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An Act Of Betrayal And Infamy

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Trump's decision to withdraw American forces from Syria may well be remembered as one of the most egregious and inhuman disasters that he has ever taken since he came to power. For a President of the United States to make such a critical decision with so many implications, simply based on a conversation with Turkish President Erdogan, not only shows his shortsightedness and total lack of strategic approach, but his inability to appreciate how that will adversely affect our friends and please our foes. We are already witnessing the unfolding disaster, and there are no words to explain how and by what logic the President of the United States in particular can take such critical steps, knowing how disastrous the repercussions of his actions would be.

We are already witnessing the humanitarian disaster that has been inflicted on the Kurdish community in Syria. They are the very same Kurds who have fought courageously and valiantly against ISIS and suffered thousands of casualties, demonstrating their commitment to fight to the end, at which they have largely succeeded. The last thing that any Kurdish fighter could imagine is for the United States to betray them, having demonstrated their loyalty at a terrible cost with horrifying losses.

It is true, of course, the Kurds have not merely fought to support the US or other allies' efforts in the war against ISIS, but also for their own self-defense, protecting their land and people. And now, they are fleeing by the thousands nearly 65,000 have already fled, and aid groups expect as many as 450,000 to flee. More than 300 have already been killed by the vicious and ruthless Turkish military under the fanatic and zealous orders of Erdogan.

Interestingly, while Republicans have thus far accepted and even embraced Trump's follies on scores of domestic and international issues, they have not done or said hardly anything against his repeated egregious actions, lies, misstatements, and self-indulgence. This time, they finally raised their voices and condemned the precipitous withdrawal from Syria. They understood how dire the regional consequences will be in particular for America's allies throughout the Middle East.

No single ally in the region and elsewhere will be able to trust the United States under Trump to do anything on their behalf, let alone take any critical steps that might be needed to protect their national security. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of Trump's fervent backers, stated "The president has abandoned the people who helped us destroy ISIS, chaos is unfolding, and when I hear the president 'We're getting out of Syria' my statement to you is this is worse than what Obama did [in withdrawing from Iraq]."

The Middle Eastern countries who have direct or indirect interest and concern about what's happening in Syria, especially Saudi Arabia and Israel, certainly feel abandoned. They know firsthand that the result of the American withdrawal from Syria will have serious national security implications for them, as it would affect their long-term geostrategic calculus in a region with continuing upheaval.

Netanyahu has expressed Israel's concern over the situation, stating "Israel strongly condemns the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria and warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey and its proxies. Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people." Erdogan's office lashed out, with communications director Fahrettin Altun replying, "Empty words of a disgraced politician looking at many years in prison on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges."

The reaction of the European community, and scores of other countries throughout the world, has been one of disbelief. French President Emmanuel Macron, taking stock of the situation, warned "Turkey is putting millions of people at humanitarian risk. In doing so, Turkey will be responsible in front of the international community for helping Daesh (so-called Islamic State) building a Caliphate."

For Trump to take this kind of action that directly impacts the European interests in the region, without any consultation, amounts to betraying our closest European allies. Trump never understood that because of Europe's proximity to the region, it will be affected directly and indirectly by the regional turmoil. For that reason, they have fought side-by-side the United States in the Middle East and Central Asia, even though at times they disagreed with American strategy. They made these sacrifices and commitments to preserve the alliance with the United States, and the integrity of NATO.

Needless to say, the countries that benefit the most from this ill-fated decision by Trump are Turkey itself, Russia, and Iran. Turkey's invasion of Syria will simply not end by defeating the Kurds; Erdogan will ensure that Turkey remains permanently in Syria, as this was all along part of his sinister strategic ambition.

Iran will further entrench itself in Syria, and regardless of what Israel will do or say, there will be no prospect of Iran leaving, knowing the United States will not only refrain from using any military force to oust Iran, but it will no longer have much say about the future of Syria itself. Moreover, there is no other power that could compel Tehran to abandon its strategic interest in Syria under almost any circumstances, which terrifies the Israelis.

Russia, who has been entrenched in Syria for five decades, has worked closely with Iran and Turkey. It should be noted that Putin, Erdogan, and Rouhani have met several times in the last 18 months and developed their own scheme about Syria's future. It is quite clear that Putin and Rouhani certainly supported Erdogan's invasion, which explains why neither Russia nor Iran have said one word about Turkey's gross transgression.

It is no secret that Trump's decision was also largely motivated by his financial interest in Turkey, which goes back many years to 2012, with the opening of Trump Towers in Istanbul. To think though, that the President of the United States would sell America's interests and abandon its allies for the sake of personal financial gain is not merely outrageous but criminal. To me, this amounts to nothing less than treason.


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Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies. His dedication to writing about, analyzing, and (more...)

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2 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments  Post Comment

David William Pear

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The betrayal was the US starting a war of aggression in the first place. It wasn't a betrayal of the Kurds, both the US and they knew that the US was just using them, and they were using the US. That is what happens when the US meddles in other countries when it has no right to and it is a violation of international law. That is why there is international law to prevent this from happening in the first place.

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 12, 2019 at 1:01:27 AM

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shad williams

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No one should lose their life to these criminal acts of war, but perhaps you can tell me which is more despicable, the loss of 384 Kurdish lives or the loss of 100,000 Yemeni lives?

What have you written in regards to the US and west's war crimes in effecting the current scale of the loss of Yemeni lives?

Google 10122019 - According to the UN and other sources, from March 2015 to December 2017, between 8,67013,600 people were killed in Yemen, including more than 5,200 civilians, as well as estimates of more than 50,000 dead as a result of an ongoing famine due to the war.

Guardian - As the court of appeal prepares to rule on the legitimacy of the British government's continued supply of weapons to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, new figures show the conflict's total death toll is fast approaching the 100,000 mark.

The date of the Guardian article is reported as "This article is more than 3 months old". WTF? 3 months older than what? I am ashamed to use this source. It is ridiculous to have to constantly source and corroborate the "news" these days.

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 12, 2019 at 8:27:21 AM

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David William Pear

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Great analogy Shad. Where is the international outcry for Yemini victims of US/KSA aggression against innocent lives? And how about the tens of thousands of Venezuelan and Iranian victims of illegal US sanctions? The silence is deafening. It is what Noam Chomsky and Edward S Herman called "some victims are more 'worthy' than others".

US victims are "unworthy" of human empathy. The victims of US "enemies" are worthy victims. It is part of the great US propaganda scams, with ulterior motives. The human lives are not of concern to the US, it is only of concern to illegal US foreign policy objectives that some victims are more worthy. It is all part of the propaganda.

Yes, I have empathy for the Kurds, but this is the tragedy of what happens when the US takes international law into its own hands. Millions of people have been victims of US illegal wars of aggression in the past two decades alone.

No empathy for Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Syrians, etc etc except when the propaganda serves the US empire.

Submitted on Saturday, Oct 12, 2019 at 2:21:24 PM

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