On Sunday, Donald Trump handed Syria over to Turkey. This morning, the latter invaded. With many concerned about the Kurdish people caught in the crossfire, more are wondering why he did it.
This morning, Turkey has rolled into Syria, aiming airstrikes and artillery barrages at the (previously US-backed) Kurdish forces in the region. According to The Guardian, the civilian body count is already seven, with the publication referencing video footage that “showed civilians fleeing towns with columns of smoke rising in the background and jet trails visible in the sky”.
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.
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) October 9, 2019
The operation stems from a call between Donald Trump and Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Turks claim that Trump gave them to take the lead in eliminating ISIS from Syria. Later, Trump announced that American troops will withdraw from the region. At home, Trump received bipartisan criticism, later lashing out, saying he is focused on the “BIG PICTURE”, one that does not include US involvement in “stupid endless wars” in the Middle East.
The problem, of course, is history, and the complex manner of the Syria Civil War, which has not raged exclusively between Turkey and Islamic State, but also via proxy, and by local forces fighting beyond the original conflict.
The primary fear is that Turkey will eliminate the Kurdish people, a long-targeted minority who have sought autonomy.
Soon after the bombing commenced, Trump offered a mild rebuke, stating that “…this morning, Turkey, a Nato member, invaded Syria. The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea,” the statement said, before noting: “There are no American soldiers in the area.”
Q: “Are you concerned that Erdoğan will try to wipe out the Kurds?”
President Trump: “I will wipe out his economy if that happens. I’ve already done it once…I hope that he will act rationally.” pic.twitter.com/6t2ghCi3Qr
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 9, 2019
So why did he do it? Esquire has a clue, referencing the words of former US diplomat, Brett McGurk: “He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation. He sends military personnel into harm’s way with no backing. He blusters and then leaves our allies exposed when adversaries call his bluff.”
One side of the argument could be that he is clearly beyond his depth. The other is far worse. The same publication raised a direct quote from Donald Trump, “I have a little conflict of interest (in Turkey) ’cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul,” he said in December of 2015. “It’s a tremendously successful job. It’s called Trump Towers—two towers, instead of one, not the usual one, it’s two.”
— planetdye7 (@Klaus_v_Bommel) October 9, 2019