human rights abuses in Iran and establish a fact-finding mission to investigate the ongoing crackdown on Iranian protesters. The resolution passed by a vote of 26 in favor, six opposed, and 16 abstentions. The United States handily defeated a Chinese amendment aimed at blocking the mission. While Iran says it will not cooperate with the probe, its passage indicates that the United States can wield its diplomatic power to promote censure of certain countries (e.g., Iran, but not China) at certain moments (e.g., after 10 weeks of sustained protests). This success contrasts with the U.S. failure in October to ensure passage of a resolution requiring debate of Chinese human rights abuses and with the administration’s unwillingness to propose a resolution to terminate a biased Commission of Inquiry targeting Israel.

Separately, the UN’s Third Committee approved a U.S.-backed draft resolution condemning Iran’s brutality toward women and children, though the Biden administration has yet to fulfill Vice President Harris’ pledge to remove Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Meanwhile, the United States ignored Iranian nuclear threats and pressed forward with a resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors to censure Iran over its failure to answer questions about undeclared nuclear materials and sites. Finally, despite loud objections from the Biden administration, the UN’s Fourth Committee passed a draft resolution asking the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


By Richard Goldberg and Behnam Ben Taleblu

Previous Trend: Very Negative

The Biden administration ratcheted up its use of sanctions as a symbolic way of expressing solidarity with the growing protest movement inside Iran but still refused to categorically rule out a future nuclear agreement with the regime in Tehran. With top Iranian officials and government agencies already subject to U.S. sanctions, Washington is naming and shaming mid-level officials involved in the crackdown, including local government officials, police, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders, and a host of senior officials and “interrogator journalists” at Iran’s state-run media. The administration also imposed new economic sanctions on entities helping Iran sell oil and petrochemicals in violation of existing U.S. energy sanctions, and on entities involved in Iran’s transfer of drones to Russia.

Meanwhile, Vice President Harris pledged to remove Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women; the U.S. mission in Geneva successfully advocated for a UN Human Rights Council resolution to establish a fact-finding mission on human rights abuses in Iran; and the U.S. mission in Vienna spearheaded a resolution censuring Iran over its nuclear misconduct at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors meeting.

Looming over what otherwise appears to be a positive trend in Washington’s Iran policy, however, remains the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal. The State Department is refusing to consider the snapback of UN sanctions on Iran, while Iran’s foreign minister is claiming Washington sent Tehran secret messages about resuming talks.


By David May

Previous Trend: Positive

U.S.-Israel relations became tense when the Justice Department informed its Israeli counterpart on November 14 that the FBI had opened an investigation into Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s death. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called the investigation a “grave mistake,” while Prime Minister Yair Lapid warned, “No one will dictate our live-fire instructions to us when we are fighting for our lives.” The White House and the State Department deny being involved in the decision.

In July, a senior U.S. military official “found no reason to believe” Abu Akleh was killed intentionally. The State Department welcomed the Israel Defense Forces’ review of the incident in September. Now, by launching its own inquiry, the FBI is challenging Israel’s ability to investigate its own soldiers. This could invite probes into the United States, Israel, and other democracies by the International Criminal Court, which can intervene only when countries are unable or unwilling to carry out impartial investigations.

On the security front, Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces Aviv Kohavi held separate meetings in Washington on November 21 with his U.S. counterpart, Mark Milley, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. The Israeli and American officials discussed bilateral security cooperation and threats posed by Iran and announced an upcoming joint aerial exercise that will simulate attacks against Iran and its proxies.

Meanwhile, signaling upgraded relations with the Palestinians, the Biden administration on November 22 announced that it had created a Washington-based State Department position dedicated exclusively to Palestinian affairs.


By David Maxwell

Previous Trend: Positive

North Korea conducted six separate missile tests in November, launching over 30 missiles into both the East Sea (Sea of Japan) and the West Sea (Yellow Sea). In addition to short-range ballistic missiles, the DPRK tested two Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). While the first ICBM appears to have failed, the second was successful. Kim Jong Un’s nine- year-old daughter attended the latter test, prompting much premature speculation on regime succession. For the first time, Pyongyang also fired surface-to-air missiles across the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the East Sea into South Korean waters, prompting the South Korean Air Force to fire its own missiles across the NLL. Russia and China again protected Pyongyang from international consequences by blocking a UN Security Council response. Meanwhile, although there are no indications of immediate North Korean plans to conduct another nuclear test, Seoul has called for an unprecedented response if Pyongyang does conduct one.

On November 3, Seoul and Washington held the 54th Security Consultative Meeting, during which the allies made progress on a number of Korean and Indo-Pacific security issues from extended deterrence to operational-control transition. A week later, Seoul unveiled its Indo-Pacific strategy, which emphasizes South Korea’s role as a “global pivotal state” and complements the U.S. vision for a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” Finally, trilateral ROK-Japan-U.S. cooperation continued to improve. On November 13, the leaders released a statement calling for sharing real-time missile warning data. The statement could lay the foundation for an integrated missile defense structure.

Latin America

By Carrie Filipetti and Emanuele Ottolenghi

Previous Trend: Neutral

The Biden administration appointed former Senator Chris Dodd to the newly established position of special presidential envoy for the Americas. It is unclear precisely what this role will entail or how it will differ from other senior administration roles related to the region.

On November 26, negotiations between the Maduro regime and representatives of Venezuela’s interim government resumed after a yearlong pause. Topics discussed included the country’s 2024 presidential election and a potential $3 billion UN humanitarian aid program for Venezuela. In exchange for the regime’s participation in the dialogue, the Biden administration eased sanctions on Chevron, allowing it to resume pumping oil. While confidence-building measures are going to be a critical piece of any negotiated solution, enabling the regime to earn income from petroleum sales prior to any real concessions is premature.

Closer to home, both Mexico and the United States are taking important, though limited, steps toward curbing the fentanyl crisis. The Biden administration sanctioned the Michoacana drug cartel for its production of rainbow fentanyl, and Mexico launched a new initiative to tag and track dual-use precursor chemicals. This comes at a critical time: America is experiencing its highest-ever rates of overdoses while Mexico continues to suffer from cartel violence, including the November 24 murder of the highest-ranking Mexican official yet.

Finally, the United States has yet to effectively end the violence in Haiti or stem the country’s continued outbreaks of cholera.


By Tony Badran

Previous Trend: Very Negative

The Biden administration’s current priorities in Lebanon are to get a president elected and to push through its plan to bring Egyptian gas to Beirut via Jordan and Syria. In part, the administration’s push to elect a president is tied to its wish to see a new government formed, which it hopes will enact the reforms the World Bank has demanded as a precondition for financing the gas project. The deal also requires approval from the Treasury Department, although the administration previously telegraphed that it would be a mere formality, even though the deal clearly violates U.S. sanctions against Damascus.

A report in the Lebanese press claimed the United States and France are considering steps in coming weeks, including a possible French-organized regional conference in Jordan, to overcome the remaining obstacles to the gas deal. It is unclear what this conference aims to achieve on that front.

The French, in tandem with the Biden administration, are attempting to sell the Saudis on the presidential candidacy of Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) commander Joseph Aoun, presumably to rope Riyadh into renewing its financing of Lebanon. Hezbollah, which has an established and cooperative relationship with Aoun, has already held discussions with him, underscoring that the group holds the reins of Beirut’s political order.

Meanwhile, the administration continues to throw aid at Lebanon. The LAF continued to receive equipment it cannot maintain, creating the pretext for further U.S. aid. The USAID administrator also visited Beirut, where she announced $130 million in aid on top of the $260 million the agency has already allocated this year.

Nonproliferation and Biodefense

By Anthony Ruggiero and Andrea Stricker

Previous Trend: Negative

North Korea launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) this month, including the new Hwasong-17 on November 18. Pyongyang has conducted eight ICBM tests this year. The UN Security Council met to review the issue but has been unable to agree on new sanctions, due to Russian and Chinese opposition. The diplomatic coalition against Pyongyang’s actions and the once-robust U.S. North Korea sanctions regime have atrophied since 2018.

The 35-member Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a censure resolution demanding that Iran comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and cooperate with an IAEA investigation into Tehran’s nuclear activities. The resolution was only the second censure passed since 2020, despite Tehran’s continued advances in nuclear weapons capabilities. In response to the board’s admonition, Iran began producing highly enriched uranium at its underground Fordow site and pledged to vastly increase its installation of fast centrifuges. The West has yet to enact the snapback of all UN Iran sanctions in response to Tehran’s provocations.

The situation at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) remains precarious. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi condemned recent heavy shelling near the plant, warning on 60 Minutes that the risk of a radiological incident remains high. He added in an IAEA press release that the shelling entails “huge risks and gambling with many people’s lives.” Russia occupied the ZNPP last March, using it as a military garrison, and has brutalized Ukrainian workers who depend on the plant for their livelihoods.


By John Hardie

Previous Trend: Positive

Underscoring its stated commitment to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes,” the White House in mid-November requested $37.7 billion in additional Ukraine-related aid, which the administration hopes Congress will pass during its lame-duck session. The Pentagon also announced the establishment of a Germany-based headquarters that will formalize and streamline existing U.S. military aid efforts — a further signal of long-term American support.

However, Washington’s mixed messaging on potential peace talks risks hardening Vladimir Putin’s determination by signaling that U.S. resolve is beginning to falter. The administration has privately asked Kyiv to drop its public opposition to peace talks with Putin — a reasonable request aimed at keeping Ukraine on the moral high ground in the view of Western publics. But General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, publicly urged Kyiv to pursue actual peace negotiations. Premature talks would likely prolong the war, as Putin has no apparent appetite for peace, save perhaps a temporary ceasefire that could help Russia stabilize its lines and reconstitute its forces. Other senior U.S. officials have resisted Milley’s proposal, although National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan reportedly encouraged Kyiv to begin thinking about its realistic demands in future negotiations.

Meanwhile, the administration continued to try to mitigate the risk of Russian nuclear escalation through senior-level contacts with Moscow. Washington also sought a U.S.-Russia meeting to discuss resuming New START nuclear inspections, which Russia suspended earlier this year, blaming U.S. sanctions. But Moscow postponed the meeting indefinitely at the 11th hour, possibly attempting to leverage the issue to secure concessions regarding Ukraine.

Sunni Jihadism

By Bill Roggio

Previous Trend: Negative

The U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions against Mohamad Irshad Mohamad Haris Nizar and Musab Turkmen as Specially Designated Global Terrorists for serving as business associates of al-Qaeda financier Ahmed Luqman Talib. The U.S. government designated Talib in October 2020 and listed his company, Talib and Sons, as a terrorist entity. Talib was detained in Australia in 2021 and “charged … with preparing incursions into foreign states for the purpose of engaging in hostile activities,” as the State Department put it.

The U.S. departments of State and Treasury, as well as USAID, refused to disclose to the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) the more than $1.1 billion in spending in Afghanistan that occurred since the U.S. withdrawal in August 2021. A SIGAR report released in mid-November documented six main reasons for the collapse of the Afghan government but neglected to note Pakistani and Iranian support for the Taliban or the Taliban’s deft insurgency strategy. Meanwhile, the Taliban continued to violate human rights, publicly lashing 12 people, including three women, in a stadium on November 23.

The Movement of the Taliban (TTP) in Pakistan ended its six-month-long ceasefire with the Pakistani government. The organization’s defense minister “ordered” TTP forces throughout Pakistan “to launch attacks anywhere in the country” in response to Pakistani military operations, per a TTP statement. The TTP said Pakistani military operations forced it to resume operations and its “revenge attacks will continue in the whole country.”


By David Adesnik

Previous Trend: Negative

After a terror bombing in Istanbul on November 13, Turkey launched dozens of airstrikes against targets in northeast Syria, while promising to send ground troops as well. Ankara blames the Istanbul bombing on the Syrian-Kurdish YPG, which forms an integral part of the U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State but has its roots in the PKK, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. The Pentagon warned Ankara that its airstrikes “directly threatened the safety of U.S. personnel who are working in Syria with local partners to defeat ISIS and maintain custody of more than ten thousand ISIS detainees.” The senior U.S. representative in northeast Syria called for “immediate de-escalation.”

For now, the evidence is insufficient to assign responsibility for the Istanbul bombing. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened for months to launch a new ground offensive. Ankara last intervened in northeast Syria in October 2019 after then President Donald Trump ordered a sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops in the region. Erdogan is facing a difficult battle for re-election amid inflation that hit 85 percent per annum in early November, while the Turkish lira has plummeted in value. An intervention in Syria has the potential to rally support for the government, at least temporarily, yet Erdogan may hesitate to act without a green light from both Washington and Moscow. Last week, a senior Russian official signaled likely opposition from the Kremlin. If Ankara ignores U.S. and Russian warnings, the White House should make clear to Erdogan that reckless moves would potentially trigger sanctions and cause lasting damage to U.S.-Turkish relations.


By Sinan Ciddi

Previous Trend: Neutral

Following a terrorist bombing in Istanbul, Turkey’s interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, refused to accept the U.S. embassy’s message of condolence, instead accusing Washington of being complicit in the attack. President Biden ignored this diplomatic discourtesy when he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G20 summit, where Biden also thanked Ankara for keeping alive the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which facilitates the exportation of Ukrainian grain. The administration is also keen to get Ankara’s approval for Sweden’s and Finland’s membership in NATO, yet Erdogan may hold out for congressional approval of his desire for next-generation F-16 fighters. This may not be forthcoming, however, given the Democrats’ continued control of the Senate, since they oppose Turkey’s “campaign of aggression across the region,” in the words of Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

Turkey’s decision to blame the Istanbul terror attack on the YPG, a Syrian Kurdish force that is part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, has also raised tensions between Washington and Ankara. In addition, Erdogan authorized drone strikes on YPG targets in northern Syria, which came dangerously close to U.S. troops, resulting in a Pentagon statement of concern for American lives. Washington is keen for Turkey not to engage in any land-based operation against the YPG, as the United States fears such an operation could destabilize northern Syria.


The analyses above do not necessarily represent the institutional views of FDD.


Arab Politics Biodefense China Cyber Gulf States Indo-Pacific International Organizations Iran Israel Jihadism Military and Political Power Nonproliferation North Korea Russia Syria Turkey U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy