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Aaron Stein @aaronstein1
, 12 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
The collapse of the firewall between the executive and legislative on Turkey should not be overlooked.

There was an executive push to head Congress off on sanctions and use the threat to negotiate a way out of the US-TR downward spiral. <thread>
This started with Sect. Tillerson and the agreement to the two working groups:

Working Group 1: Manbij
Working Group 2: Everything else

Early results was the roadmap in Manbij

WG2 = S400 and legal issues
On F-35, much attention to Mattis letter. I believe the letter was in response to the original Shaheen-Lankford bill, which looked like the Van Hollen - Graham amendment in FY 2019 appropriations bill.

This was watered down to the current NDAA language…
So what happened was some give and take between executive and legislative, resulting in a compromise.

That compromise was designed to give the executive space — and to signal to TR — the importance of the substance of working group 2.
Concurrent to this is the legal issues, focused on Brunson (+other US citizens/U.S. foreign service nationals), Atilla, Gulen.

I think there were two tracks, based out of the White House and the State Department
On the State track, discussion included the Turkish version of the story (Atilla serving out his sentence in TR in exchange for Brunson being released and pledges not to harass FSN + movement on other US nationals)

WH track centered at NATO summit and the #fistbump pull aside
RTE asked Trump for a favor, which Trump reciprocated by outlining positive benefits of movement on Brunson, resulting in the call to Bibi.

Oddly, Brunson wasnt released, touching off the more overt — and direct — threat of what will look like global magnitsky sanctions on TR
The timeline would suggest VP Pence wanted to announce Brunson’s return to the US at the religious freedom breakfast. Instead, what happened is the White House track subsumed the State track (as it tends to do when the WH gets involved directly)
Ankara has misread the severity of what is happening in Washington from day one. Its maximalist bargaining has run out of runway.

However, the US nuclear option gives RTE no off ramp or face saving way to release Brunson
For the USG, the issue is that the executive and legislative now have a mind meld on Turkey. So the traditional block on punitive measures (the WH/State Department) are now allied with Congress to get tougher.

Its a rough time. And I dont see a way out. Not yet at least.
The domestic fight over FY 2019 aprops will be about Trump’s dumb wall funding. But the Van Hollen - Graham amendment should not be overlooked. TR has already signaled it will go to international arbitration if F35 blocked (as they have hinted at previously).
Ankara has also pulled its own card, the NATO alliance, hinting that the US would “lose Turkey” and that Ankara has “other options” (for defense). My thoughts on this I'll save, but none of this is good. <end>
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