The internet is abuzz with opinion on Trump’s pull-out from Syria, particularly at this crucial moment when Turkey is threatening the lives of thousands of Kurds, who fought with the US to defeat ISIS. Even some of Trump’s staunchest supporters, for example, some Breitbart forum visitors, are calling Trump a traitor.
The question in most people’s minds around the world is: why did Tump do it and why now? Yes, of course, he had sort of promised to get the US out of Syria and other quagmires, notably Afghanistan, but he stayed in for more than half his first term. Many had given up, believing he would never leave. But now that the Kurds, US former allies, need the US the most, poof!, they are gone and the dreaded Turks are rushing in to fill the vacuum. Meanwhile, Trump and Congress are playing the sanctions game, trying to do with financial measures what normally done with guns. And Erdoğan is thumbing his nose at the US, which he sees as a bevy of weaklings.
Stephen Lendman writes:
“On Monday, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said government troops are preparing ‘to confront Turkish aggression on Syrian territory,’ adding:
‘Turkish forces committed massacres against locals, occupied some areas, and destroyed infrastructure.’
“ ‘The Turkish regime forces (and ‘mercenary terrorists’) intensified aerial and artillery bombardment on villages and towns in Hasaka and Raqqa provinces in framework of their aggression on Syrian territory…occupying several towns and villages.’ ”
“On Sunday, SANA cited local sources, saying Turkish terror-bombing killed ‘dozens of people, including foreign journalists,’ adding:
“ ‘A video surfaced showing tens of bodies and injured people, most of them having been mutilated and burned.’ ”
One possible motive for a crafty politician like Trump, as well as his advisers and cronies on the Hill, might be to deliberately pull out at this crucial juncture to conjure up a Turkish-made crisis intended to make the world, especially the Middle East, long for the “good old days” of US occupation. A possible manipulated scenario might find, for example, the Kurds crying for the US to come back and save them.
If that was the motivation behind the untimely pull-out, then it was an egregious error. In fact, the upshot of the American treachery toward the Kurds was that, under the influence of Russian mediation, the Kurds are now finally doing what they should have done from the get go, namely, ally with Assad and Russia and help them apply pressure to force out the US and then Turkey, both of whom were in Syria as illegal trespassers.
But late is better than never, and that is indeed what the Kurds now see themselves obliged to do – or die.
And the irony of it is that now, for the first time, the Kurds are seeing Russia and Syria doing what for years they had hoped in vain that the US would do to protect them.
Indeed, the Russian site avia.pro reports [our translation]:
“An attempt by the Turkish Air Force to strike the headquarters of the Syrian Democratic Forces in Manbij ended in complete failure for the crews of Turkish F-16 fighters. The reason for this was the appearance in the sky of Russian Su-35 fighters, which intercepted Turkish combat aircraft, preventing the latter from completing their missions.
“At the moment, it remains unknown whether the Turkish Air Force fighters were in Syrian airspace, or were flying inside Turkish airspace; however, this indicates that Russian combat aircraft are ready to confront Turkey, which intends not only to invade the territory of the Arab republic, but is also capable of occupying it.”
This was happening even as the same site was reporting elsewhere that Erdogan had claimed that the Turkish incursion into northern Syria was done with Russia’s blessing – an obvious lie. This statement was apparently made to create the impression that Russia had betrayed Assad. But the fact of Russia’s interception of a Turkish fighter jet speaks louder than Erdoğan’s sleazy words.
For those who were worried about the fate of the Kurds, there is now hope, from people who would have been willing to help them from the very outset. Yet, despite this overwhelming proof of Russia’s wisdom and power, we cannot expect the political class in the US to ever stop slandering and sanctioning the Russians, no matter what they do.
And yet, the Russians have gotten used to this abuse. It will run off them like water off a duck’s back and they will just keep trucking along as before, fully confident, aware of what they are doing and where they are headed. Even as the US keeps stumbling along with no clear plan for the future and no moral anchor, like a goofy cat chasing its tail.