The United States, it seems, can’t help but create humanitarian crises wherever it goes: first Iraq, then Libya and now Kurdistan.
In a betrayal that is sure to stain America’s image in foreign minds for decades to come, our commander in chief has decided in his “great and unmatched wisdom” to withdraw troops from Northern Syria in order to allow Turkish tanks to crush the Kurdish state.
The Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (popularly referred to as YPG) has been internationally recognized as the single most effective fighting force against ISIS. American Special Forces worked closely with the YPG for most of the campaign against the terrorist group, forming a bond so close that members of the American Special Forces in Syria were photographed wearing YPG patches in 2016 as a display of camaraderie.
As a reward for their immense sacrifices, America has seen it fit to allow Turkey to begin a campaign of ethnic cleansing against our closest allies in the Middle East. More specifically, Donald Trump has bowed down before yet another dictator (having previously submitted to Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un.)
The current President of Turkey, Recep Erdoğan, has overseen massive purges of the government with hundreds of thousands of civil servants, judges and teachers being fired, suspended or arrested.
In one notable instance, more than 11,000 Kurdish teachers were suspended after the failed coup in 2016 which led to Erdoğan consolidating power. Journalists face censorship and arrest should they go against the government’s views. This is the government with which America has chosen to ally itself.
Recent Turkish airstrikes have freed thousands of ISIS prisoners that the Kurds were holding. Invading Turkish forces are committing unspeakable atrocities. On Oct. 13, videos of a 35 year old Kurdish politician who was beaten, raped and stoned to death by Turkish forces flooded social media. The ISIS flag has risen once more in the countryside.
American troop positions were shelled to prevent them from making contact with the retreating Kurds. Bodies of men, women and children alike litter the countryside. The United Nations has estimated that the invasion has already created over 160,000 refugees.
Yet, Trump’s enablers can’t seem to offer more than chiding words in response. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) seems content with leveraging economic sanctions on Turkey when the simple reversal of the retreat order would be infinitely more effective. Trump is burning their house down, and Graham is content to bring little more than a bucket of water after it’s already been burnt to ash.
It bears mentioning, as it almost always does with this administration, that Trump has a vested financial interest in Turkey with numerous Trump properties in the country. The retreat order was given after Trump took an unstaffed call with Erdoğan – it seems beyond doubt that his business was promised numerous kickbacks in return for military access to the Kurds.
In one swift move, Trump betrayed America’s allies, ensured the rise of ISIS and enabled an ethnic cleansing. The world cannot and will not forgive America’s greatest betrayal in the 21st century, and Trump must face consequences for single-handedly causing a humanitarian crisis on an international scale.