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The Kurds: Another Costly Betrayal

©2019 by Jonathan Dobrer

While many are rightfully focusing on Trump’s scandal concerning Ukraine, there’s an even clearer betrayal of our fundamental values and of Presidential duties to the Constitution.

The Ukraine question concerns Trump’s public versus private purpose. And while a corrupt purpose is impeachable, there’s a greater and longer enduring sin right before our eyes: His betrayal of the Kurds. After they fought for us, after they won the physical war against ISIS, after he’d called them our friends and allies and a “Great people, whom we would always support,” he left them twisting in the wind and subject to the tender mercies of Erdogan’s Turkey.

Why, after so many promises, did he abandon these “great people” and allies? Why did he fall in line with a long and bi-partisan history of America breaking promises that left friends to die? From Eisenhower encouraging East Germans to revolt in the 50s, then not sending help when they did, to his later abandonment of the Hungarians when they rebelled against their Soviet masters, from JFK supporting only verbally a Cuban revolt, to Nixon encouraging then forsaking Dubcec and the Czech Spring, our word has not been our bond. We’ve abandoned people who worked for us in Vietnam and left aids and translators in Afghanistan behind to die.

Trump is inline with a long line of promise-breakers. This will prove more costly today than in the past. With mass media and instant world-wide communications, our perfidy is no secret but known to all: friend, foe or on the fence. Even in Israel, that all but worships Trump and has named streets, squares and a village after him, the papers are filled with questions and doubts concerning his true fidelity to his spoken commitments. In this case, Israel is not alone in wondering and doubting.

So, who are the Kurds? Before the Ottoman Empire they were a powerful ethnic group, vitally important to Islam. The great hero of Islam, Saladin, was a Kurd, not an Arab. But under the Ottoman Turks, the role of and respect for Kurds was greatly diminished. They were persecuted and betrayed by nearly all.

Though mostly Sunni, there are also some Shiite Kurds, as well as Christian and even, once upon a time, Jewish Kurds. So why this enmity from Turkey? Because the Kurds want a homeland; they want to govern themselves and not live under Turkey, Iraq or Syrian control. Their fight not necessarily for independence but autonomy has led to escalating violence in Turkey. There’s blood on all hands, as there inevitably is when people fight for self-government.

So why is Trump breaking our country’s promise to protect them in exchange for their having born the brunt of the fight against ISIS? Trump says that it’s not a broken promise since he didn’t personally make it; the previous government did. This raises the question if we really want all presidential commitments to sunset when the president leaves office? Probably not.

Trump also rationalizes that they didn’t help us during the Normandy Invasion. This is, of course, both completely true and irrelevant. Where was Norway at Concord or England at the Little Big Horn? And just where the hell was Russia at the Battle of Gettysburg? This is all nonsense.

So why did Trump unilaterally Tweet that he would withdraw American troops that were protecting our friends, the Kurds, from our other friends, the Turks? The answer might be simple and corrupt. Start by following the money. The oil is in the north of Syria and Iraq. Turkey wants it, and Trump admires Erdogan. But there’s likely more.

The scandal in the Ukraine often portrays Trump as a God Father saying to Zelensky “You got a nice military aid package there; would be a shame if something was to happen to it.” I know some want to portray Trump as Don Corleone (without the charm) but he may be closer to Fredo, the weak brother. It’s fair to ask what Erdogan has on Trump. It’s fair because Trump brought it up and answered it himself!

He revealed, in an interview in 2015, that he had conflicts of interest with Turkey because of his “beautiful Trump Tower in Istanbul.” Could it be that it was Erdogan who said, “You got a nice revenue-generating property (by licensing agreement) in Turkey; would be a shame if something was to happen to it?”

Would Trump literally sell out an ally? The question answers itself.

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