Editor’s Note: Logan Crow wrote an article here about the backstory on this earlier this year.
Trump: ok turkiye, go smoke those kurds— Assyrian Kang (@AssyrianKang) October 7, 2019
BREAKING: In an extraordinary Sunday night statement, the White House announces that the US “will no longer be in the immediate area” of Northern Syria, allow Turkey to launch an invasion in the region and give Turkey responsibility for captured ISIS fighters in the area. pic.twitter.com/tUES5gsqtF— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 7, 2019
Turkish Foreign Minister: we are determined to “cleanse” the Kurdish populated areas along it our border from Kurdish forces and secure our Turkey’s security.— Baxtiyar Goran (@BaxtiyarGoran) October 7, 2019
Have you noticed that every time Trump breaks from bipartisan foreign policy orthodoxy (which is rare) there’s an enormous backlash from the media, think tanks, fellow Republicans, and even his own subordinates— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) October 7, 2019
This isn’t an American withdrawal from Syria.
Donald Trump is going to stand aside while Erdogan wipes out the Kurds and creates a safe zone in northern Syria. The alternative is that he kicks out the Syrian refugees in Turkey and sends them to Europe. It seems that Trump is just tired of dealing with the problem.
“WASHINGTON — In a major shift in United States military policy in Syria, the White House said on Sunday that President Trump had given his endorsement for a Turkish military operation that would sweep away American-backed Kurdish forces near the border in Syria.
Turkey considers the Kurdish forces to be a terrorist insurgency, and has long sought to end American support for the group. But the Kurdish fighters, which are part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, or S.D.F., have been the United States’ most reliable partner in fighting the Islamic State in a strategic corner of northern Syria.
Now, Mr. Trump’s decision goes against the recommendations of top officials in the Pentagon and the State Department who have sought to keep a small troop presence in northeast Syria to continue operations against the Islamic State, or ISIS, and to act as a critical counterweight to Iran and Russia. …
Mr. Erdogan has demanded a “safe zone” for his nation to run 20 miles deep and 300 miles along the Turkish-Syrian border east of the Euphrates. That area, he has said, would be reserved for the return of at least a million Syrian refugees now inside Turkey. Mr. Erdogan has threatened to send a wave of Syrian migrants to Europe instead if the international community does not support the initiative to send them back to Syria. “
Why must we indefinitely babysit the Kurds in Syria?
Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria last December. “Mad Dog” Jim Mattis resigned in protest. Senate Republicans and the Deep State went to work on him, slowly got him to back down and he ultimately caved on the issue.
He is defending the move on Twitter:
The United States was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, that was many years ago. We stayed and got deeper and deeper into battle with no aim in sight. When I arrived in Washington, ISIS was running rampant in the area. We quickly defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate,…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019
….including capturing thousands of ISIS fighters, mostly from Europe. But Europe did not want them back, they said you keep them USA! I said “NO, we did you a great favor and now you want us to hold them in U.S. prisons at tremendous cost. They are yours for trials.” They…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019
…..again said “NO,” thinking, as usual, that the U.S. is always the “sucker,” on NATO, on Trade, on everything. The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades. I held off this fight for….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019
….almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN. Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019
…figure the situation out, and what they want to do with the captured ISIS fighters in their “neighborhood.” They all hate ISIS, have been enemies for years. We are 7000 miles away and will crush ISIS again if they come anywhere near us!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019
He is still defending it:
I was elected on getting out of these ridiculous endless wars, where our great Military functions as a policing operation to the benefit of people who don’t even like the USA. The two most unhappy countries at this move are Russia & China, because they love seeing us bogged…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019
….down, watching over a quagmire, & spending big dollars to do so. When I took over, our Military was totally depleted. Now it is stronger than ever before. The endless and ridiculous wars are ENDING! We will be focused on the big picture, knowing we can always go back & BLAST!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019
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!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over…— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019
….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
It is a step in the right direction.
If Trump was able to withdraw the troops from Syria and Afghanistan, declare victory over ISIS and say that he had put an end to several of these endless wars without starting a new one as president, then it would be a feather in his cap and would help his reelection effort.
Neocons are going to war with Blompf over this and screaming bloody murder about “muh Kurdish allies” as we all expected after “Mad Dog” Mattis committed seppuku over the issue:
A disgusting, dangerous betrayal. https://t.co/6LullhpdTR— David French (@DavidAFrench) October 7, 2019
I think it may be time for Mattis to speak more bluntly.— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) October 7, 2019
The President’s decision to abandon our Kurd allies in the face of an assault by Turkey is a betrayal. It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster. https://t.co/Tu8ARa8Pmp— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) October 7, 2019
Brian Kilmeade fights with his co-hosts over Trump throwing Syrian Kurds under the bus: “What kind of message is that to the next ally that wants to side with us? … All we did is arm them, and they did all the work. And now we say ‘good luck. Good luck surviving.’ Disaster.” pic.twitter.com/ktyDqsM4lS— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) October 7, 2019
This is a shameful statement by POTUS.— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) October 7, 2019
Erdogan is using this as an excuse to once again persecute the Kurds.
Turkey is buying Russian weapons, accusing us of meddling in their elections, and being hostile.
Turkey is an awful ally. pic.twitter.com/bzNeQdQ1rI
The U.S. must not abandon the Kurds. We must draw lines with Turkey and not allow our allies to be persecuted.— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) October 7, 2019
This can be done through soft power and threatening to remove Turkey from NATO if they do persecute the Kurds.— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) October 7, 2019
I wouldn’t support a war. I’d support soft power and a no fly zone. I know dozens of veterans that would fly to Kurdistan to volunteer though.— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) October 7, 2019
They fought beside us against ISIS and what we’re doing is shameful. https://t.co/lxmcRM94ec
This is Mo. He’s a Kurd and has been fighting ISIS since he was 16.— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) October 7, 2019
He’s one week older than me.
He wears the American flag to honor all of the Americans who fought beside him against ISIS. pic.twitter.com/ugHMAy078x
The Kurds are amazing people and strong fighters. I had the opportunity to visit them in the field over a year ago. They love America and are trusting us to ensure they are not persecuted by Turkey. We can not abandon them. pic.twitter.com/fxEMfJV1Bx— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) October 7, 2019
Not standing up to Turkey will not only have implications for the Syrian Kurds. Turkey is not a good ally. Erdogan is a brutal and evil man.— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) October 7, 2019
Standing up to Turkey doesn’t mean military force, it means not issuing a statement that basically gives them permission to waltz right in.— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) October 7, 2019
We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. #TurkeyIsNotOurFriend— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) October 7, 2019
If reports about US retreat in #Syria are accurate, the Trump administration has made a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 7, 2019
It would confirm #Iran’s view of this administration & embolden then to escalate hostile attacks which in turn could trigger much broader & more dangerous regional war.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 7, 2019
Lindsey Graham calls Trump’s decision “shortsighted and irresponsible” and “unnerving to its core.” Perhaps other Trump defenders could speak up? Perhaps they could stop being his defenders? Perhaps former Trump officials could say publicly how dangerous a second term would be? https://t.co/gObHGrF55p— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 7, 2019
Also, if this plan goes forward will introduce Senate resolution opposing and asking for reversal of this decision. Expect it will receive strong bipartisan support.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 7, 2019
By abandoning the Kurds we have sent the most dangerous signal possible – America is an unreliable ally and it’s just a matter of time before China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea act out in dangerous ways.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 7, 2019
If nothing else, Trump has succeeded in shifting some of the blame for these quagmires back to Conservatism, Inc. and the GOP Congress. He is signaling here who is the real problem. He wants to get out of Syria and Afghanistan, but these people won’t let him.
Everyone who wants to preserve and perpetuate the American Empire is outraged about “muh Kurdish allies” being tossed aside. Those who want to fold it up and be done with it are pleased with the move, but skeptical it won’t be walked back under pressure.