How they see us: Betraying the Kurds
Blame America’s “criminally incompetent” president for the horror now unfolding in northern Syria, said The Observer (U.K.) in an editorial. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) served as the U.S.’s ground troops in the five-year war against ISIS, and some 11,000 of their number were killed in the fight. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long wanted to get rid of the SDF, which he regards as an extension of the PKK—a Kurdish guerrilla group based in Turkey. Only the presence of U.S. troops in northern Syria stopped Turkey from attacking. But in a phone call with Erdogan last week, U.S. President Donald Trump “saw a chance to both bring the troops home and distract attention from his Ukraine shenanigans.” He gave Erdogan the green light to invade and ordered U.S. forces to abandon their Kurdish comrades in arms. Soon after, Kurdish towns were being smashed by “terrifyingly indiscriminate Turkish artillery barrages and air strikes.” At least 100,000 people have fled the war zone, and family members of ISIS fighters have used the chaos to escape Kurdish prison camps.
The Kurds don’t seem “too worried” about those escaped prisoners, said Kirill Krivosheev in Kommersant (Russia). “You can’t expect us to take care of your terrorist citizens while you calmly watch our children being killed,” SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali told Western governments. Betrayal begets betrayal, and now all of America’s alliances in the area seem to be crumbling. After Turkish artillery shells exploded near American positions in northern Syria, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he didn’t know whether Turkey—his country’s NATO ally—was deliberately aiming at U.S. troops. The Kurds, meanwhile, have struck a new alliance with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—an enemy of the U.S.—and allowed Syrian regime forces into their territory. They’d rather be subjects of Assad than slaughtered by Erdogan.
America forced Turkey’s hand, said Hakki Ocal in Daily Sabah (Turkey). Instead of allying with Turkey to crush ISIS, the U.S. “elected to form armies out of PKK terrorists.” America then declared these Marxist extremists “the Kurdish people” and gifted them a homeland in Syria. The Kurds will be much better off when these terrorists are removed by our Operation Peace Spring—an operation that will also allow 2 million refugees in Turkey to return home to northern Syria.
Which ally will Trump betray next? asked Shimrit Meir in Yedioth Ahronoth (Israel). The U.S. joined with the Kurds against ISIS only because Erdogan—an “anti-American, anti-Israeli, Islamist leader”—refused to fight the jihadists. Yet it took Erdogan only one call to persuade Trump to abandon the Kurds. Israelis, for whom the U.S. is the indispensable ally, “were surprised by the move and shocked by its implications.” Israel and the rest of the world now know: “The U.S. can no longer be relied on.” ■