Abandoning Our Kurdish Allies in Syria is Immoral & Strategically Indefensible
President Trump's attempt to change the subject away from the House's impeachment inquiry by announcing a pull-out of US troops from the area of Syria's border with Turkey isn't going well. He is getting blow-back from foreign allies, the military and even long-time Republican supporters like Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Liz Cheney.
Graham via CNN: "This impulsive decision by the President has undone all the gains we've made, thrown the region into further chaos. Iran is licking their chops. And if I'm an ISIS fighter I've got a second lease on life. So to those who think ISIS has been defeated you will soon see," Graham said during an interview on Fox News' "Fox and Friends."
"I hope I'm making myself clear how shortsighted and irresponsible this decision is in my view," the South Carolina Republican added."
Cheney on Twitter: "Withdrawing US forces from Northern Syria is a catastrophic mistake that puts our gains against ISIS at risk and threatens US security. This decision ignores lesson of 9/11. Terrorists thousands of miles away can and will use their safe-havens to launch attacks against America."
Trump's decision is not just strategically indefensible, it's an immoral, reprehensible betrayal of the Kurds, our most dependable ally in our wars in Iraq and Syria.
The New Republic: "For three decades, Kurdish nationalists have been Our Men In The Middle East, reliable proxies and allies in U.S. struggles against Saddam Hussein, Tehran’s government, and Islamist terrorists. "
America has had about 150 troops near the Syrian-Turkish border who have represented a tripwire to prevent an invasion by Turkey, "which views the Syrian Kurdish militia in control of the region (the People’s Protection Units, or YPG) as a terrorist group." The American troops have maintained a fragile peace in northern Syria, but as they withdrew yesterday, Turkey began a bombing campaign and massed troops for an invasion.
President Trump defended his decision saying that he had kept a campaign promise to bring American troops home, that the United States had done enough in Syria, and that ISIS has been defeated. He also issued a bizarrely worded threat to Turkey.
The Guardian: "...as I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!)."
Despite Trump's "unmatched wisdom," it's likely that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will ignore Trump's threat.
Washington Post: "Turkey’s vice president [ Fuat Oktay ] says his country won’t bow to threats in an apparent response to President Donald Trump’s warning to Ankara about the scope of its planned military incursion into Syria"...
... “Where Turkey’s security is concerned, we determine our own path but we set our own limits.”
Turkey's strongman Erdoğan is getting what he has long sought.
The Guardian: "This would be a triumph for Erdoğan, who throughout the war against Isis prioritised Ankara’s enmity with the PKK [Kurds] over that with the jihadists – a stance that drew US distrust."
Trump's action has also led to an additional concern that Turkey's planned invasion could assist ISIS's resurgence. It's unclear what will happen to the thousands of ISIS prisoners held by the Kurds if Turkey attacks.
New York Times: “If Turkey attacks these Kurdish soldiers, there is a grave risk that the ISIS fighters they guard will escape and return to the battlefield,” a bipartisan group of [US] lawmakers who recently visited the Middle East said in a joint statement on Monday."
And, it's unlikely that Turkey will take on the responsibility for the prisoners.
New York Times: “It’s hard to imagine Turkey has the capacity to handle securely and appropriately the detainees long held by the Syrian Kurds — and that’s if Turkey even genuinely intends to try,” said Joshua A. Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the Obama administration."
By: Tommy Westerhold & Don Lam & Curated Content