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Trump, Erdogan and the Kurds: A Mess Is Created

Updated on October 18, 2019
emge profile image

An air warrior, MG has a checkered history and also wields the pen forcefully with two novels and over 100 short stories

Background

The Middle East is like a cauldron over a fire. The entire region follows the Muslim faith but clans, tribes and sectarian groups dominate the scenario.

Part of the problem lies in the Ottoman Empire which is supposed to be the biggest empire in world history and lasted for close to a thousand years. Turkey considers itself as the inheritor of the Ottoman Empire yet the fact is that it is no longer the military power it was. President Erdogan is trying his best to bring the old glory of Turkey back and this is the genesis of the Turkish invasion of the Kurds in Syria.

As is well known after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire the entire region was carved by the British and French and a series of new states created along geometrical lines. This resulted in many ethnic populations being spread across many countries. The Kurds are one such group that is spread over Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. They have been fighting for a separate homeland for many decades.

Entry of America

After the end of World War II, and the collapse of the British and French as imperialist powers, the United States entered the Middle East in a big way. Part of this entry was conditioned by a fear of communist Russia and this lead to the ill-fated Baghdad pact. The Americans moved in a big way into Iraq and bolstered the Saudi regime as a reliable ally. They also put their eggs in the basket of the Shah of Iran but unfortunately, the Shah's regime collapsed like a pack of cards

The Americans were however consistent in their approach in the Middle East. With the rise of ISIS they made it their number one priority to destroy the terror group in Syria and Northern Iraq The Kurds looking for an opening for independence joined the Americans in their fight against ISIS. The US was able to prevail over the Isis with the help of the Kurds.

The Kurds are a tribal sect that is spread over areas in Turkey Syria and Iraq. They have been waging a war against the Turkish Army for many decades. Turkey has vowed to destroy the Kurds and was looking for a way not only to destroy the Kurds but to exert influence on the lines of the Ottoman Empire. The Arabs who were ruled by the Turks for many centuries have been weak and even now they are unable to respond to the aggressive actions of Turkey.

Trump plays his card

This is where the American president Donald Trump comes in the picture. Despite cover-up by the best of supporters of Donald Trump, he appears to people outside the USA as a maverick president who makes a statement and changes it the very next day. In the eyes of most of the world, Donald Trump has to a great extent devalued American prestige all over the world.

The Americans were maintaining a modicum of troops along the border with Turkey. This acted as a deterrent to any Turkish attack. Donald Trump thought it was time to bring the American troops home. Though their numbers were perhaps just 2000 it was a number enough to deter the President of Turkey to attack Syria.

One cannot understand the mental makeup of the American president's mind when he suddenly decided to withdraw the troops from Syria. Obviously there is a catch to this entire story. He was probably scared that Turkey would go out of the orbit of the Americans as president Erdogan has started getting friendly with the Russians. He had also gone ahead and purchased the S400 Missile system from Russia despite opposition from America. In American thinking they thought that in case they did not let Turkey have its way then there was a good chance that Turkey would go into the Russian orbit.

Keeping this in mind Donald Trump took the decision to withdraw American troops. This was the Green Signal to president Erdogan to attack across the border into Syria. Turkey had been waiting for quite some time for this opportunity.

US Betrayel

As the US troops withdrew the Turks put their plan into action. The American President was perhaps not aware of the reaction of the world and opponents in America itself. He was surprised that his decision to withdraw American troops from Syria and open the door to Turkey would have dammed America in the eyes of the world.

He tried to make amends by asking Turkey to have a ceasefire and also announced sanctions against Turkey. This is a half-hearted effort and Erdogan who is a strong man knew that he was sitting on a winning scale. He ignored the sanctions. There was also a letter from Trump asking him to think about the attack and not "behave like a fool."

Erdogan reportedly threw the letter in the dustbin as reported by BBC. Trump compounded matters further by claiming that the Kurds did not deserve to be helped as they were not with the western allies at Normandy. Many people have reminded him that even the Turks were not at Normandy. He has further said that the Kurds are not angels themselves.

All this is very well for political propaganda at home but unfortunately, people all over the world and in America itself feel the American president has done something indefensible. Add to this his recent invitation to the Taliban leaders to come to Camp David shows that the president of America is the wrong man to lead the world's no one power. The tenure of Donald Trump as a US President has resulted in a lowering of American prestige all over the world. The situation in the Middle East is tense and the Kurds have made overtures to President Assad of Syria and he has promised to help them.

Turkey's army is not a great fighting force and they will not be able to bring about complete subjugation of the tribes. The reaction of the US President is a warning to all countries in the world. Countries that have relied on Americans military might to help them like Afghanistan,. have realized that at the right moment a man like Donald Trump will just walk away.

Pandora's box

My thinking is the US president has opened a Pandora's box and is at a loss of what to do next.

One has to realize that the battle in the Middle East has only just begun and the Turks are not going to have a free ride to victory. The damage done by the US President and the sense of righteousness that awaited American actions for almost a hundred years has been destroyed by President Trump in just one move. One hopes that American president will realize his mistake and backtrack but it's too late and the damage is done to American credibility.

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    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      4 months ago from Singapore

      CE Clark,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I really do not know whether Trump is a good thing or bad thing for the world but there is some truth that he is an impulsive man and prone to making decisions without thinking. His antics by first calling the `Taliban for talks to Camp David and then canceling was confusing. His reaction to Iran is also not decisive. He could learn from the way General Ike Eisenhower was president and try and not be partisan in American politics. There is also some truth that he has a Russian connection maybe it could be because of girls but .... despite everything, he is set for a second term. Impeachment? no way!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 months ago from North Texas

      Trump is a total moron. It will be eons before the U.S. can regain the respect it used to enjoy. I doubt it will happen in my lifetime. In the mean time, things are getting worse because so many people here who can't be bothered to learn about what is going on in the world imagine Trump is the second coming of Christ. Anyone who truly knows Christ would never think such a thing much less suggest it.

      Can you believe that some 26% of the U.S. electorate who support Trump actually believe that out of the 7.5 billion or so people in this world, only Trump knows and tells the truth? That Trump alone can be believed about anything?

      He is proof that idiots are easily manipulated and thus the reasoning behind dumbing down our schools and barely teaching anything in them is being done.

      People nowadays in this country don't know so many things and don't want to learn them! Several people have told me they don't want to know various things, and I'm not talking opinion here. Even basic skills are going by the way because people are too lazy to even want to learn anything and so they are setting themselves up for manipulators like Trump.

      I see things going down hill rapidly here in the U.S. and I wonder if this country will ever recover from all the terrible things Trump and his champions have done and continue to do. Some people are so gullible, and they have empowered people who do not have anyone's best interests in mind, let alone those of the American people. Except their own interests, that is.

      Trump & Co. imagine they are feeding their own interests, but I wonder if they really are? I think Putin has these people over a barrel. I believe the Trump gang is so immoral they will take the U.S. down with themselves even as they imagine they are benefitting. Their supporters treat it like a game and they will support the same players, those they consider their "home team," to the end, no matter what. I really think the U.S. is doomed. The corruption has gotten so bad in our government along with the ignorance of so many of the people, that there is no longer even hope that the U.S. will continue to stand.

      With the Republicans in power in our Senate, there is no chance Trump will be convicted of the 2 articles of impeachment he is charged with and therefore removed from office. McConnell will sweep it under the rug and it will be business as usual -- business the Trump/McConnell way, that is.

      Putin installed Trump, and since nothing has been done to prevent it from happening again, Putin will install Trump again next so-called election. Pelosi is fighting against that happening, but in the end I think the Republicans will let him off even if it goes to trial.

      It is a minority that supports Trump, but our system of government is such that the minority will prevail -- especially with Putin on their side. The minority is so uninformed and immoral that Putin can manipulate them through Trump, (Putin) blindfolded and with both hands tied behind his back, etc. The 26% support the immorality.

      We are living in the American Dark Ages.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      7 months ago from Singapore

      Hi Alan

      Thank you for your comment Operation Blue Star took place in 1984 but now most Sikhs feel that it was required. Its old hat now and really does not bother anybody. Incidently, Indira Gandhi paid with her life for this decision.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      7 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      I know you're a Sikh. We had a number of line managers at Royal Mail named Singh. I'm a bit out of date obviously. How long ago was it the Indian army attacked the Sikh temple at Amritsar - during Indira Gandhi's time as PM wasn't it? Thanks for the update anyway. I also knew some of the military higher-ups were Sikhs. What I didn't know was things had settled down since.

      TTFN.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      7 months ago from Singapore

      Alan R Lancaster,

      Your comments are very relevant, as far as the Turks are concerned. Erdogan has his dreams and Trump has played into his hands. However, Alan, you are wrong about the Sikhs in India. They are under no threat and we had a Sikh prime minister and two Army chiefs who were Sikhs. Don't go by the propaganda of some Sikhs in the UK and Canada. I visit the UK often. Most of them are paid by the ISI of Pakistan. Incidentally, I am also a Sikh.

      Thank you, for commenting.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      7 months ago from Singapore

      Lesli,

      Thank you for commenting. Yes, I agree with you. I had been to Kabul last week and the people ( educated ones) asked me what next? Will Trump make a deal with Pakistan and the Taliban. Very likely but I have a strong faith in American resilience and I have a feeling Trump may be sent home. But on can never be sure.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      7 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      As with Sikhs in India, the Kurds have found themselves at odds with those in power in the region. In the case of the Kurds they've found themselves with three potential enemies to the Sikhs' one. The Turks' potential enemy is the US, in that they have overstepped the mark - the invisible line in the sand - and they are NOT the power embodied in the Ottoman Empire. The Ottlomans at the peak of their power and conquests threatened Western Europe in the way an other eastern horde did under Attila. They have/had hopes to join the EU on the basis of the isthmus Istanbul occupies. They've got to be shown by Brussels, if they still cherish that ambition, that their ambitions must be reined in before they completely de-stabilise the region. Because the Trump doesn't seem to want to play his cards.

      Are we going to see an unsettled UK step in to act the 'policeman'? No chance! One, we're too thinly spread; two we suffer from a recruitment drought; and three we're undergoing our own armageddon. Russia has stepped in on Syria's side, I note. Do we want to escalate that? Anyone who thinks 'Perfidious Albion' wants to risk that had better think again. We ain't what we once were. Victoria ("We are not amused!") is no longer on the throne and Parliament doesn't need to try to 'amuse' Elizabeth. She's got enough on her plate as well.

      Anyway, we might see a new Prez in Washington DC before the year is out if Trumpy's impeached. Myself I think he's displayed the onset on Alzheimer's. Any learned opinions out there on Hub Pages?

    • profile image

      Lesli Gonsalves 

      7 months ago

      I am from Sri Lanka and found this article very interesting more so as it is written by an unbiased man who is not American. EMG has correctly articulated the views of the third world on the antics of the US President and in my view has proved that the USA cannot be trusted. God forbid, the way things are going he will be drinking a toast with the Taliban. Men like Gen Ike Eisenhower and Kennedy and others will be turning in their graves. I wonder if Americans realize the damage this man has done to US prestige in the world. Even if there is a ceasefire now, the nest of hornets is let loose and the USA will have to pay a heavy price for this perfidy.

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