Foreign Policy

Trump Officially Abandons Kurds Who Fought ISIS For Us

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Kurdish and other free-Syrian forces did the overwhelming majority of fighting against the so-called Islamic State on the ground and, while doing so, they carved out a semi-autonomous region which they have peacefully controlled aided by the presence of American forces.

Trump abruptly ordered American forces to withdraw from the region yesterday and gave Turkey the greenlight to invade and kill or displace the Kurds who did all the fighting for us.

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.

Administration officials said that Mr. Trump spoke directly with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on the issue on Sunday. And the officials indicated that the 100 to 150 United States military personnel deployed to that area would be pulled back in advance of any Turkish operation but that they would not be completely withdrawn from Syria.

On Monday, witnesses in Syria saw United States forces withdrawing from two positions in northeastern Syria: observation posts in Tel Abyad and Ein Eissa.

Trump took to Twitter, as he is wont to do, where he issued a truly demented defense of his decision.

The Kurds were "paid massive amounts of money and equipment," Trump says.

You know, our effort to arm and equip the Kurds was not meant to be a business arrangement; we did it to counter a threat to global security.

The implications of Trump's decision are vast and include the possible resurgence of ISIS, another humanitarian disaster caused by Turkey's expected invasion, and the possibility that no independent force will want to work with American forces ever again. Because we evidently will sell you out for a bag of peanuts or, you know, a small investment in Trump's next corrupt endeavor.

We know that this is happening because there's a Republican in the White House; because Trump is in the White House -- but foreign forces aren't going to make that distinction. They only know that America is abandoning them.

I'm fairly certain that if Russia invaded another eastern European country tomorrow, Trump would ask them how they intend to pay for our help.

  • Scopedog

    But not to worry–according to the purists, Hillary would have been worse!

    • Draxiar

      That sounds like it would sting a little.

  • Draxiar

    As far as he’s concerned the Kurds are subcontractors that he can punk out of full contractual payment.

  • gescove

    Trump wants to run foreign policy like a protection racket. He can’t understand strategic alliances for mutual benefit. What a stupid, stupid man. I was appalled when he got elected was installed by Putin, but had no appreciation of just how much damage the Runamok Administration could do in so little time.

  • muselet

    Juan Cole:

    The White House itself is now announcing that Turkey is planning to invade the Kurdish-majority region of northern Syria to establish what Ankara calls a “security zone.” This is actually a plan for a monstrous sort of ethnic cleansing and population displacement.…

    Trump clearly has signed off on this plan, apparently afraid to take Erdogan on.

    Look, I am all for the U.S. getting out of Syria. But it should be done in a way that ISIL doesn’t come roaring back and the Kurds who came to the defense of US interests aren’t hung out to dry. The US is an extremely wealthy and powerful player, and could make those arrangements if it wanted to.

    Trump doesn’t want to. He refused even to provide reconstruction aid to eastern Syria so as to ensure that people in the region did not turn back to ISIL out of desperation.

    Trump is the biggest disaster to hit US security since Benedict Arnold.

    [links omitted]

    Read the whole thing. It’s worth the couple of minutes.

    Going forward, no country will be able to trust the US, not even countries that make the fine distinction between R and D administrations; non-state actors like the Democratic Union Party of the Syrian Kurds aren’t likely to bother with distinctions. This is really good for the likes of Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, but it’s really bad for everyone else.

    This is disgraceful, even by the depraved standards of Donald Trump.