Donald Trump just proved once again why the United States under his regime cannot be trusted.
In what the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and partner Kurdish militia, YPG, have characterized as a "blatant betrayal," Trump decided back in December to announce pulling American soldiers out of Northern Syria, abandoning the Kurdish forces whom we have for the past five years provided military assistance necessary to help protect themselves and others from ISIS's proliferation.
U.S. troops began withdrawing Monday, following a telephone correspondence between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during which Erdoğan out-negotiated Trump, according to a National Security source reporting to Newsweek.
"The Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Syrian National Army, just launched #OperationPeaceSpring against PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria. Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area."
Turkey is no friend to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially after Saudi journalist and American resident Jamal Khashoggi was brutally tortured and murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October.
But Trump has pledged his fealty to Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which complicates his relationship with Erdoğan.
Further complicating it is the fact that we did not extradite Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has been living in Pennsylvania since the 1990s and was involved in an aborted coup against Erdoğan in 2016. Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was expected to accomplish this while he was working as a Turkish foreign agent.
No one (or at least few) expects the United States to remain in Syriaor anywhere elseindefinitely. Eventually we ought to allow sovereign countries to handle their own affairs.
So isn't Trump's withdrawal, no matter how messy, ultimately a positive move?
If done properly, with diplomacy, insight, forethought, patience, compromise, and enough humility to reach out to those who admittedly know more than he does, yes.
But Trump possesses none of those qualities, at least from what we've seen over the past two and a half years.
Extricating ourselves from such a quagmire requires more than a whimsical presidential fiat, especially since those who knew of Trump's impending decision warned the Kurds would be slaughtered if we retreated.
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