Turkey: A message from a Kurd to Americans: Trump has betrayed us all

Mourners attend the funeral of five Syrian Democratic Forces' fighters killed in battles against Turkey-led forces in the flashpoint town of Ras al-Ain along the border, on October 14, 2019 in the Syrian Kurdish town of Qamishli.Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP

Trump has betrayed us all. While Trump claims he will put America First, his Trump Towers in Istanbul are clearly his first priority and America and its allies are not. Every American should know that Trump is betraying your votes by unethically allowing for the displacement of thousands of Kurds who protected American soldiers and who sacrificed 11,000 lives to defend the world from the Islamic State.

Kurds are the largest stateless population in the world. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, new borders were carelessly drawn by the English and French. Every majority population was given their own state, but not the Kurds, whose existence the occupying colonizers decided was not worthy of a state.

They territorially divided approximately thirty million Kurds and split them over Turkey in the north, Iraq in the south, Iran in the east, and Syria, the site of today’s violence, in the west.

One way Trump supposedly puts America first is by pulling US troops out of war zones. While hypothetically a noble cause, this decision to abandon Kurds is both a strategic debacle and shameful betrayal of allies. At the same time, Trump has just deployed about 2,000 troops to Saudi Arabia. His war strategy is based on cash, not patriotism. Neither is he moved by the human casualties he causes. Still more egregious, on Friday American troops came under attack by their trading partner and NATO member Turkey.

Since Trump’s election, Democrats and Republicans have rarely agreed on anything. However, both parties share a deep appreciation for Kurds. The majority of Americans is standing with us, taking to social media to express their sorrow and frustration. Kurds see the difference between Americans and Trump.

On October 6, Trump announced the withdrawal of a couple dozen American troops from northeastern Syria, permitting a Turkish onslaught on the Kurds, displacing thousands of people, and killing dozens of civilians in just eight days, so far. A televised exodus is happening and the world is watching.

Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from northeastern Syria is disastrous for two reasons. It is killing a young, emerging democracy in the Middle East and the most peaceful region of Syria. Moreover, it severely jeopardizes America’s reliability in the eyes of its allies. 

By permitting Turkey’s onslaught on Kurdish lands, America’s is participating in possible ethnic cleansing, the displacement of thousands, and the murder of civilians. “Trump allowed this disaster” will be on the tongues of thirty million Kurds across the world and forever. 

No one wanted the American troops to fight. Their lives weren’t at risk. The only that mattered was their simple presence on the ground in northeastern Syria. They functioned as a guarantee that liberated areas would not be filled by other powers like Russia, Iran, or America’s ally and adversary Turkey. 

America should be first for Americans. But dear Americans, I ask you a question: Do you want America first even if it means shedding the blood of innocent civilians?

And the irony is that, at least this time, America is not first. America is leaving a vacuum for Iran and Russia to fill. America is leaving a prison of ten thousand ISIS fighters unguarded – some have already escaped, high profile criminals among them. 

Equally as worrying, no one knows what America gained in return from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. America has freely given up the gains from a long-fought war. America has lost unless it acts now and quickly to fix what Trump screwed up.

Mohammed Fatih is a masters applicant in ethics and a non-resident fellow at the Kashkul center for arts and culture at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rudaw.


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