Is Trump About to Betray the Kurds Just Ahead of Fresh Turkish Offensive?
By Hamza Abbas
By Hamza Abbas – For almost two months now, information has spread across news feeds of social networks both in the Russian and in the foreign segment of the Internet, and there are heated debates that the United States has betrayed the Kurds in order to establish relations with Turkey.
Particularly ardent supporters of Kurdish armed groups are trying to prove that all this is a lie spread by the enemies of the Kurdish people.
However, the facts are stubborn things. We will not cover the entire history of the US-Turkish negotiations and statements, but turn to the last of them.
So, on December 12, 2018, the Turkish President at a rally with his supporters in Ankara openly announced that his country was ready to launch a military operation against the Kurds in northern Syria in the near future.
At the same time, the extremely restrained reaction of the United States, which, in theory, supports and protects Kurdish armed forces in northern Syria, was remarkable. But this is only the beginning. On December 15, 2018, a telephone conversation took place between the President of the United States of America, D. Trump, and the President of Turkey, R. Erdogan.
Officially, the American leader expressed concern about the upcoming Turkish operation against the Syrian Kurds. However, as it became known later, the conversation of the two leaders also touched the city of Membij. Now it is under the control of the Kurds. The Turks once again demanded that the American president influence his allies, and they in turn liberated the city and transferred it to the control of pro-Turkish armed groups.
According to incoming data, Trump did not deny his Turkish counterpart and was not against his demands. December 17, 2018 Erdogan, speaking at a rally in Konya, revealed additional details of his conversation with the US president. Thus, according to the President of Turkey, he received from his American counterpart D. Trump the approval of the new Turkish military operation in Syria.
It is planned to be held against Kurdish formations based east of the Euphrates. Although this statement was not approved by everyone in Washington, Trump is still the president of the United States, and he makes the decisions with whom to be friends with and whom to leave in the cold. This time, the Kurds are being left in the cold for the sake of re-establishing relations with Turkey.
The fact that the issue of a deal on the Kurds between Washington and Ankara is almost reached, speaks to another fact. Almost immediately after an agreement was reached between the two presidents that no one would interfere with the Turks in their military operation, the news agencies reported that Turkey was considering the purchase of anti-missile defense systems from the United States in the amount of $ 3.5 billion.
That is the price of defending the Kurds, for which the Americans sold the Kurds. After all, it was the Americans’ support for the Kurds in Syria, their protection from Turkey, that hampered the conclusion of this deal, which Washington really needed. However apparently the Turks made Trump an offer that he, as a businessman, considered more profitable. Most likely, Turkey agreed to consider the possibility of purchasing missile defense systems from Americans in exchange for their refusal to protect and support the Kurds in the north of Syria.
Recall a few hours ago, Washington said that the United States began to withdraw its occupation forces from Syria.
After almost three years of American-Kurdish friendship, its true face is revealed. Kurds for Americans were nothing more than a tool for realizing US interests in the region. As a result, the people of Rozhava turned out to be just a bargaining chip in a deal between two large geopolitical players, at the cost of thousands of Kurdish lives. But, as they say, – nothing personal, just business.
FRN Responds: By J. Flores
While it’s entirely the case that most of what the author describes relating to the Turkish offensive is true enough, just a few points to consider.
The specifics of this situation might not be repeated consistently in the future, there’s no reason to ‘betray’ the Kurds, in any thorough and permanent way.
The U.S, however one describes it, has tremendous momentum behind a partitioned Syria, with Kurds and others reformed under the SDF being central to this strategy.
Movement a little here and there, reciprocally positive press coverage now and again, weapons sales and agreements to ‘look the other way’ when allies are attacked, all fit within the framework of the present policy on Syria. It’s not enough to look at instances of these types of real-time, ad-hoc agreements that are tactical decisions within the strategy, or at most strategic variations in pursuit of the policy goal, but these are not changes in policy goal or in grand-strategy as such.
Still, it’s nothing personal. And there’s nothing motivating the U.S that prevents it from betraying the Kurds under conditions when they are ripe. They are not now, and may not be in the context of this conflict.
Finally, rapprochement with Turkey, in the fullest sense the U.S might imagine in terms of restoring relations to 2013 era levels, is probably impossible given changes to Turkey’s relative power and the geostrategic risks which come with NATO membership.