How many times will the US betray these allies?
Turkey's president and Kurdish militia members said Monday that American troops had started withdrawing from positions in northern Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke hours after the White House said U.S. forces in northeast Syria would move aside and clear the way for an expected Turkish incursion into the neighboring nation.
While the U.S. move is a gift to Erdogan's government, it will be seen as a stark betrayal by the Kurds, who have fought alongside U.S. forces for years to defeat ISIS.
The decision was conveyed in a Trump phone call with Turkish autocrat Recep Tayip Erogan.
American troops began withdrawing Monday from their positions along Turkey's border in northeastern Syria, in a major shift in U.S. policy harshly criticized by its Kurdish allies, which came despite Pentagon officials' support for maintaining American presence in the region.
The partial pullout comes ahead of an anticipated Turkish invasion, which U.S. President Donald Trump endorsed in a Sunday phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and that U.S.-backed Kurdish-led forces say will overturn five years of achievements in the battle against the Islamic State group.
"Despite our efforts to avoid any military escalation with Turkey and the flexibility we have shown to move forward in establishing a mechanism for the security of the borders ..., the American forces did not fulfill their commitments and withdrew their forces from the border areas with Turkey," U.S-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which controls most of the area, said in a statement.
David Frum speculates:
Possible Trump motives— David Frum (@davidfrum) October 7, 2019
1) Protecting income flow from Trump Towers Istanbul
2) Payoff to Turkey to cover up recording of Khashoggi murder by Trump allies
3) Obeisance to Putin
4) Warning to House: if you impeach me, Ill burn every American alliance and interest before I go
Kristol weighs in:
With the betrayal of the Kurds and Trump's full-on America First tweet storm this morning, is there a single principled internationalist, a single believer in American global leadership somewhere in the Trump Administration who will resign in protest?— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 7, 2019