Betraying the Kurds (Again), and Other News

This is a real tweet:

If others in the region of great wealth are to protect their own territory, why the bleep are we sending troops to protect Saudi Arabia? And I do like the part about “great and unmatched wisdom.”

Also, what’s with the claim that 100% of the “ISIS Caliphate” are captured? According to the Pentgagon, ISIS actually has made a comeback in Syria and Iraq, thanks to Trump.

What’s going on here? Juan Cole:

Trump likes to play imaginary gangsters, likes to talk tough, likes to praise and kowtow before strongmen. But in the real world he is a milquetoast, letting other countries walk all over the United States. …

…The White House itself is now announcing that Turkey is planning to invade the Kurdish-majority region of northern Syria to establish what Ankara calls a “security zone.” This is actually a plan for a monstrous sort of ethnic cleansing and population displacement, as Reese Erlich reported from Istanbul in a syndicated column carried here by Informed Comment.

Trump clearly has signed off on this plan, apparently afraid to take Erdogan on.

From Axios:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accepted an invitation from President Trump to visit the White House next month, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: Erdogan accepted the invitation during a call with Trump in which the Turkish president expressed dissatisfaction over the U.S military’s apparent failure to implement a safe zone agreement in northeast Syria. Erdogan wants the safe zone to be established to eliminate threats from the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which is supported by the U.S. but considered a terrorist organization by Turkey.

The last time Erdogan visited the U.S., Trump let Erdogan’s bodyguards get away with attacking Kurdish protesters. Fifteen of the bodyguards were indicted, but under pressure from the State Department the indictments were dropped.

An Ivanka Trump tweet thanking Erdogan for attending the grand opening of Trump Towers Istanbul has re-surfaced. And let us not forget that “betraying the Kurds” is a recurring pattern of U.S. foreign policy.

For more background, see Trump’s WTF? Foreign Policy, Syria Edition, from December 2018 in the Mahablog archives.

This announcement has seriously riled Senate Republicans, including Trump’s favorite lapdog Miz Lindsey Graham:

In a rare public break with Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham criticized the partial pullout on “Fox & Friends,” saying the “impulsive decision by the president has undone all the gains we’ve made, thrown the region into further chaos.” He added, “I hope I’m making myself clear how shortsighted and irresponsible this decision is in my view.”

Graham, a vocal defender of the president and frequent adviser on matters of foreign policy, predicted the administration’s move would ensure a “comeback” of ISIS, force the Kurds to align themselves with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Iran, damage the relationship between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and Congress, and become “a stain on America’s honor for abandoning the Kurds.”

He also threatened to introduce a Senate resolution opposing the administration’s decision, and accused the White House of being dishonest about the nature of the ISIS threat.

“I don’t know all the details regarding President Trump’s decision in northern Syria,” the South Carolina Republican wrote on Twitter, adding that he was in the process of scheduling a phone call with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and warning: “If press reports are accurate, this is a disaster in the making.”

See also these tweets from Brett McGurk, Trump’s former envoy for the fight against the Islamic State.

The SDF refers to the Syria Democratic Forces, which is led by a mostly Kurdish militia. Basically, all these ISIS prisoners Trump brags about are being held mostly by Kurds, and the stable genius just betrayed the Kurds. See also Donald Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Could Help ISIS Stage Mass Prison Breaks, Experts Say.

Trump did acknowledge that “the Kurds fought with us” against Islamic terrorism, but that they “were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.” So, in Trump’s mind, we have no further obligations to them. And we all know that if Erdogan acts as predicted and begins an ethnic cleansing against the Kurds, Trump won’t do a damn thing to stop him.

In other news: For a brief, shining moment it looked as if we’d finally see Trump’s taxes, when a federal judge ordered Trump to give eight years of tax returns to the Manhattan District Attorney. However, almost immediately an appeals court issued a stay pending a review.

Kuridsh fighters in Syria. Posted to Flickr by Kurdishstruggle,

23 thoughts on “Betraying the Kurds (Again), and Other News

  1. This won't sit well with many in the Army (boots on the ground), with vets who fought in Syria, Afghanistan. or Iraq. They forged relationships with locals. Standing aside to let them be slaughtered by Turkey, who never fought with US troops won't sit well. The Pentagon will also resent being ignored on this. This was a key area of support for Trump – I predict he's shot himself in the foot. Again.

  2. Trump is just the latest in a long history of US betrayals of the Kurds.  And yet they keep trusting us.  

    If we keep doing this, eventually there will be blow back, and it won't be pretty.

  3. Sondland is scheduled to testify tomorrow. Is Trump trying to create a distraction big enough to silence what Trump knows is coming? (I don't know what's coming but Sondland could delay his testimony and he's not trying. Did his lawyer look over the text messages and phone logs and tell the Ambassador he's up to his neck in illegal behavior. If he stonewalls Congress, Sondland will be a defendant instead of a witness,

  4. American presidents going back at least to Nixon have had a difficult time with the realpolitik of Turkish relations, but Trump is operating from a place of impulsiveness compounded by almost total ignorance. If he keeps pulling things like this and attacking Senate Republicans on Twitter, he just might be convicted of House impeachment charges.

  5. He can't afford to lose his Christian Rightwrong base so he's backing off already.


  6. Where are the limits' for the Republicans in the Senate?  I've said that they are completely sold out to Trump, but not everywhere. Does this suggest where the line is? It seems Trump can do anything against a Democrat and at worst, the Republicans in the Senate will look the other way. Mitt was the exception. A few others have gone as far as 'concern'. But it looks like it's open season on Democrats and the electoral process as long as Republicans maintain power.

    That power, as exerted thru regulatory changes. attack human rights, the environment, national parks, sacred Republican principles like the national debt and free trade.  Cricket chirps. On several occasions, Republicans have blocked Trump on Russia (and Trump was ceding Syria to Putin). 

  7. Doesn't Trump have two hotels in Turkey?  I suppose he paid cash.  No other investors.  He ran up a cool Trillion dollars in debt for the US of A last fiscal year.  That is over 3 Grand that every man women and child in the US owes the future that they did not owe last year.  Give that IOU to your kid for Christmas.  Of course it may accrue a little interest. You can wait till later to explain to them that and the compounding and all.  

    Borrowing money is OK.  Use the standard of bottom card cheats and election fixers.   It was a perfect phone call and I have five aces.  Only a stable genius can pull that off.    This is what happens when people elect an expert in bankruptcy as president.




  8. The crazies are piling on….

    Pat Robertson: Trump could risk 'losing the mandate of heaven' with Syria decision

  9. Not to nitpick, but God has infinite wisdom and I think that trumps Trump's claim of having unmatched wisdom. Evidently I don't have much wisdom because I never considered the idea that wisdom could be measured by degrees.

  10. Not to nitpick, but God has infinite wisdom and I think that trumps Trump's claim of having unmatched wisdom. Evidently I don't have much wisdom because I never considered the idea that wisdom could be measured by degrees.

  11. Re the taxes appeal. Katy all systems it is standard. The judge just slapped trumps lawyers down . The appeal us an empty bag.

    We have been afraid trump would panic. What was in the erdogan phone call? Afraid he would start doing crazy stupid things.  Well now you see crazy stupid. 

  12. Krugman's article today in the NYT includes this quote: "In 2012 Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein declared that the central problem of U.S. politics was a G.O.P. that was not just extreme but “dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.” 

    How coincidental that this article appeared on a day when obstruction and cover-up of an impeachment inquiry occured.  Flagrant contempt of congress and dismissive of the legitimacy of the political oppositiion.

    The Education of Fanatical Centrists: Will they finally believe what the G.O.P. has become?  is quite the timely article.  Winston's link is also quite the read.




    • Add Christopher Wylie's ideas to Krugman's, Bernie, and a picture forms about what we're up against. Republicans managed to drag the so-called center far to the right using conventional propaganda and PR techniques. They now have more powerful tools. We'll be finding out where the limits are. Maybe we're lucky Trump is so deficient.

  13. "…in my great and unmatched wisdom…" WADAFUK!?!?!?  You!  You?  YOU!!!!!  YOU.

    You don't have 'unmatched wisdom.'  Your 'wisdom' is 'matched' by things that have zero, null, nothing, 0, nix, no wisdom.

    You have the wisdom of a rock.  A fence.  An outhouse.

    I really hope that they've got people ready with butterfly nets inthe White House, because THIS GUY'S NUCKING FUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Actually, a rock has more wisdom than Trump.  A rock can be anything from a little pebble to a diamond.  Trump can't be anything but what Swami calls him.

      • You mean a big bag of shit?

        They have to bring Lewandowski back to testify under a subpoena. Give him a second chance to show his stuff. What better example to illustrate to the American public that Donald Trump has no intentions of cooperating with an impeachment inquiry.

         Trump commended Lewandowski for his superb performance in defying, and making a Congressional committee appear impotent, but now that pubic interest has grown and impeachment sentiment has shifted it might be beneficial at this time for the public to catch that act again.

  14. There's an episode of "Happy Days" that marked the beginning of the end of the show. Fonzie was waterskiing and "jumped the shark" an incident that was too over-the-top for fans. The show went downhill from there and the incident that potentially marked the decline is still called "when he jumped the shark."

    Somebody can find the still from the show and photoshop Trump's picture. He's finally jumped the shark – twice in the same week. Either might have been fatal separately but together, I do not think Trump can survive.

    The letter yesterday to Pelosi was the second occasion. "You can't impeach me unless I give you permission." mixed with "You're not the boss of me." with some legal mumbo-jumbo that people with law degrees (including Republicans) are discounting. That may go to the USSC – if the case is framed right, it will allow a ruling broad enough that Trump is told he has to fork over ANYTHING the House asks for. That would be a huge gift because Pelosi was trying to limit the scope and the USSC may in a few months give Pelosi the key to anything potentially associated with impeachable offenses. Trump may STILL defy after a USSC decision but even Republicans in the Senate will refuse. At that point, Trump is going against the Constitution, not the Democrats. (IMO, the GOP will allow anything illegal directed at the opposing party, but they resisted the debacle in Syria.)

    Which brings me to the second shark jump – Syria. Trump just gave Syria to Putin. The Kurds will ally themselves with Assad to survive. Even Linsey (nose-up-your-a$$) Graham objected. A major shift in US military policy and Trump consulted neither the Senate nor the Pentagon. The Senate will be considering impeachment with (I predict) clear crimes there. That they would forgive–the crimes are against a Democrat. But Trump is a madman (literally) and he's rampaging without consulting his elders in the Senate. With the primaries behind them and no threat from a wide-eyed Trumpster, a LOT of Republicans are going to wonder about surviving if Independents are shifting radically against Trump. Numerically, The Trumpsters can't vote for the Democrat and the swing group will be Independents.

    Trump's support is sinking now. Much of his mojo is the illusion (Like the Wizzard of Oz) of power. He has power because people believe he has power. That's cracking in the perception of Independents – and it's spreading into GOP voters. Trump had driven out all the conservative handlers who prevented disaster in the first two years. Under the pressure, he's even more erratic and unhinged. (I predict Trump will refuse to debate the Democrat.) He's looking weak and that's the beginning of the end.

    • "Poll: Majority of Americans want Trump probe"

      "The poll finds that, by a margin of 58 percent to 38 percent, Americans say the House was correct to undertake the inquiry. Among all adults, 49 percent say the House should take the more significant step to impeach the president and call for his removal from office. Another 6 percent say they back the start of the inquiry but do not favor removing Trump from office, with the remainder undecided about the president’s ultimate fate."

      Even more telling, "…the degree to which there are defections among Republicans." To wit:

      "Among Republicans, roughly 7 in 10 do not support the inquiry but almost 3 in 10 do, and almost one-fifth of Republicans say they favor a vote recommending his removal."

      "Among the critical voting bloc of independents, support for the impeachment inquiry hits 57 percent, with 49 percent saying the House should vote to remove Trump from office."

      More at the link:

      The Trump/GOP is losing the opinion war, and I believe some of their more outrageous excuses, i.e. he was joking, don't believe your lying eyes when you read the transcript, etc is making it worse.

      Democrats need to keep digging, keep them on their heels and file a lawsuit to force them to hand over documents.  Things will only get worse for Trump as time passes.

  15. Pelosi has to drive home the point that Trump will be impeached, that she has the votes and she's got enough offenses against Trump secured already to implement an impeachment. The purpose being is that it will not only rattle Trump to his core and knock him off his game ( work on his head), but to give the GOP enough time to reconsider whether to cleave to Trump or to jettison him. Let them recalibrate their 2020 election strategy knowing that Trump will be going into that race severely wounded. He's a Jonah.


Comments are closed.