Donald Trump just proved once again why the United States under his regime cannot be trusted.
In what the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and partner Kurdish militia, YPG, have characterized as a “blatant betrayal,” Trump decided back in December to announce pulling American soldiers out of Northern Syria, abandoning the Kurdish forces whom we have for the past five years provided military assistance necessary to help protect themselves and others from ISIS’s proliferation.
U.S. troops began withdrawing Monday, following a telephone correspondence between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during which Erdoğan out-negotiated Trump, according to a National Security source reporting to Newsweek.
“The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, just launched #OperationPeaceSpring against PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria. Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area.”
Turkey is no friend to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially after Saudi journalist and American resident Jamal Khashoggi was brutally tortured and murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October.
But Trump has pledged his fealty to Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which complicates his relationship with Erdoğan.
Further complicating it is the fact that we did not extradite Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has been living in Pennsylvania since the 1990s and was involved in an aborted coup against Erdoğan in 2016. Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was expected to accomplish this while he was working as a Turkish foreign agent.
No one (or at least few) expects the United States to remain in Syria–or anywhere else–indefinitely. Eventually we ought to allow sovereign countries to handle their own affairs.
So isn’t Trump’s withdrawal, no matter how messy, ultimately a positive move?
If done properly, with diplomacy, insight, forethought, patience, compromise, and enough humility to reach out to those who admittedly know more than he does, yes.
But Trump possesses none of those qualities, at least from what we’ve seen over the past two and a half years.
Extricating ourselves from such a quagmire requires more than a whimsical presidential fiat, especially since those who knew of Trump’s impending decision warned the Kurds would be slaughtered if we retreated.
Trump failed last year to consult former defense secretary, James Mattis, who resigned over the matter.
He did not consult the U.S. special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat Isis, Brett McGurk, who also resigned.
Turkey wants us out of Syria, Syria wants us out of Syria, and guess who else wants us out of Syria.
Brett McGurk acknowledged the sop to Vladimir Putin, Syria, and ISIS via tweet on Monday:
Bottom line: Trump tonight after one call with a foreign leader provided a gift to Russia, Iran, and ISIS. FWIW, I warned of this here in @ForeignAffairs — and recommended alternatives given the hard realities on the ground and in this White House. https://t.co/QHYzI7dgEi
— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) October 7, 2019
When faced with overwhelming pushback from both political parties, and even his own administration, Trump tweeted on Monday his “great and unmatched wisdom” would destroy the Turkish economy if Turkey pursued its assault on the Kurdish people:
….the captured ISIS fighters and families. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019
Donald Trump does not appear to know how to exist in a non-transactional world.
Everything he has ever done has been to benefit himself, mostly financially.
So we can reasonably assume it’s no different with Turkey.
In 2012, First Daughter, Ivanka Trump, tweeted:
Thank you Prime Minister Erdogan for joining us yesterday to celebrate the launch of #TrumpTowers Istanbul!
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) April 20, 2012
In a December 2015 radio interview, Trump himself admitted:
“I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul. It’s called Trump Towers. Two towers, instead of one. Not the usual one, it’s two. And I’ve gotten to know Turkey very well.”
In June 2016, while Trump was traipsing the campaign trail, it was reported Recep Tayyip Erdoğan demanded the removal of the Trump name from the towers in response to the future president’s overt Islamophobia.
“Trump has no tolerance for Muslims living in the US. And on top of that, they used a brand in Istanbul with his name. The ones who put that brand on their building should immediately remove it.”
Responding to the apparent conflict of interest, former CIA clandestine services officer, John Sipher, tweeted this week:
Well, at least the Trump Administration is consistent. We are about screwing our allies, partners and friends. Don't trust America, even if you shed blood on their behalf. If you want favors build a Trump tower. https://t.co/CkVi8Si9q3
— John Sipher (@john_sipher) October 7, 2019
So…what exactly is Trump getting for killing the Kurds?
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