On Wednesday, Donald Trump dismissed Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria as “not our problem” and insulted Kurdish allies he recently abandoned in Syria as “not angels.”
“The Kurds are much safer right now,” Trump said, despite widespread reports of Kurds being massacred by Turkish forces. “The Kurds know how to fight. As I’ve said, they’re not angels, they’re not angels if you take a look.”
Kurdish forces were American allies for years in the fight against ISIS, although Turkey regards some of the Kurdish forces as aligned with groups it considers terrorists.
Trump’s casual dismissal of Kurdish allies who are facing death and destruction angered even one of his closest allies, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
“If the President did say that Turkey’s invasion is no concern to us I find that to be an outstanding — an astonishing statement which I completely and totally reject,” Graham said, according to NBC News. “All I can say is this is the president’s decision alone, against all advice, against all counsel by Republicans and his national security team,” Graham added.
Trump abruptly announced he would pull American forces out of northern Syria, an area occupied by the Kurds, after an Oct. 6 phone call with the president of Turkey. At the time, the White House seemed to support a planned military operation by Turkey.
Soon after the announcement, Turkey began a military operation, slaughtering the U.S.’s Kurdish allies and allowing hundreds of ISIS prisoners to go free. The humanitarian group Doctors without Borders was forced to leave the area because of the increasing danger.
In the days since the announcement, Trump now claims to oppose the Turkish invasion and announced economic sanctions. Yet the remarks on Wednesday seem to indicate Trump considers the issue to be someone else’s problem.
“The Kurds actually are pulling back substantially from Turkey, and Syria is pulling in,” Trump added. “Syria probably will have a partner of Russia. Whoever they may have, I wish them all a lot of luck.”
Graham issued a statement disagreeing with Trump after he made the statement, saying he “fear[s] this is a complete and utter national security disaster in the making.”
Published with permission of The American Independent.