Socialist Worker

Donald Trump backs a Turkish invasion of Syria

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2675

 

Kurdish YPG fighters

Kurdish YPG fighters (Pic: Kurdishstruggle/Flickr)


Donald Trump gave the go-ahead for a Turkish invasion of northern Syria on Monday in another betrayal of the Kurdish people.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted that a cross-border assault was imminent.

Erdogan has been pushing for an invasion because he wants to take out the Kurdish YPG militia.

A presidential statement said the plan was “key to neutralising the threat stemming from Kurdish terrorists”.

The statement added that it would “create the conditions necessary for the return of Syrian refugees to their native country”.

Turkish troops will now move troops into a “safe zone” along the Syrian side of the border. It will mean more Turkish state-sponsored terror for the Kurds, a stateless people who live in parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

And, rather than creating a safe haven for refugees, it will displace more people in a country that has been devastated by seven years of civil war.

In 2012 Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad stoked a sectarian civil war in response to a democratic revolution, pitting people against one another. This helped Isis, a Sunni sectarian group, to take over large swathes of Syria and Iraq.

Influence

The US, Russia and regional powers, such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, intervened in a bid to grow their influence in the Middle East.

The US didn’t feel strong enough to send in ground troops after its defeat in the Iraq war. It bombed and used the Syrian Democratic Forces—which the YPG is part of—as a proxy army.

The US policy infuriated Erdogan because the YPG is closely linked to the PKK, the main Kurdish nationalist group in Turkey.

US imperialism has a long history of using the Kurds—then dropping them when it no longer suits its interests. It will always be a mistake for the Kurds to trust any of the imperial forces in the region.

Trump struck a bargain with Erdogan to withdraw US troops and support for the Kurds in exchange for Turkey suppressing what’s left of Isis.

Guy Verhofstadt of the European Union said the “US decision to abandon the Kurds will likely create greater regional instability”.

Liberal critics of Trump favour an alliance with long-time Western ally Saudi Arabia rather than the more erratic Erdogan.

The aim remains to project Western power, not to side with ordinary Kurds or Arabs’ fight for self-determination or democracy.


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