Is it the US’s job to protect the 'Kurds'? - YASIN AKTAY

Is it the US’s job to protect the 'Kurds'?

The Daesh threat was the most important reason the U.S. used to justify its presence in Syria. However, according to U.S. President Donald Trump, as that threat has been 100 percent eliminated, it should be time for the U.S. to leave Syria.

Trump earlier this year repeated the same words, and saying that it was nonsense to lose any further U.S. troops, and waste any more time, money and energy in Syria, had stated the U.S. would be withdrawing from the war-torn country. Trump’s statements that he would be pulling out troops from Syria represented the most rational view in terms of the U.S.

As I mentioned in my previous article, it has become difficult today for the U.S. to explain its presence in Syria-- even to its own people. What is interesting though is that the extremely hawkish-looking Trump has best articulated the U.S. public’s feelings in this regard. The CIA and Pentagon, and as a matter of fact, Republican Congress members, have been opposing Trump’s intention to withdraw from Syria since the very beginning. So why are they advocating to continue staying there, if Daesh, which is the reason for U.S. presence in Syria according to Trump, is completely destroyed?

Their apparent justification is to not to leave Democratic Union Party (PYD) elements, which helped them in the war against Daesh, unprotected against Turkey. Of course, we say the PYD, but they just refer to them as “Kurds.” Even the Republicans’ powerful Senator Lindsey Graham uses this discourse.

Yet, the same Graham had in the past accused Democrat Party members and Pentagon officials in a Congress session of cooperating with terrorist organizations and doing wrong against its ally Turkey by supporting the PYD, which is the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that is included in U.S. classifications as a terrorist organization. The context of this change of heart in Graham must be well followed and understood.

Frankly, the U.S.'s mind has never been clear about its presence in and withdrawal from Syria. If we recall, it had first entered Syria to topple dictator Bashar Assad for using nuclear weapons and slaughtering his own people. Just as Assad was a supporter of numerous massacres, crimes against humanity and terrorism, he was also the reason for the existence of the terrorist organizations in Syria that appeared to be fighting against him. Ousting him, paving the way for a new democratic administration in Syria would have been enough to serve the stability of the world.

Yet neither entirely eliminating terrorism, nor ensuring stability in in the region or stopping the bloodshed was important for the U.S. As soon as it entered Syria, it suddenly changed the reason for its presence here. It prioritized fighting against Daesh instead of Assad, and used another terrorist organization as an ally to fight against it.

It continued on a path that further deepened the problems in Syria rather than solve them. Even under the current situation, Assad, who is the true source of the problem, is still the leader despite his enormity and massacres he committed against the same people and all of humanity, but the U.S. is declaring the tragicomic victory of having eliminated Daesh.

We say let it be done and leave, but now the war lobbies in the U.S. are presenting another reason for them to remain in Syria: Protecting the Kurds. From whom? From Turkey. Unbelievable, but it is true.

How did the need to protect Kurds against Turkey arise?

If you are talking about the PYD, Turkey's reaction to them is not because they are Kurdish, but because they are a terrorist organization, and the U.S. is trying to get them to found a new Baathist regime, contrary to the spirit, demographics, history and sociology of the region. The sole outcome of the obligatory mission the U.S. has burdened them with is an ethnic cleansing in about 30 percent of Syria. The Arabs and Kurds in Turkey, Jordan and Iraq that have had to migrate due to PYD oppression are actual witnesses of this. This U.S. policy does not protect Kurds, it is throwing most of them into this ring of fire.

The U.S. discourse to "Protect the Kurds against Turkey" is a completely out of line.

It already contradicts its own practices, but there is no other aim or function to it other than sowing the seeds of disorder between Turkey and Kurds.

Kurds are not a second side for Turkey, they are an inseparable part of Turkey. When a Kurd is in pain, so is a Turk. Another party that may come in between will cause nothing but harm to both Kurds and Turks. Kurds per se are Turkey. Turkey's operation is not against Kurds but the terrorist organization. If the U.S. is talking about protecting Kurds, we need to really understand this simply as "using them."

It means the U.S. will now use Kurds to maintain its presence in Syria and further sustain the instability in Syria in favor of Israel. Because the U.S., which has no sense of loyalty or feeling of protection towards any friend or ally, has no loyalty or compassion to show Kurds.

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