Over the past several years, Kurdish fighters have been primarily responsible for defeating ISIS. Donald Trump often praised them, noting that tens of thousands of Kurds have died fighting ISIS. So it was a surprise, apparently to everyone, that Trump gave Turkey the green light to attack the Kurds in northern Syria.

Retired Four-star General John Allen goes as far as to say there’s Kurdish “blood on Trump’s hands.” Breitbart describes the attack.

Turkey’s relentless assault, which has seen air strikes, shelling and a ground incursion manned mainly by Syrian proxy fighters, has killed scores of civilians and fighters since its launch on Wednesday.

The Kurds feel they have been betrayed by the United States, their once formidable ally in the fight against the Islamic State jihadist group, and left to fend for themselves in the battle against Turkish forces.

We’re talking about it here, because it may already be having an impact on the Trump’s reelection effort. While Republicans have mostly been steadfast in their support against impeachment, many are furious at Trump on this issue, according to The Hill.

“We are witnessing ethnic cleansing in Syria by Turkey, the destruction of a reliable ally in the Kurds, and the reemergence of ISIS,” [S.C. Sen. Lindsay] Graham tweeted after Friday’s announcement.

“The conditional sanctions announced today will be viewed by Turkey as a tepid response and will embolden Erdogan even more,” he added, referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an. “The Turkish government needs to know Congress will take a different path – passing crippling sanctions in a bipartisan fashion.”

Graham, alongside Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), is expected to introduce harsh sanctions against Turkey this week as a punishment for its incursion into northern Syria against the Kurds, longtime allies of the U.S. . .

“I want to co-sponsor that resolution,” Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), who is up for reelection next year, said in an interview with Fox News. “We cannot have a supposed ally who is continuing to go in the wrong direction under Erdo?an’s leadership, invading another country.”

While the condemnation has been bipartisan, the Republican criticism is particularly notable since it comes at a time when the GOP is vociferously defending Trump from House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. . .

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is up for reelection next year, told reporters in Maine she supports sanctions against Turkey. . . Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the No. 3 House Republican, has unveiled a companion measure to Graham-Van Hollen in the House. Her bill is co-sponsored by nearly 30 Republicans.

Meanwhile, Haaretz, an Israeli publication, says this could hurt Trump with the evangelical vote.

Something unusual happened in American politics this week: President Donald Trump was criticized by leading figures in the evangelical community. One after another, prominent pastors and activists denounced his decision to remove U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and to stand aside as Turkey attacked Kurdish cities in the region. One pastor called the Turkish attack on the Kurds “a disgrace”; another warned Trump he could be “losing the mandate of heaven” over the decision.

It was the first time since Trump entered the White House in 2017 that he had to endure such a strong level of criticism from evangelical leaders. They had stood by him throughout the worst scandals of his presidency: The Stormy Daniels affair; his racist attacks on black members of Congress; his attempts to recruit foreign governments to aid his 2020 reelection campaign.

Maybe a little historical perspective is called for. The whole Syrian issue goes back to the “Arab Spring” back in 2011, which began in Tunisia. It spread to Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain. Ghaddafi fell in Libya, but the country descended into chaos. It might be noted that while Ghaddafi was a tyrant, he kept order in the country, and since he was secular, the religious zealots were kept at bay. The same could be said about the secular leader, Saddam Hussein, whose ouster led to reported millions of deaths, and the rise of ISIS. Then, of course, there was Syria’s Bashar al Assad, another secular leader, whose country was largely invaded by ISIS. But instead of helping Assad put down ISIS, the United States encouraged his ouster in the civil war, eventually backing (more in word than deed) the Kurds.

The problem is that the Kurds want their own homeland, which would naturally cover northern Iraq, northern Syria, and southern Turkey. The Kurds already established an autonomous region in Iraq, and a de-facto region in the weakened Syria. Turkey feared that if the Syrian region became a formal Kurdish region, terrorists-or-freedom-fighters (depending on your viewpoint) would demand part of Turkey, as well.

That’s Turkey’s reasoning. Why did Trump go along? Perhaps he was distracted by talk of impeachment. More likely, he felt that he has never faced any real consequences for mistakes in the past, so in what he calls his “great and unmatched wisdom,” Trump probably feels that this, too, will blow over, so he can keep his campaign promise to get out of Syria, regardless of consequences.

It’s also possible that Trump feels that this is a no-lose situation. The Kurds don’t even have a nation, but in this quick action, he could appease Turkey, while getting back in the good graces of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Many see the US rollback as a boon to Russia in particular, as it removes Russia’s only military equal from the equation in Syria. The World spoke with Yury Barmin, Middle East and North Africa director at the Moscow Policy Group about Russia’s main goals in the Syrian conflict.

Since the Kurds can no longer count on the U.S., they have decided to drop their opposition to Assad, agreeing to a Russian plan to let Assad’s troops into their area.

The West’s Kurdish allies on Sunday night announced they had agreed to a Russian-brokered deal to allow the Assad regime into their territory in a bid to spare their cities from a Turkish assault after they were abandoned by Donald Trump.

Hours after the US said it was withdrawing all of its troops from northern Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said it had reached an agreement to allow Bashar al-Assad’s troops into their territory.

“If we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people,” said Mazloum Kobani Abdi, the commander of the SDF.

Democrats don’t like the Turkish invasion of Syria. Many Republicans are “furious.” Evangelicals are upset. But will it matter, politically, to Trump? Not likely. As Macbeth said, borrowing from the Bard, there will be pounding of chests, indignation, and speeches “full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”

23 COMMENTS

    • Because Erdogan knows killing an American would force Trump to respond (in a meaningful way). Moving out the 50 Americans gave Erdogan the green light to kill anyone and everyone else there.

      In fact, Military Times says that Turkey purposely fired at remaining Americans, despite the fact that we had given Turkey exact locations of our people.

      https://www.militarytimes.com/2019/10/13/us-troops-believe-turkey-deliberately-fired-artillery-at-an-american-commando-outpost-in-syria/

      • We pulled out 50 troops. If the Kurds were tough enough to defeat Isis, as some said, why would 50 troops have meant so much?

        • As I noted before, the Turks knew there (should be) hell to pay if they killed an American. By getting the Americans out of there, the Turks were free to kill at will.

          I say “should be” because there were zero–ZERO–consequences when the Saudi’s dismembered a Virginia resident.

            • We’ve burned our bridges with the Kurds. They have already moved to Russian influence.

              At this point, we could use Turkey’s invasion as an excuse to punish Erdogan for turning away from the secular ideals of founder, Ataturk.

              Or we might use any alleged Russian action against Turkey to have NATO fight Russia, directly. . .

            • We found out with ABC’s fake picture, and unethical quote, of a that people aren’t telling the truth. So how do you know that the Kurds have moved to Russia influence?

            • The US Did Not Abandon the Kurds. We have them military assistance. If the Kurds acually feel abandoned, after all the US did, then they were the wrong ones to back.

              Why do people want the American troops dead or injuried?

            • I don’t want the Kurds dead. Obama sent the troops there for a short period of time. Obama should have brought them home, right? The press wouldn’t have said a word. He was their golden child.

              Trump just took 50 troops out of harms way. Trump didn’t pull out, right?

            • By moving the troops, Trump caused the harm. It showed weakness.

              Erdogan told Trump he was going to invade Syria to kill the Kurds–the only real force that countered ISIS. The Great America would have said, “no, you won’t.” Instead, Trump said, “have at ’em! We’ll run.” After Trump moved the 50, Erdogan threatened the remaining thousand–because he wanted to add insult to injury.

              This is not politics. This is about policy. Just ask Mitch McConnell.
              https://www.timesofisrael.com/mcconnell-rips-syria-withdrawal-as-a-strategic-nightmare/

              Lindsay Graham, Liz Cheney, Roy Blunt, Marco Rubio
              https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/09/syria-backlash-trump-042654

              Ted Cruz
              https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/trump-syria-withdrawal-congressional-republicans-condemn-decision/

              Romney
              https://www.foxnews.com/politics/mitt-romney-trump-syria-turkey-cease-fire

              129 GOP House members
              https://thehill.com/policy/defense/466108-house-passes-resolution-rebuking-trump-over-syria-pullout

              Your defenses of Trump would seem more reasonable if you didn’t try to defend the indefensible.

            • You obviously don’t care about American lives but I do and thankfully so does Trump. I’m sick and tired of those who are willing to put others lives at risk but aren’t willing to do it Themselves.

              Have your son, or grandson, or relative go to and defend the Kurds. Have them lose arms, legs, or come back mentally deranged. War isn’t a game. It isn’t fun to watch. It’s hell.

              As Trump said it’s easy being the tough guy.

              Obviously, trying to save American lives isn’t easy either.

              Did Graham, etc yell and scream when the Bushy boys had American troops come home and “left Thousands to die?” Nope. Did you scream about those that were killed?

              I’d imagine Graham, etc didn’t say anything about the Bushy boys leaving thousands to die because they were “Good Old Boys.”

              Trump is 100% right.

              You say I’m defending the indefensible but that is merely your opinion. I totally disagree. Rush knows it.

            • There is a right way and a wrong way to do things.

              As I have written elsewhere, I don’t think we should have helped depose secular leaders Saddam or Ghadaffi, both because we don’t have a right to regime change, but also because if you remove secular power, you’ll probably end up with extremists in power, or at least tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of deaths in civil war. Obama should NOT have said, “Assad must go.” Obama was wrong.

              And, yes, we should not be there. but the appropriate way to leave would be to show appreciation to the Kurds, who lost more than ten thousand fighters in the cause against ISIS. We should have told them we’re leaving and work out a plan–in advance–to make sure they are not massacred.

              Instead, Erdogan flatly told Trump he was going to commit genocide. Trump said, “OK, geez, I’ll get our guys out of the way so you and I don’t have any issues.” Erdogan laughed, and sent shells close to the remaining Americans, to show that he wasn’t afraid of us, anyway.

              You’re being ridiculous. Our troops were not there to “defend” the Kurds. That’s insane. We were there to advise them. Yes, we did lose a few people, but even Trump acknowledges that the Kurds lost more than 10,000. They were defending US, not vice versa.

              Trump was 10% right. His capitulation to Erdogan and betrayal of the Kurds is indefensible.

            • You post things like, “Your being ridiculous” that an intelligent person like yourself just shouldn’t say. I NEVER once said the US was there to “Defend” the Kurds. You LIED. That is Wrong. I’d never expect you to post lies.

              I’d said We, that’s the US, provided ARMS. If you don’t know what arms are then you need to learn. Military equipment!!!!!

              You failed to say that Bush should never have started this whole mess. Yes it was your Bushy Boy who screwed everything up. He killed thousands of innocent people. Both of them. Your Bushy boy hardly gets a pass.

              By the way Trump is the president. You don’t advise Trump. We voted for Trump. Not you.

              Is it ego that makes you want to degrade me/people. Perhaps your just to good for a common person like myself.

            • No, I DID say that Bush should not have deposed Saddam. And I said that Obama should not have said “Assad must go.”

              This is not about politics, which you really want to push with your “what-aboutism.” I agree that we shouldn’t be in Syria, but that doesn’t mean you betray the main fighting force you’ve been “using”–and without notice.

              And again, there are many areas where you can legitimately argue in Trump’s defense, why try to defend him in every action, even when he’s clearly wrong? It just makes your other arguments suspect.

            • By the way, you did say this:

              “Have your son, or grandson, or relative go to and defend the Kurds.”

              Apology accepted.

            • Ok. Then they are suspect. But why can’t I have a different opinion?

              You say don’t mention what aboutism. That’s code for I agree but…..

              If we can go in and kill every one fine. That’s what armies are for. They kill people. They defend our country. This is political BS.

              The middle East is going to fight no matter who is President.

            • “What-aboutism” is distraction. If a person doesn’t like a discussion, they bring up something irrelevant to the current discussion, hoping to derail the track.

              This is not about politics, it’s about policy.

              Let’s look at the big picture. The Kurds are a people without a nation. They live in northern Syria and Iraq and southern Turkey. After we deposed Saddam, the Kurds asserted themselves, and established an autonomous region in the north.

              Then ISIS established its geographic area. We saw that as a threat, so we encouraged the Kurds to fight against them. The Kurds agreed, because it was their territory that was being occupied. Now then, if you were a Kurd, wouldn’t you think you would deserve some consideration for having over ten thousand of your fighters killed in the effort, while jailing more than ten thousand ISIS fighters?

              I think it’s pretty clear that the Kurds thought they would be allowed to have an autonomous area in northern Syria. Assad did not control that space. It was reasonable that they would get a similar deal as the Iraqi Kurds received. But what did they get for their effort and sacrifice? Nothing. Ridicule (“not angels”) and death.

              Worse yet, they were handed over to an attack by an entirely separate country! I think Erdogan saw the Iraqi autonomous region, and feared a similar region in Syria. That would only leave the third Kurdish area “occupied” by Turkey. I think Erdogan felt that northern Syria had to be subjugated. They (and their puppets) wanted to control that area, but if Assad could re-establish control, that would be ok, with the understanding that the Kurds would be under Assad’s boot. That’s exactly what we gave Turkey.

              When Erdogan told Trump his plans, Trump should have said, “No, the Kurds have earned our respect and loyalty. How about if we will help you set up a “neutral” area that is demilitarized–politically, not by attacking them. That will also help to assure that ISIS does not regain military control.” That would have made us heroes.

              The Kurds’ only reasonable hope now is that Russia can make a deal with Erdogan to let Assad take back control–it would be safer to be under Assad’s boot than in a Turkish-dug grave.. Erdogan and Putin met for six hours. My guess is that was why.

              I don’t want American troops over there. But there is a way to do things. And a way to assure disaster. Trump chose the latter.

            • Make sense. Thanks. I appreciate your logic.

              Did today’s peace agreement (with Pence,etc.) give the Kurds about what you’d suggested?

              I doubt the peace agreement will be permanent. They may start fighting before you read this post.

            • I don’t know. I don’t think Turkey would ever allow the Kurds to have autonomy in Syria, and because of the invasion, the Kurds had to join with Assad, so he is certainly not going to be willing to give them autonomy. They had to turn to Assad to survive, but it will be under his control.

              I assume that the radical Kurds will move to Iraq, and attack Turkey from there. That will force Erdogan to invade Iraq, which is not strong enough to keep them out. In the Middle East, nothing is ever finished–including ISIS.

              One thing about ISIS having geographic territory is that they had to defend it—they had to stay there. Now, ISIS is free to attack anywhere, as al-Queda did.

            • You once said that you believed the opposite of what Trump was saying. Well, this time it looks like you were right. Trump wasn’t going to tell you, me, Iran, China, Russia, etc. his real plan.

              I know you’ll disagree but that’s fine. Others from that area, that I talk to, say Trump’s deal, or give anyone credit, is masterful.

              He’s protecting the oil fields and stopping Russia. Which no one expected.

              Since they are always fighting I’m sure they will fight again. Nothing will stop that. They’ve faught for hundreds of years and that’s all they’ve known.

  1. The main discussion has already changed to focus on what we’re going to do to Turkey.

    It reminded me of the late 1980s, when we had sidled up to Iraq, since they were the enemy of our enemy, Iran. Then, in 1990, Saddam started referring to Kuwait as merely the “19th province of Iraq.” There are reports that we didn’t object to that, so Saddam thought “his buddies” the Americans would allow him to take it. Then came the American invasion of Iraq by America.

    Could it be that Trump wanted an excuse to punish Turkey, so he pulled our troops to sucker them into invading Syria? That gave us an excuse to attack Turkey in some way.

    Is there a parallel here?

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