Day 991: Trump stabs longtime Kurdish allies in the back while inviting ISIS to return
During the decades-long war in the Middle East, the Kurds have been as reliable as any other ally to the U.S. They have routinely proven to be both capable and brave fighters. Perhaps most importantly, they’re loyal.
Thanks to Donald Trump, the U.S. can no longer say that last part about themselves.
In a policy that drew deep condemnation from both sides of the aisle, Trump announced that he is pulling troops back from the Syrian border, leaving the Kurds totally exposed to an expected Turkish invasion.
Turkey is set to invade Syria and the U.S. said it would remove all of its forces from the “immediate area,” according to the White House.
A U.S. official confirmed Monday that American troops in northeast Syria were pulling back.
The Turkish move is likely to put the Kurdish forces that helped the U.S. defeat ISIS in peril. Turkey considers the Kurdish forces — the PKK and YPG — terrorist organizations.
On top of that, the U.S. is trusting Turkey to deal with ISIS fighters.
The White House also confirmed that Turkey will take possession of all captured ISIS fighters from the past two years.
“The United States Government has pressed France, Germany, and other European nations, from which many captured ISIS fighters came, to take them back, but they did not want them and refused,” the U.S. said in it statement. “The United States will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer.”
Despite the White House’s statement, the U.S. isn’t holding ISIS fighters, the Kurds are, according to the Department of Defense.
The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board noted both the potential for disaster and how strong of allies the Kurds have been.
President Trump’s defeat of Islamic State as a territorial power was a major foreign-policy success, yet he may now undo it with a retreat from Syria that will also signal to U.S. allies that the White House can’t be trusted.
That’s the risk of Mr. Trump’s abrupt decision late Sunday to abandon northern Syria to Turkey. Washington and Ankara had been negotiating to create a buffer zone to avoid a conflict there, but on Sunday the White House announced that American forces will cede the area to Turkish troops. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now free to wage war on Syria’s Kurds, who were America’s most important allies against ISIS.
This looks like a betrayal of the [Kurdish fighters], which lost 11,000 soldiers fighting against ISIS. America armed the Kurds in that fight, and they trusted the U.S. when they were asked to dismantle defensive positions near the Turkish border as part of the buffer-zone negotiations with Ankara. The Kurds are less likely to aid an insurgency in Turkey if they’re allowed to govern themselves in a safe area in Syria policed by the U.S. and Turkey.
Trump treated the Kurds like mere mercenaries. In addition, apparently forgetting how 9/11 was quarterbacked in the Middle East, he downplayed the risk of ISIS returning as being “7000 miles away.”
The Kurds condemned the betrayal.
Democrats condemned the betrayal.
Republicans condemned the betrayal.
Perhaps stronger than anyone, Trump’s own former lead on ISIS condemned the betrayal.
Trump, for his part, seeing the near-unanimous backlash, continued to defend the betrayal with an authoritarian-esque statement revealing gross ignorance.
Trump is saying, ‘If Turkey does anything that I don’t like, I and I alone will crush them.’ He has no military experience and foreign policy expertise. Virtually everything he has touched in either arena— Chinese trade wars, Iran nuclear deal, North Korea nuclear proliferation, to name a few — he has made worse.
By keeping the status quo in place, Turkey would have been unable to do anything. The chances of ISIS returning would have been remained low. Instead, the U.S. is needlessly opening a vacuum and all but inviting ISIS to try and return. Simultaneously, Trump is severely depreciating the value of an American alliance for the rest of the world.
Trying to prop himself up, and truly hoping his most ardent supporters can’t see through even the lowest level of lies, Trump invented an unnamed “top general” who he pretended told him that the U.S. military was out of ammunition before he arrived.
And showing absolute delusion, Trump said his polls have jumped 17 points in the last few days.
Trump has no idea what he’s doing and he’s risking lives around the word — including American ones— with impulsive and dangerous decisions that have no reasonable justification.
991 days in, 471 to go
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