Report: Ex-Turkey Lobbyist Flynn Stopped Anti-ISIS Operation That Turkey Opposed

Mikhail Voskresenskiy/SPTNK

Fired national security adviser Michael Flynn put a hold on a military operation against the Islamic State opposed by Turkey, the country he was paid some $530,000 to represent, McClatchy reported Wednesday.

Days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Flynn declined to approve a plan laid out by the Obama administration and Pentagon to retake the ISIL stronghold of Raqqa with assistance from Syrian Kurdish forces, according to McClatchy.

The Kurds and Turkish government have been embroiled in armed conflict for decades, and Turkey has long opposed the U.S. cooperating with Kurdish forces, McClatchy reported.

By delaying the Raqqa operation, Flynn, made a military decision beneficial to a foreign government. He did so after his consulting firm was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby for improved relations between the U.S. and Turkey, while he was also serving as a senior adviser and then as designated national security adviser for the Trump administration.

Trump’s national security team ultimately approved the plan weeks after Flynn was fired, according to McClatchy.

Despite public claims they knew little about Flynn’s work for foreign governments, The New York Times reported Wednesday that the Trump transition team was told on Jan. 4 that he was under federal investigation for lobbying on Turkey’s behalf.

Like the rest of the Trump administration, Flynn took a hard line on the threat posed by Islamic extremists and ISIL specifically.

“I’m totally convinced that, without a proper sense of urgency, we will be eventually defeated, dominated, and very likely destroyed” by Islamic militants, Flynn wrote in his 2016 book “The Field of Fight.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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