Turkey Launches Offensive Against U.S.-Backed Syrian Militia

President Trump condemned the attack on the Kurdish-led militia, which began days after he had greenlighted it.

Comments: 234

  1. Any other president would see that diplomacy is needed to prevent the Turks from attacking the Kurds. It’s possible for the US to withdraw, but there needs to be a deal in place. If only our great deal maker could make one.

  2. Is this how the US treats it’s allies? The president did not think past his slogan of no more endles wars to consider that Turkey, who despised the Kurds, would react. They’ve done exactly what they said they would do if given a chance and they are succeeding. We will not have a friend left after Trump.

  3. @Marian Passidomo “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests” ― Henry Kissinger I'm sorry, that's just the way it is and has always been

  4. @luis this move is not in the best interests of the USA, either strategically or diplomatically.

  5. @luis And precisely how does destroying our honor, and any possibility of ever finding allies again, serve our interests?

  6. President Trump has left our allies - the Kurds - on the precipice of a humanitarian disaster in a scene that will make the evacuation of Vietnam look glorious by comparison. He needs to act NOW - this morning - to prevent this from happening.

  7. Need to remove Turkey from NATO and remove U.S. Air Force from Incirlik Air Base. Already expelled from F-35 program there is no Alliance here.

  8. @James mCowan Trump has a tower in Turkey. The alliance is alive and well in his mind. This is the sad state of our foreign policy today.

  9. @James mCowan So you prefer Kurds who are basically mercenaries over a sovereign Nato member country who stood side by side with us during Korean conflict and Cold war?

  10. You would have figured that the Kurds would have long ago realized America is not a reliable partner. Either way, America shouldn't be meddling in the Middle East at all. Ask yourself this -- do you want your son or daughter to go fight and die over who gets to control northern Syria?

  11. @CJ Having a son in the military: I would like the US to protect the forces they fight next to. I worry more about his safety when we abandon our allies.

  12. @CJ Having a son in the military: I would like the US to protect the forces they fight next to. I worry more about his safety when we abandon our allies. I think the resurgence of ISIS is very real and a global threat. I don’t want my son to fight a or die anywhere, but I think that northerlies Syria is possibly one of the most important places in the world to secure.

  13. @CJ We are there to defeat ISIS , a threat to our homeland , remember 9/11 perpetrated by radicals from Saudi Arabia. ISIS is based on the same evil ideology The Kurds gave their lives to protect us , 12000 of them . Do you not think the parents of those brave souls also feared for them. The one place in the Middle East we should totally disengage from is Saudi Arabia but we arm them so they can murder innocent people in Yemen. What Saudi Arabia has done to deserve our support is beyond my understanding

  14. Shame on every single Republican who support the man who would do this. Every single one is responsible for this atrocity.

  15. @Suzanne Moniz Shame on every American who voted for Trump in 2016

  16. @Alp Yes, Obama policy in Syria is responsible for defeating ISIS. Trump just continued it. Now he wants to leave a mess behind.

  17. @Alp Not true. It was McCain and the Republican controlled Congress that armed the Kurds.

  18. “Scattered reports that Turkish troops were already entering Turkey early Wednesday were quickly shot down by Turkey” I think you left out a Syria there...

  19. @Small Paul - The reports were shot down, not the troops.

  20. @Suzanne Moniz Well,France 24 had video of somethingnthat sure looked like an invasion. Then they were reporting air raids

  21. I believe the Senate Intelligence Committee should investigate how this Trump "policy" decision came about. There is universal revulsion at Trump's unilateral move. Abandoning our allies to slaughter on the field. And, what would result in the release of over 10,000 ISIS fighters to ply their "craft" across there Middle East, Europe and even the US. We need to understand how and why Trump thought this was a good idea. Whose interests are being served by this? The Senate Intelligence Committee needs to exercise its oversight responsibility and check into this. This may be more serious than even the Ukraine incident. It could be a complete sell out of our country's interests and security. The definition of treason. If the Senate Intelligence Committee doesn't want to investigate this, then the House Committee should add it to their impeachment investigation and start by getting a subpoena for the transcript of the Trump/Erdogen phone call.

  22. @AACNY It's called throwing your friend and ally under the bus regardless of how long this has been Trump's "policy". Real Americans don't do that.

  23. agency @AACNY Yes, this has been Trump's policy for awhile. Up until now, his instincts on this have been controlled by earlier National Security Advisors, Intelligence Agency analyses, Military Advisors, and Senate allies. What is rash, is that Trump unilaterally made this move now, anyway. It begs the question: Why is he doing this and who really benefits from the move? Trump's action is pernicious. It's important for us to understand why. Who benefits?

  24. @rlkinny "We need to understand how and why Trump thought this was a good idea." It's obvious. Now the media won't be focused on the House's investigation into Trumpy's political corruption...

  25. The US military has over 1 million men and women in uniform. They stationed 1,000 troops (0.1%) in Syria in mostly noncombat roles. Their official role was training and advising, but their more important role was to protect our Kurdish allies from attack by Turkey since a Turkish attack would be an attack on American troops. It worked well and cost almost nothing. Make no mistake, the Kurds have been vital allies. President Trump likes to brag that "we" beat ISIS. (ISIS only lost their caliphate, the land that the held, but is still very much a threat to the world through their terrorist network.) However, American made airstrikes against ISIS targets, but it was the Kurds who fought and won on the ground. The Kurds "reward" for allying with us is to be abandoned to the Turks by the ever-impulsive Trump. Without the Kurds, we can expect ISIS to rise again. Russia, Iran and Bashar al-Assad of Syria will also have reason to celebrate. We can expect that what few allies Trump has left us will have even less faith in our loyalty since, what Trump is doing to the Kurds, he is likely to do to them.

  26. 1000 troops is a small number. Each one of those troops has a family- and to their family they are not just a number. I commend you for your service. I commend you more for sending your kids to Syria. Your family is sacrificing for this cause- you should be proud. Too many think of our soldiers as toys on a board game.

  27. We have no allies left.

  28. Over 11,000 Kurdish soldiers died defeating ISIS and another 20,000 were injured, while the US forces were generally not involved in direct combat but provided logistical and intelligence support. The 1,000 US personnel at observation posts were basically a shield which the Turkish military could not risk over running without provoking a disastrous retaliation from the US. Turkey once enjoyed heavy investment from European countries as a manufacturing center but that is now unwinding as Erdogan aligns with Russia's game in the Middle East. The once stable, secular ally of the US is heading toward a crisis that only adds to regional instability. Trump's precipitous response to a phone call with Erdogan and unhinged statements are oddly timed, given the degree of opposition he faces from every direction.

  29. Trumps decision is so contrary to US principles that it appears entirely likely that he is allowing the invasion of Kurdish territory under the auspices of foreign interests. That along with his defiance of Congress which came to a climax yesterday in the letter stating that the White House would not cooperate with the investigation means that there is a coup using Trump as a vehicle. It is now time for Congress to work together to counteract this threat.

  30. @Denis Among many Trump advisers, from Pentagon, Congress, his administration and foreign leaders, Putin and Erdogan are the one who have his ear.

  31. “Turkey has no ambition in northeastern Syria except to neutralize a longstanding threat against Turkish citizens and to liberate the local population from the yoke of armed thugs,” he wrote. Aren't many of these so called rebels also Turkish citizens and isn't that the real reason that Erdogan want to eliminate them? From what I've read the Kurds just wanted recognition withing Turkey and some autonomy in which Erdogan absolutely rejects. The Kurds are not only rebels, they are freedom fighters in which this country not only should understand but should wholeheartedly support. Trump in his self centered reelection zeal has not only let down one of our few remaining allies in Syria, but also let down the spirit of what makes this country different than the rest of the world.

  32. Our allies, potential allies, and enemies will all surely take note. The promises of America under Trump's rule are like words written on water.

  33. Until Senator Graham sees to it that Congress removes this perfidious President, Turkey has a greenlight and can comfortably ignore the liddle' misgivings, grievances and grumblings from toothless malcontent underlings. Instead Turkey might inspire the American President to invade Mexico to establish a 40 to 100 mile military occupation zone on the Mexican side of the border to protect the border (and the lasting purity of pathetic symbols of American racial and cultural self-identification like the gun, the Wall, and the berder, pretend protecting and preserving the so-called beleaguered majority revering them by cruelly cracking down on refugees and asylum seekers, in doing so depriving that very same identity of a soul steeped in humanity). I like the Twitter of Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL from late 2015 till 2019, resigning in sync with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. It casts a revealing and merciless light on the breathtaking failures and betrayal of American diplomacy and trust building here. The Kurds not only volunteered to incur heavy sacrifices to fight Isis for us. They heroically saved the lives of 40,000 beleaguered Yazidis that Isis was on the brink of capturing, torturing, raping, and slaughtering. They deserve that the coalition against Isis stands with them in return, in deep gratitude. This President speaks of loyalty often. Here is a good instance where he can prove and demonstrate what it means.

  34. @Pro(at)Aging Loyalty to Trump is a one-way street. But you knew that. We are a shameful nation under this charlatan. We have proven our alliances mean nothing. Soon there will no longer be allies. Meanwhile Russia continues to grow its influence throughout the ME and Africa. Putin's gambit in 2016 is working out better than he could have ever hoped for.

  35. The president is putting our allies, the allies that faithfully and courageously assisted us in fighting terrorism, in harms way. He is stepping away from the promises we made to them, he is setting them up to be slaughtered by the Turks. This “president” is dishonouring our nation, disrespecting our allies by abandoning them. He is again siding with a dictator, he has again made an incompetent decision that that will harm our nation for years to come.

  36. Which allies are being abandoned? The Kurds or The Turks? This issue is of a far greater complexity. Trump tweets do not help - in fact have been proven to incite violence - but the real issue is a tribal violent hatred that exists as a way of life in the Middle East. People, we by a majority dislike Trump, but let us not think that we are the solution to Peace in the Middle East. That concept is arrogant and laughable.

  37. @Bradley Stein "let us not think that we are the solution to Peace in the Middle East. That concept is arrogant and laughable." Right...Jared's in charge of that. Seems to be going quite well, doesn't it? I have more qualifications to address solutions to peace in the Middle East than Jared so I think the thoughts and strategies of the Times' comment section hold just as much merit as anything this "Administration" is likely to come up with.

  38. Trump loves to brag that we defeated Isis! What he fails to say is that the Kurds defeated Isis at a very heavy cost in death and injury.These are the Kurds which Trump is now abandoning to the Turks who want to destroy them.The Kurds are guarding the Isis prisoners-with the Kurds gone the Isis terrorists will be released and the hard won victory will be reversed.Mr.Trump , at the very least, will no longer be able to say we defeated Isis.!

  39. @JANET MICHAEL But Trump will continue to say that he defeated ISIS and keeps us safe and all of those Fox friends, attendees at rallies and people who post here to defend every one of his criminal and treasonous acts will cheer loud and long. They will applaud every lie and scream that any criticism is hate speech and fake news.

  40. And a Trump just rewarded Turkey with a presidential visit.

  41. Trump should go to trial for treason. Not only he just produced an “executive order” for death penalty for so many Kurds but he is playing to favor Putin’s geopolitical interests which are the opposite of ours. What does Putin have on Trump?

  42. @Aurace Rengifo could it be possible as conspiracy theories go that Russia put trump in power? It looks like a real possibility.

  43. @Codie Yesterday’s Senate Intelligence Committee report tends to indicate it is far from a conspiracy theory.

  44. Trump announced loudly and clearly in Helsinki in whose interests he is acting. Since then, the GOP have enabled him to grab power and destroy the accepted norms and ethics of our government. It makes me enraged at how long this megalomaniac was permitted to con the American public, the legislature, and all of our valuable allies. Now we have this: a demented God-King with "great and unmatched wisdom" who has swaddled himself in a cabinet of sycophants without ANY experience or expertise, who is making shameful and dangerous unilateral decisions - and those decisions are not based on anything he may have picked up in those silly Presidential Daily Briefings, but rather based on another shady phone conversation with a dictator The GOP deserves nothing but shame and infamy for propping up this national embarrassment. If Trump is not removed from office via conviction in the Senate, the results of the 2020 election will forever be in doubt because of Trump's corruption, and should he get voted out he has hinted several times at not going quietly. The GOP disgusts me, and I can't imagine what payoff would be worth selling the very soul of one's country.

  45. Is is possible trump is advancing Russian interests to get the Kurds out if the way so Russian backed Syrians can take back the area? This president is Putin’s puppet.

  46. @Joseph And then the GOPers cry about Socialism... when there is a president working as well as a Russian agent could...

  47. @Joseph Russia and Putin seem to have some hold over Trump. I wonder what the basis of that hold is ? Trump is most certainly Putin's puppet.

  48. The article asserts that a Turkish invasion would pit two United States allies against each other. The Kurds have clearly been our allies against ISIS, but in what way during this century has Turkey been an ally in any meaningful way?

  49. @Nelle Maybe the all encompassing question should be "in what way during this century has Russia been an ally?"

  50. @Nelle Turkey is a member of NATO. But that's about it.

  51. @Codie Russia fought on *our* side in WWII Does that count. ?

  52. President Trump is once again serving at Vladimir Putin’s beck and call. Having the US entirely out of Syria leaves Russia in control there. Just a few years back, as the US was struggling with the Syrian chemical weapons issue and ISIS, Russia unilaterally decided to drop in to “help.” Instead, they did little to contain ISIS and instead helped Assad fight off a rebellion and commit atrocities, driving large numbers of refugees into Western Europe, destabilizing internal politics in European countries, as well as EU and NATO alliances. (Brexit, anyone?) Now this latest development will pit NATO ally Turkey against our apparently former ally, the Kurds in Syria. The bloodshed will likely be horrific, once again straining US and European relations with Turkey, further destabilizing NATO. The only beneficiary to all this is Russia. Coupled with Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, we see a US President not only subverting US policies to his personal political interests, but absolutely serving Russian interests first and foremost. President Trump’s actions are traitorous. They are likely to go further in that direction as impeachment looms and Putin calls in favors and demands results before Trump is either removed or voted out of office.

  53. This move by the president is not based on ignorance; behind it, somewhere, is a profit motive of personal interest. How horrific is that?

  54. @Steve Don't forget the other motive of keeping his boss happy. This does nothing but serve Putin's interests in the region. In fact, there are very few actions Trump has taken as "president" that have not served Putin's interests. Curious, isn't it?

  55. @Steve Yup. I'm seeing a Trump hotel in Northern Syria ...

  56. @Steve 100% correct

  57. Trump announced his shameful withdrawal after the phone call, but who knows for how long he's been preparing to this? Erdogen has been waiting for the opportunity to pounce - preparing for it - doubtless he has been mulling over the timing with Putin - possibly Trump was lately give the signal to proceed. A terrifying scenario.

  58. The Trump Doctrine: “The enemy of our friend is our friend.” Good luck with that moving forward...

  59. Since Trump is doing Russia's bidding here, here's a novel idea: the French, German, and other NATO members should fly in troops immediately to shield the Kurds. I do not mention the UK since it is also, like the US, a proxy state of Russia.

  60. Indeed, this could be the seed for a new EU security alliance which could well replace NATO , which has utterly lost its purpose.

  61. This is a terrible move on the part of the US. The Kurds are great fighters who have helped immensely in the fights agains the Taliban and Isis. We didn't reward them with the return of their territory in Iraq (as we should have) to avoid annoying Turkey, and now we give Turkey the green light to hunt them down? If the world's trust in the US hasn't already been broken...

  62. Erdogan may be coaching Trump on how to impose authoritarian rule and survive a coupe against his presidency.

  63. Maybe this is an opportunity for the Kurds. Turkey probably can't displace them militarily and they will be able to show leadership while working to resettle the displaced Syrians from Turkey. The Kurds could show leadership by offering stability and providing supplies and opportunities to the displaced.

  64. @David Spitzley Actually the really BIG problem is the thousands of supposed 'captured' enemy combatants being supposedly 'held' in camps that would be supposedly become the responsibility of who? when the US leaves. I imagine the story would go something like this: In the confusion, the camps were left unguarded and the enemy combatants simply left.

  65. @David Spitzley The Kurds will be attacked by Turkey. How is this an "opportunity" for them?

  66. @David Spitzley, you make it sound like the Kurds are gunning for a promotion at work.

  67. The members of NATO (with the obvious exception of the U.S.) needs to IMMEDIATELY proceed to remove Turkey from the alliance. They are not our allies. Universal sanctions should follow.

  68. This raises the serious question of U.S. membership in NATO. We abandoned an ally and allowed—encouraged—a tragic slaughter. Turkey is no more to blame than the United States of America.

  69. @Scott J. You say "They (Turkey) are not our allies". Agreed, but "they" (Edogan) ARE Trumps ally.

  70. @Scott J.: The US has two major Air Force bases in Turkey, both of which, especially Incirlik, has had an outsized role in US military operations in the Middle East. Ousting Turkey from NATO would not only likely eliminate our access to this base, but it would drive Turkey closer to a Russian military alliance, like Syria. When you have two fighting children in your family, you don't tell them to kill each other if that's what they want to do (Trump's policy) or kick one of them out of the family (your recommendation). You separate them, talk to them, mediate between them, do what you need to do to get them past their argument.

  71. President Erdogan could have had peace with the Kurds. There was a time when his policy reflected this fact. The drastic change in that policy is one of many reasons to question current statements by the Turkish government about Turkey's supposedly very limited intentions in Syria. It's quite understandable that President Erdogan's ostentatious Ottoman nostalgia worries many people in both Syria and Iraq.

  72. It should be abundantly clear that Erdogan's Turkey is not our ally anymore. They are with Putin's Russia. Let's get those abandon our bases there and be ready to fight the Turks if we must. The Kurds have been our allies for decades. Turkey's claim to their land is merely another attempt to bring back the glory days of the Ottoman empire.

  73. What about the Kurds in Turkey? Much criticism of Trump in the last few days but little mention of the Kurds in Turkey. Since the late 70s, the latter (who account for 15%-20% of that country’s population) have been in conflict with the Turkish Government, such that 4,000 villages have been destroyed and 40,000 killed. If – as many are pointing out – the Kurds are our allies, why aren’t we supporting them in their conflict with the Turkish Government? The US wants to cherry pick, Right or wrong, the Turkish Government doesn’t have that luxury and wants to create a 20 mile "no-go" zone on the other side of its border with Syria to weaken Kurdish action inside Turkey.

  74. @Mike Edwards Mike so far Turkish Governmet and PKK conflict has more than 50.000 dead. they are not only Kurds, They are Turkish soldiers and security officers too. 4000 villages erased from the map, as a Ultra nationalist recipe for separatist movement ( this was a recipe since ottoman time used , Originated by German military consultants pre WWI and WWI to eliminate Minorities a.k.a Armenian genocide, Ambassador Morgenthau states that it was the prelude of Holocaust idea first implemented in Turkey by German generals) that play book was used in turkey many times. Todays political developments , Kurdish Minority in Turkey doesn't have any chance to get their full autonomy, there was a flirtation in late 1990's early 2000's but Once Putin doctrine accepted by surrounding leaders , we are back to square one. Any more EU values is not in peoples mind. Erdogan is following Putin footsteps. AS you stated correctly, Turkey unofficially but de facto accepts Iraq Kurdistan as a Kurdish land but that is all no other place given to Kurds. There fore Northern Syrian Kurds doesn't have future an establishment, Turkey wants Kurds if they want to live in Kurdish place , go Iraq Kurdistan. That is pretty Iran, Turkey and Syria's only consensus. USA knows this very well too. The best thing US can do , bring exiled Kurds in Iraq and Syria to USA as a refugee, That will be appreciation. Do not forget Iraq Kurds .

  75. Trump Towers Istanbul anyone? Whose interests is Trump representing in his dealings with Turkey ? What did he say in his conversation with Erdogan that prompted this sudden change of U.S. policy towards an ally?

  76. The religious right, and the rest of us, should come to realize that the election of a president with no moral compass delivers to us and the world a president with no moral compass. So tomorrow Kurds, who were fighting along side our troops, will die following a sudden and purely transactional decision. Yesterday, and continuing, the Yemini, today the Kurds. Who will suffer tomorrow?

  77. This was a campaign promise to his base in the US and Russia. Once again, T. Is inviting foreign powers to participate in our election process.

  78. Not only will the Turks attempt to annihilate, as of last week, former allies, but they will do it with weapons provided by us. Our policy in the Middle East seems to be make a mess and take no responsibility for it leaving our power and credibility weakened.

  79. It baffles me how anyone can believe the media claim of 'friendship' when the entire concept of the war on ISIS was to draw the Kurds out into battle as proxies for western goals. The entire war can be summed up in one sentence: Autonomous Kurdistan's stated desire for independence from IRAQ had to be subsumed into war so the western interests now in control of IRAQ would have no opposition as to the oil fields uses.

  80. Trump is doing exactly what Putin wants him to do and all the G.O.P. members that back Trump up are also working for Russia.

  81. The map is helpful in grasoing why the Turks wasn control at those points. Ras al Ain and Tell Abiad, are on the border, with the latter North of All Raqqah. It is also understandable that Turkey wants to defeat PKK which has engaged in terrorist acts against the present government. ANY government is going to go after those intent on bringing it down. Plus the US has always danced carefully with Turkey, as an ally, but one that never totally shared US goals. The Kurds are always in a vise grip, as a minority group in several mideast nations which do not respect or protect minorities. They cooperated with the US against Al Quaida - it was in their interests, but I think there was also an assumption that this obligated the US to help them achieve autonomy in their own state. Trump's handing of this is clumsy and as usual, ignorant and without any compunction about harm to human beings. I don't know if this is another insoluble Middle east rivalry that goes back centuries, but simply announcing that we were out was irresonsible and cements views in that areas that we are fickle and good only for supplying arms.

  82. Is this surprising? Trump has historically abandoned wives, friends and business partners, colleagues and staff when he feels they are no longer useful or he could benefit more elsewhere. His list of former supporters grows hourly. He is the political equivalent of Borderline Personality Disorder.

  83. Many American soldiers returned home safely after fighting ISIS because they were partnered with Kurdish fighters. Our president, whom many Americans believe may have betrayed our country for personal gain, has given Erdogan "permission" to attack the Kurds. He did it in a phone call and apparently without notification to anyone else in our government with the exception of the dangerous, unstable men he has surrounded himself with. He did it as part of a wider conspiracy to circumvent congress and disrupt our government in order to benefit himself. If Erdogan is allowed to proceed the blood of many Kurds will be on the hands of the Trump administration. If that occurs I believe the Trump administration should be branded as war criminals and prosecuted to the full extent of international law.

  84. This is what we get by backing both sides on a war. Eventually both would confront each other. Reminds me of Bananas with Woody Allen, the scene where the CIA sends soldiers on a plane, one side fights for the government, one against, whichever wins we win. Do we back NATO (Turkey is a NATO member)? Or do we back the Kurds? We could simply stop selling weapons to both sides and watch them hurl stones at each other. It’s obvious that all along our troops in country fighting ISIS were all that stood between these two groups killing each other. How long do we have to continue baby sitting Middle East people so they do not murder one another?

  85. Now Lindsay is making US foreign policy! How many Congressmen/women and Senators are there? Look forward to each one setting their own “foreign policy.” Finally we shall have clarity! Relax world, we got this.

  86. @AJ, remember when these 'patriots' went to Iran and actually told the Ayatollahs not to believe the American president? They bragged about it. Stand behind their nation? Now, with trump at the helm of this ship, they set course for......Russia. Boy, republicans sure do have some strange ideas about patriotism. And they sure do have strange hypocritical morality for trump, completely different from the high standards they demand of Democrats. Right is right; it's not 'political correctness' to see what the constitution says, and it's not that difficult to know when a man is lying. trump supporters are deeply into a tribal mentality where 'kill the beast!' is directed toward the posse, not the beast.

  87. This is nothing new. The past history, amply documented in press, shows that Trump's words should never be trusted. This draft dodger posing as a military genius (his self description) is back-stabbing his long term faithful allies , the Kurds, without which the ISIS would be still in Syria. He does what he did with the workers whom he refused to pay after they worked on his properties or with Americans in the government whom he fired when they were not needed. However, the Kurds are fierce fighter and when invaded by Erdogan, Trump's another tyrannical role model, will fight. We are facing another humanitarian catastrophe, like the genocide of Armenians by Turkey last century. This time, we, American taxpayers, will foot the bill.

  88. Surely, the brave and heroic GOP patriots in the Senate will over- rule Trump’s sell out of the Kurds?

  89. @proffexpert It’s too late for that. Moscow Mitch blubbered and did nothing, as did Graham.

  90. @Bashh You are correct. And “blubbered” is the perfect verb for Moscow Mitch.

  91. There's more to this than meets the eye. Trump's betrayal of the Kurds and his setting the stage for an ISIS revival is not simply the product of a phone call with Erdogan or some conviction that we must withdraw from foreign military commitments. Trump only acts in his own self-interest. Like Putin, Erdogan likely has leverage on Trump that could prove financially or politically damaging. He (and perhaps Putin as well) used that leverage to force our weak president to yet again do something weak and damaging to our security.

  92. Do nothing Congress. Remember bought those weapons from Russia? Congress even Republicans got all upset and threatened to sanction Turkey THEN but nothing happened. If we don't push our elected members of the Senate and the House then they will let this slide also. This decision and phone call of Trump's needs investigation and quick action by Congress! Call them now!

  93. Does anyone think that there will be any indigenous group that will ally themselves with America after this betrayal of the Kurds?

  94. Trump- The “dictator to be” of American. Complete disregard for the Constitution, total disregard for Rule of Law, total disregard for Allies. Now on a mission to begin investigating any and all who disagree with or oppose him, to the extend of extorting complicity from our Allies. If he is not stopped now, we are all doomed. Does anyone really believe he would even accept the results of an election that was not in his favor? I firmly believe, and never would have imagined this possible 4 short years ago, This Country is on perilous grounds under this administration. Presently, our only hope is in the hands of The House Democrats. God give them the strength and wisdom to prevail.

  95. Once again Trump takes the side of the dictator autocrat. Looked at in one perspective, all of his actions in foreign affairs have good outcomes for Russia, at high costs to our allies and us. A nuclear armed North Korea threatens China, a potential threat to Russia on its border, an unarmed Ukraine makes it vulnerable to Russian invasion, and now a destroyed Kurd Republic makes it easy for Turkey, and Iran, to disrupt the Middle East, making Russia's oil more valuable. Trump is clearly working in Putin's best interests, certainly not ours.

  96. This is what trump has created: war on our allies and death to their people. He has no clue on how to run international diplomacy and keep us safe; the armed services and military are an extension if international diplomacy and are used in areas of the world that only understand armed force or require a police force to maintain peace and our interests abroad. Trump is clueless when it comes to this and now has opened up a floodgate of Turkish oppression and death. Do you feel safer today than yesterday?

  97. Another Impeachable offense? The House needs to Impeach and Impeach and Impeach. Make the Senate vote over and over again. If the republicans are against this then impeach on it and see how they vote.

  98. Who benefits from the US abandoning the Kurds? In no particular order, this move helps Putin, Erdogan, and ISIS. Our foreign policy now consists of supporting two brutal dictators and a terrorist organization committed to our destruction? I really cannot follow the “logic” in Trump’s decision-making here.

  99. @Ed Martin The military / industrial / law enforcement complex. We will still send them arms, but you won't hear about it. It's why certain silent congressmen suddenly dared to criticize Der Trumpf. There's BILLIONS to be made selling guns and ammunitions, and you can rest assured if Republicans are up in arms opposing something like this, something that under Obama they vehemently insisted to not get involved in, there can be no other explanation.

  100. @Ed Martin I heard that Trump talked to the leader of Turkey. My guess is he chose a different path instead of groveling he was angry and gas-lit Trump. Trump must be removed. Republicans this is your chance. Best do it fast.

  101. @Ed Martin Actually, USA have always supported terrorist organizations. Talibans? Trained by the CIA. Saddam Hussein? Help from USA. Contra rebels in Nicaragua? Armed and supported by the USA. Italian right wing extremists during the Years of Lead? Weaponized by USA. Al-Quaeda, the people who made 9/11 a date to remember for all times, also was supported by USA. Los Pepes in Colombia? Supported by USA. The reports of ISIL and, guess what, support from USA in ISILs early days was not fake either. So, USA supporting terrorist groups, calling them terrorists when talking publicly but at the same time providing financial support, training, weapons, and other logistical support to them have never been a problem to the USA. It has become a part of the foundation of the country. Solution? Stop voting for people with more money in their wallet than you have!

  102. The Great Betrayal. The Kurds are a brave and tragic people that I have always admired. Their peoples are spread in Turkey , Syria , Iraq and Iran meaning that there is no truly independent state of Kurdistan. So what should the Kurds do with the many thousands of captured Isis fighters ? Release them perhaps and allow them to flee into Turkey and on into Europe ? That would be revenge for this stab in the back. One thousand US troops were in no danger but served to avoid a major escalation of warfare in the region. Their withdrawal is shameful and also extremely unwise.

  103. @Paul could they please give them all plane tickets to Washington instead of releasing them into Europe and turkey? Seeing as the us created this mess in the first place by endlessly warring in the Middle East it seems fair that they’d get the isis fighters wouldn’t you say?

  104. This move on trump's part is not all that surprising once one realizes that trump is simply Putin's lackey and Putin is setting U.S. diplomacy now.

  105. Trumps announcement of withdrawing from Syria and abandoning the Kurdish soldiers was made on Putin’s birthday. What are the odds this was a coincidence?

  106. Anyone that has followed the ISIS catastrophe will know how effective and heroic the Kurdish fighters have been. While the president’s congressional enablers flail and prevaricate to save their jobs, the wolf is at the door for the Kurds and apparently we are going to open that door. If this ends in the way it looks like it might, it will go down as one of the lowest and most shameful acts in our history.

  107. The Kurds are one of the most reliable allies we have had in the Middle East on a long term basis. Possible battles started and stopped via tweets. Amazing.

  108. Same thing happened to the Hmong tribesman after the Vietnam War. Betrayed by the "great power". Business as usual.

  109. I guess we are to believe the imminent attack by turkey is not on the list of “off limits” actions by great and unmatched wisdom of the very stable genius.

  110. @Ben The response threatened by Trump was only economic - read imposition of tariffs! Trump is a one trick pony.

  111. It's now clear since Russia announced that it will join Turkey in its ethnic-cleansing invasion of Syria to eradicate Syrian Kurds that Donald Trump is, in fact, Putin's puppet. This is not only an abuse of power, a criminal betrayal of our most effective ally, a crime against humanity, but clearly a "high crime" worthy of impeachment. With Republicans furious with the Trump and actively opposing him, it would be wise for the House Democrats to make this an article of impeachment thus forcing Senate Republicans to go on the record of supporting this heinous crime if they choose to exonerate Trump.

  112. Any American allies out there watching? Pay close attention. This will be you some day.

  113. @Sarah I'm not sure America has allies. It's rather resembling of a friendship constructed out of fear. Not giving US enough money? Well there's always the threat of nukes

  114. I understand why we should be there. By abandoning the Kurds, we have likely signed their death warrants and advanced Russian interests. I know that leaving there is wrong on many levels. However, I'm so tired of sending our young men and women to war. When was the last time there was peace in the Middle East? How are we supposed to do any lasting good over there if the countries we're assisting insist of massacring each other?

  115. @Patty O. But the local Kurds did the fighting this time. And when the war was won, they get abandoned.... I agree we should start talk about NOT starting wars, but that is another discussion.

  116. @Patty O. In this situation, it was not entirely our young men and women who fought ISIS. Our casualties in comparison to the Kurds in the ISIS battle were minimal. The Kurds I believe lost 10,000 men and women in the fight. We lost a minimal amount -- not that any life lost is not painful. But hard the Kurds not stepped up and helped, our casualties would have been much greater. We will not have allies to fight with us in the future.

  117. @Patty O. Technically this is the lasting result of the US and Great Brittain overthrowing the Iranian democratically elected president Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 in favour of strengthening the monarchical rule of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (Operation AJAX, look it up). So, the lives that are lost are also the price we have to pay for creating the turmoil in that part of the world. All because the Iranians didn't like the Brittish controling Iranian oil reserves, and made a democratic decision to take it back to their own people. That's why US and GB have been pushing for all those boycots and forced everybody else to do the same. It is simple really. If WE mess up, WE have to also be the ones to deal with it. Also known as TAKING RESPONSIBILITY for our actions.

  118. The world loses as Trump continues his sellout of allies. I watched an interview with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton last night - it brought home how much we have lost in the past three years. The US lost its credibility, its leadership, its allies, and its soul.Secretary Clinton is a formidable and knowledgeable woman, dedicated to human rights. She was sold out by the American people and hammered by Bernie Sanders who is now out of the running for President. It’s a shameful period in our history.

  119. @Barbara I had the same thoughts watching the Hillary Clinton interview last night on PBS NewsHour. We could have had the most qualified person ever to run for president, and yet we ended up with this. So incredibly sad.

  120. @Barbara-So the Democratic Party should not have a primary process and Clinton should have just been anointed the candidate? What is the primaries for then, just acceding? Listen, Bernie brought in many disaffected voters (Democratic, Independent and even Republicans) who were sick of the neoliberal status quo. These were people that Clinton would never get in either the primary or a general election vote. Why? Hillary ran a very flawed campaign calling a key voting block “deplorables”, with a self centered campaign slogan (“I am with her”?), didn’t campaign in states she lost which were key to the election, didn’t even hold a rally the August before the election. Despite knowing that GOP (Fox) News propaganda had been morphing American propaganda to viscerally hate the Clintons (unfairly or fairly) for over thirty years, she still chose to run. You aren’t to sway brainwashed people in an election cycle. Combine this with the injustices of the electoral college, and you end up where we are now. So, all while you are blaming Bernie for the war on the Kurds and our abandonment, you are ignoring the reality of the 2016 election. Trump is beatable in 2020, and we can hopefully then rectify the wrong we perpetrated against our Kurdish allies, but boy I hope HRC’s Team is not holding the mantle of our election fight this time around.

  121. @Alex The best way to get Trump re-elected is for the Dems to re-run Clinton.

  122. The biggest threat to the Turkish people is Erdogan himself. He has systematically undermined a robust secular Democracy in Turkey to keep himself in power. trump is enabling that and the end result will be more turmoil in the Middle East. It is time for the world to recognize the need for a Kurdish homeland so they can control their own destiny,

  123. This is Trump's passive aggressive response to the impeachment. If you think this is bad, just wait.

  124. @Robert Haberman I shudder to think of what his "aggressive-aggressive" response will be...

  125. Robert, my thoughts exactly, this has exactly been Trump's tactics all along - diversion and obfuscation when pushed to a corner

  126. Turkey’s lax border controls allowed ISIS to gain a stronghold in Syria. The Kurds fought ISIS and guard the camps with ISIS prisoners. The blood will be on Trump’s hands.

  127. If Turkey attacks the Kurds, how is this not ethnic cleansing? And by removing our troops as the barrier standing in the way of the attack, how are we, the US, not party to the atrocity to come? Trumpism is a form of ethnic-nationalism, no different from Erdogan’s vision for Turkey. By backing Trumpism as its official party platform, the GOP has led us to this moment. Why the shock, Senator Graham? Spare us the moral outrage, sir. You are too late.

  128. @Paul McGlasson I'm sorry, HOW is this supposed to be ethnic cleansing? Turkey has 12 million Kurds within Turkish borders. Many of them voted for Erdogans AKP in the first 10-12 years. And around 1/4 still support him. We know of the anti-HDP policy of Erdogans government, but that is not anti-kurdish. Neither the AKP nor any other group in Turkey can "win" without regard to Kurdish voters. Acting like Turkey is now genociding its way into Syria is simply wrong. The military operation is directed towards the YPG which is an offshoot of the terrorist organization PKK in Turkey.

  129. @Ray It's not wrong. It's true. Erdogan's family is the linchpin of illegal smuggling operations in that region and they wish nothing other than to continue making money this way.

  130. @Paul McGlasson "If Turkey attacks the Kurds, how is this not ethnic cleansing?" Because Turkey is not attacking Kurds, they're attacking a terrorist group made up of mostly Kurds. In fact, Kurdish factions within the Syrian National Army will be fighting alongside Turkey against the YPG.

  131. Until the Kurdish people can offer Trump a trade deal, they don't exist to him.

  132. @Geno Or a hotel deal.

  133. "Root out" Kurdish "militants?" Those folks who lost 1,000 soldiers for every one of America's to cripple ISIS?

  134. @Teddy Chesterfield The Kurds have lost 11,000 soldiers total. The U.S. has incurred almost no losses. The Kurds were used to fight ISIS for us. This is how we "thank" the Kurds. American losses have been mostly in Afghanistan and Iraq fighting against the Taliban.

  135. Despicable, traitorous behavior. But totally Trump, America move to remove the hypocritical law breaker of treaties There will be a blood bath when the Turks “meet” with our ally the Kurds

  136. @ACB Kurds are not our allies. They are paid soldiers. The job is done, they got paid, we paid, time to move on. No reason for romanticism.

  137. One thing I've not seen mentioned is how this may be Trump's warning to Ukraine. That they better stay on Trump's side and not help with the impeachment inquiry lest they see a similar fate.

  138. Nations of the world can no longer believe the security agreements the United States has made. Moves against Ukraine, Georgia, possibly the Balts and Poland conjunction with Iranian, North Korea, and Chinese moves against their neighbors are real possibilities. Dictators across the world realize that this is their moment. Steadfast American security guarantees have been the basis of prosperity since WW2, and that has ended.

  139. Trump's War has begun. He owns this one, and it will not be pretty. Sad to see NATO sitting idly by as well.

  140. Given that 1) Trump has already shown his willingness to make foreign policy decisions to benefit himself 2) Trump has a big, shiny tower in Istanbul 3) Trump made his decision immediately after talking to Erdogan how are we supposed to trust that this decision was made with the interests of the country in mind?

  141. Here is the truth, for better or worse. The U.S. took the eastern third of Syria and turned into a Kurdish state. We’ve also taken control of key road access points into Syria. The goal is to disrupt Iran’s ability to ship weapon to its proxies in western Syria nearer to Israel - a good objective. The most the Turkish can capture and hold will be a relatively narrow strip along the northern border of this new Kurdish state. They aim for about a 20 miles wide strip, but 10-15 will probably be the most they can hold, especially if there is resistance. This action will not impact the disruption of Iranian supply lines, because all major arteries will still pass through Kurdish or U.S. controlled areas anyway. (Refer to the map.) Large camps will be built in this strip and Syrian refugees in Turkey forcibly moved there. Or the refugees will have the choice to return to Assad-controlled Syria. The Europeans will be secretly thrilled that the potential influx of several million more refugees will be eliminated. It is a messy, ugly process. It might also be a bloody one, depending on the degree of Kurdish resistance. But in the end, the map of the region will have been redrawn, mostly for the better. And this is the truth.

  142. @John While I do not disagree with your prognostications, I wonder, if that was the original aim, could it not have been accomplished by negotiation, co-operation and respect. Abandoning allies without notice seems to be rather counter productive.

  143. @John ... so that is the truth? Kind of funny how you call some predictions you make the truth. Unless you are Nostradamus and can predict the future (which I have my doubts about) there are many alternative outcomes to this situation.

  144. @John No, it's not. "The U.S. took the eastern third of Syria and turned into a Kurdish state. " The Kurds were already there. And they've been there for over 3000 years. That's long, Long, LONG before the Turks got on their horses and rode out of Central Asia.

  145. What is to keep other countries from doing this? Is Trump thinking that if this works, he will have completed his campaign promise to withdraw troops and also create a platform to do this with the US-Mexico boarder? Unfortunately this will become his George Bush Iraq War and I really don't think he will ever admit this bad decision with years of hindsight.

  146. With Putin moving Russian troops north and Erdogan moving south, it appears Trump was snookered by the two allies working in concert. Trump gets his war for distraction purposes, and will somehow spin this as a Win and a Promise Kept. In reality, Trump and Erdogan will both be guilty of genocide and should be brought before the International Court for trial on such. Last US war criminals? Bush / Cheney. Trump has now totally destroyed the US word in any future diplomatic efforts whatsoever. Yet the Senate has now pivoted back to attacking democrats for the impeachment inquiry.

  147. @David He wasn't 'snookered'. That would assume he had U.S. interests, and those of our historical allies in mind. He's an active player working with Putin. It has been right in front of our faces for a long time now.

  148. This is what American retreat from the global order looks like. This is what happens when you get a generation removed from the Cold War and start to forget the brutal transactions between the strong and the weak that occur every day in international affairs. This is what happens when people think NATO is outdated and multilateralism is overrated. The genocide of the Kurds will be the Rwandan genocide of our time. And people will wring their hands and say "who could have stopped this?" We could have. And we're not.

  149. I despair of the brave Kurds betrayal and slaughter. This makes the election of Bernie that much more essential to right the wrongs we have committed as a country with this pathologically inept administration. I am a pacifist, but defending the good against evil is still necessary on this earth. #NotMeUs

  150. There are more empowered authoritarians in the world than in the past two decades, and the Middle East is a boiling kettle. This kind of thing can boil over into a broad, global war overnight. Historians will wonder how nobody saw it coming.

  151. @Mford Oh we saw it coming. That's why we cried the night he won.

  152. Well, Mr Putin will be very happy now, I imagine. Exactly what he has wanted for years. Drumpf is the gift that keeps on giving. When NYT said Drumpf will take everyone down with him, it seems they meant globally, not just nationally. Anyone else think trump is the President the US needed to understand just how flawed there political system is? So much power invested in the President as if one man would always follow the rules and do what is in the best interests of the country. You need to tighten your constitution. Make the amendments needed to ensure demagogues like this ideologue can never do damage to the country AND the world like he is now. It’s gonna take years to recover from the damage this megalomaniac has caused. Learn from this lesson. It’s the globes last chance as far as I can see. And I truly hope I am wrong.

  153. @Pubert Gaylord III Fully concur ! Trump IS "serving" the U.S. BY showing us the Constitutional "cracks" that will definitely need to be corrected going forward. The Founding Fathers never anticipated a Trump, and some of the Founding Fathers' view was bound to reach its "use by date" at some point. The U.S. must now re-orient itself for a very different future, as must the rest of the World. We see upheaval in ruling bodies all over the planet. Trump and Boris Johnson are just symptoms, not causes. We *must all streamline and re-design, learning to work together, or the phenomenon of Climate Change will bring us all down. We are in an existential crisis *now ! The U.S. cannot "clean up its mess" just to the edges of the Mexican and Canadian Borders and then "call it good". If we do not learn *how to work together as one Planet, we had ALL better learn to become *very strong swimmers !

  154. The strangest thing about Trump’s move is it was quite unnecessary! So, the question is why did he do it?! Probably, to distract from impeachment!

  155. @Freak In December 2015, Trump stated in a radio interview that he had a "conflict of interest" in dealing with Turkey because of his property, saying "I have a little conflict of interest, because I have a major, major building in Istanbul ... It’s called Trump Towers. Two towers, instead of one. Not the usual one, it’s two. And I’ve gotten to know Turkey very well."[6]

  156. @Freak If we could see his tax returns we might find that his hotels in Turkey needed a boost from Erdogan. Would love to read the telephone transcript.

  157. seems to me just about every tribal ethnic clad is trying to carve out a piece if the pie in the middle east for their own independency. I wish them all well and maybe diplomatically we can help but please let's keep our military out of it IMHO pur military actions have been a disaster in this neck of the woods.

  158. If only some Kurdish leader could have written a Trump a very nice letter, or said a few nice words to boost his ego. Then, maybe, we wouldn't have abandoned an ally.

  159. @Mac - Yep...gotta stroke that ego and feed his mind-boggling narcissism!

  160. Senator Graham has lost all credibility (if not his mind). On the one hand he does not have the courage to stand up to the President, even in the face of blatant wrong doing, on the other hand he is implying that he has the power to 'red light' a Turkish intrusion into Syria. Erdogan must have had a good laugh when he heard about Lindsey's empty threat.

  161. Please tell me that the press will also begin to cover the story of how everytime trump finds himself in trouble he creates chaos as an decoy. He's caught with his hands in the pockets of the Ukraine so he starts a war to avoid all the attention on him.

  162. Thank you Moscow Mitch and Senator Graham for doing nothing. Thank you for our insane President. Now a new war has already started in Syria. Our Kurdish allies and national security are seriously compromised and ISIS will rise again. Republicans can’t be trusted to keep Americans and her allies safe.

  163. @GCAustin - That Trump is unable to look further ahead than the end off his nose sends a strong message to those nations that still have loyalty to America: "hands off, lest he stab YOU in the back as he done to the Kurds." Not that countries like mine (Canada) can do much in aid of the US when it faces a threat, but attitudes to America - "sooner or later, we'll be set adrift and insulted at the same time" - does not bode well for international relations across the globe.

  164. There’s something here. Let’s pin responsibility for letting ISIS go free on Republican senators. Nice and pithy.

  165. I wonder how it soldiers and commanders feel about watching their Kurdish colleagues and friends they fought ISIS side by side with these past few years, being slaughtered by the Turks, because two Authoritarian thugs, Trump and Erdogan decided it was time to abandon US Allies.

  166. @hartmut And I really don't anticipate other groups in the World Right now "falling all over themselves" to become the *next U.S. "ally". Trump is doing just what Russia needs. Attempting to ruin the U.S. "brand" over the entire globe. What this Planet needs is a NEW start, from the bottom up - no more "mobster politicians" running the show anywhere.

  167. @hartmut Worse, I wonder what they think knowing that we will not be trusted when we ask others to fight with us. The Kurds lost 10,000, we lost 10. Their blood will be on American hands.

  168. @hartmut ... and make Turkey secure for future Trump Towers

  169. One thousand U.S. soldiers over a territory that large is as close to being invisible as one can get. It’s not the soldiers that will be missed, it’s the strikes they could direct that will disappear.

  170. Sen. Graham issues a red line? And what would HE do if Turkey crosses the red line? Why isn't Graham engaging his golf buddy, Trump, and haranguing him? Sen. Graham and his fellow GOP sycophants have given so much away to Trump that they no longer have any sway. Trump just brushes past them knowing that they will bend to his needs eventually, they always have to date. I would like to know what the Pentagon is thinking and doing or not doing about this imminent crisis? Do they even dare head to the Oval Office or have they decided to work around Trump too. The Kurds may have their own agenda while at the same time they have been our steadfast allies on the battlefield to defeat ISIS. America used to stand for something. Now we stand for Trump. Just Trump. Whatever he wants. All hail the King/Dictator.

  171. “America used to stand for something. Now we stand for Trump.” Sad but true.

  172. Turkey is not the US. US invades and kills everybody without discrimination like in Rakka and Mosul. Look at Afrin liberated by Turkey. All buildings are still standing almost no civilian casualties. That is the difference between a civilized and an uncivilized country. Technological superiority does not mean civilization. Civilization is how you treat human beings. You could understand if a country is civilized or not by their treatment of refugees. Turkey is definitely more civilized than the US or any European country for that matter.

  173. Yes, of course. Anyone remember the Armenian Genocide?

  174. @Starcrescent This is a completely unnecessary military action taken to bolster Erdogan who lost badly in March elections and done with the mindless OK of our President who didn’t have the brains to ask advice of the state department before kissing the ring of Putin, who is absolutely behind this. Happy yet, Republican Senators?

  175. We? Who are we?

  176. Over U.S. objections, Russia sold/gave Turkey an antimissile system. Since Turkey has long been a part of NATO, this compromises its--and our--security, as Russian personnel are required to train/operate this system. Now Trump continues to turn alliances into used Kleenex with abandoning the Kurds (albeit this was done by a Repub administration before, just after the Kurds helped us during Desert Storm). Putin continues calling in Trump's (and the collaborating GOP's) markers, just as he's doing with the Brexit crowd and Johnson in England, and the Rassemblement National (formerly Front National) of Le Pen in France--all to destroy NATO, the EU, and the now-independent nations that used to be satellites prior to 1992.

  177. I hope our Generals are infuriated by this. I hope they remember this if Trump decides he won't leave office peacefully at the end of his term. And I hope his term ends in 2020.

  178. @rs If not sooner, yes. But I also enjoyed relief to note that Trump's claim to "have the military behind him" for his attempt at imaginary Monarchy is just another Trump Walking Fever Dream.

  179. It may seem naïve, but has any group or country in these areas ever discussed peace agreements or negotiated settlements? It is as though the belligerents would rather shoot first and ask questions later. Our foreign policy has never been more incoherent than it is now under this impetuous and thoughtless man. Are there no others in the inner circle of military commanders who can think more clearly?

  180. The entire world is power hungry, with wars breaking out everywhere, because there is no longer a dominant power to keep them all under control. Unless someone steps in to slow this down (and there is no such person in sight), we are looking at very bad times in the near future. Hard to blame this on any one person, but the United States kept everything quiet for more than 70 years before Trump moved into the White House...

  181. The U.N. and NATO should be condemning the Turkish invasion of Syria. The Kurdish districts of both Syria and Iraq are increasingly threatened by surrounding hostile powers, by the 5th column in waiting that is ISIS and by feckless or failed reactions of their own "national governments". It is time to ask the responsible leaders (if not the Trump administration) of the developed and democratically committed nations of the world to consider the formal establishment of a true Kurdistan, if 100 years belatedly. Unlike Afghanis, the Kurds are progressive and have created institutions that respect womens' and religious minority rights. The Peshmerga and the SDF are battle-tested militias unlike the so called armies the U.S. is wasting billions on in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Kurds can clearly be seen to have persevered successfully since the measured actions of the U.S. at the end of the 1991 Gulf War began protecting them.

  182. @Peter Calahan : "... the Kurds are progressive ..." Maybe that's why the other nations in the area won't put up with a Kurdistan. Apart from the inconvenient fact that the other nations will have to give up some of their territory to create it, carving an independent Kurdish nation out the region will set a precedent that the region's countries won't tolerate. As useful and good as the idea might be, it probably won't happen until the other countries are compelled to do it.

  183. @mlbex I don't know all the history but the WEST was responsible for the elimination of a Kurdish nation when divvying up the Near East post WWI.. and apparently a Kurdish region in Iraq was also recently quashed. Much more complicated than Trump alone?

  184. @Auntie Mame: Where did I say that that mess was Trump's fault? I was aware of the West divvying up the area and leaving the Kurds with nothing, but I was addressing the current situation. In a larger format, I could deal with the historical context. The last I heard, the Kurdish region in Iraq is doing well as a quasi independent entity, but I haven't looked lately. Maybe that changed recently.

  185. It was suddenly So important to Trump that we get a few US troops out of Syria that he betrayed the very Kurds who adored him a couple years ago, but not other US troops and special forces elsewhere. Why? Maybe because it would swing the news cycle away from his impeachment cover-up?

  186. @Speakin4Myself (I meant MBS, not ABS. Sorry.)

  187. @Speakin4Myself That's true, but there's another benefit for Trump: It's a gift for his best buddy, Putin. ABS might enjoy the slaughter as well.

  188. @Tinker Twine I said Trump's latest betrayal benefits his buddy Putin and maybe MBS. Another "plus" for Trump.

  189. Erdogan uses this to offset his failures in Turkey. Recent local elections saw his party losing some power. This is an old ruse of start a war and take people's minds off anything else. Erdogan is a tin hat dictator and nothing more. The Kurds will fight and we should back them. It hasn't mattered which party our President belonged to as they'va have always been our strongest allies in that region. Trump slaps another long term friend and enables ISIS to make a strong comeback. We will rue the day he withdrew the Kurds support.

  190. @JWMathews I agree! However, Trump will regret nothing except the loss of some of his financial assets. He will never run for office. I personally doubt that he will even complete his present term. It is the Republican Party that should care because they will lose elections and financial support if there is a rekindling of the Syrian conflict along with another tidal wave of refugees landing in Europe.

  191. @Maureen , sadly, the GOP has no spine and will follow Trump off a cliff. We need two parties in the country One center left and one center right. We have neither today.

  192. The President uses this to offset his failures in the United States. Sad.

  193. Obama never should have gotten us into this morass in the first place. As far as I know we never promised the Kurds that they could keep this territory forever, and we never promised to defend them from our NATO ally Turkey. Bring our troops home now!

  194. Simplistic knowledge and analysis is very unlikely to lead to beneficial (globaly as well as for the US) results. The situation is complex but originates in the destabilisation of Irak, not in Obama basically navigating a murky sea of sub-obtimal options. Lastly, even if one understands next to nothing to both the present and past situation in Syria one thing should be clear: the 3 men involved and the prime beneficiaries of a messy and unstructured withdrawal are Assad, Erdogan and Putin. Not exactly the most democratic, pacific and friendly bunch by any stretch of imagination..

  195. @JohnP we would have never been there if it wasn't for Bush/GOP idiocy, nice try blaming Obama though

  196. @JohnP Turkey might be a NATO ally at this point but remember they invaded Cypress; they have a long history of aggression and genocide. They are not worthy of NATO membership. Erdogan wants to invade Syria - another “morass”. With millions of Syrians living in Turkey, this move will probably incite violence within Turkey itself. We should reinstate our support of the Kurds for this reason alone.

  197. Fairly soon, if not already, what nation isn't questioning their relationship with this country and wondering if they are a friend of the U.S. today, could or would Trump turn his back on them and throw them under the bus tomorrow? Difficult to not imagine that America ranks just under Russia for being the most distrusted country in the world.

  198. I seem to remember a group that we now call the Taliban and another that we call ISIS, both or whom manifested themselves after similar circumstances... hmmm. I wonder if American folly in this part of the world is leading to the rise of terror organizations... So much winning, I can hardly take it.

  199. For what it is worth, I want to go on record acknowledging what the Kurds just did ( with our forces) to defeat ISIS. And what happens now? Our stable genius will definitely cut Turkey’s credit rating if they do anything, you know, “too bad”? I am not reassured.

  200. Turkey likely believes that Donald Trump, in his great and unmatched wisdom, is lying again when he threatens them. Erdoghan has beaten Trump in the negotiations, just as so many have done before, by appealing to his greed and vanity, recognizing his poor negotiating and erratic management skills.

  201. @B.J. Brogan It was pretty easy, BJ. The Turkish strongman just reminded the American coward that if he didn't play along, Trump properties in Istanbul might've lose business.

  202. Reporting has been that Erdowan rolled Donnie on the phone. Looks like the US is going to allow our allies to be slaughtered and 10,000 ISIS terrorists to be set free Donnie is doing Putins work for him yet again

  203. Although on the face of it immoral and inherently wrong, enabling the change in the status quo on the Syrian border with Turkey will accomplish 2 things for President Trump: it will dilute the focus on what transpired with his encounter and phone call to the president of the Ukraine and will be viewed as a definitive move to reduce American involvement in the Middle East. The average man on the street in America is tired of America's entanglements in far-away conflicts which appear to have no bearing on life here in the U.S.. The votes the president will garner for withdrawing our troops in at least one of those far-off conflicts will bring him far more votes than the votes he may lose from those whose analysis have led them to the opposite conclusion. Trump will emerge from this strengthened and emboldened, positioned for what he most longs for with respect to the next election. As far as the impeachment inquiry is concerned, that's still up in the air.

  204. The gravity of this betrayal is still settling in, but it will be years before we are able to lead a coalition again.

  205. @Jack What country would join any coalition led by Trump and, as he calls them, "my generals."

  206. @Jack Years? The United States RIGHT NOW has a reputation for treachery, lying and opportunism that comes directly from its "leader". That reputation will define us forever. We have become as dirty a country as any we have castigated in our holier-than-thou earlier character as steadfast, true to allies, fair and decent people. Shed a tear for what we have become.

  207. @Jack Trust in the US as a reliable ally will be zero. Putin's puppet is doing his job well as the Senate lets it happen. "Moscow Mitch" and "Destroyer Don"!

  208. Abandoning the Kurds and opening the border for Erdogan must be among the last few 'deliverables' Putin hopes to extract before his puppet is forced into political bankruptcy. Clearly the documents and testimony requested by the House are more damning than outright obstruction. One wonders how much more damning Putin's evidence must be.

  209. I work for an international non-profit that visits NE Syria regularly to meet with Syrian Kurds, a major player in resolving the Syrian conflict. Our team returned from a visit to Qamishli last week, and I can't help but think about what would have happened if their visit was a week later and they were there during the chaos. Then I remember that there are roughly 2 million Kurds that don't have the luxury to just pack up and leave like we do. Trump has already committed enough impeachable offenses. If Republicans are still behind him after this, consider them directly responsible for the genocide of Syrian Kurds.

  210. Apart from betraying US allies (and leaving them to be slaughtered), doing irreparable damage to the reputation and standing of the US on the global stage and its ability to build strategic alliances in order to exert influence and power overseas, abandoning Syria also cedes control and influence to Trump’s BFF Putin. Why is no one talking about that???

  211. Lindsay Graham is following the lead of his master, speak loudly and carry no stick. What will he say after our allies the Kurds are slaughtered? What will he say after the hardened Isis prisoners are released because there are no guards left? "I'm very concerned about the President's actions." John McCain is rolling over in his grave. History is calling and Trump's enablers are quislings.

  212. Republican presidents destroy our reputation abroad, and Democratic presidents have to spend their time rebuilding that reputation, setting them up as "globalists" (oh no!) who are forced out of power in the next election cycle. The process then repeats.

  213. Trump has assets in Turkey - probably a lot of assets. Could this be the underlying reason Trump chose to support Erdogan and Turkey? Abandoning the Kurds at this time will be disastrous for America credibility. The Kurds should not face genocide because Donald Trump wants to preserve his financial assets in Turkey.

  214. Any and all deaths along the Turkish/ Syrian border, aka Kurdish territory will be directly on Trump’s expedient head. Trump’s business connections in Turkey must be exposed. Trump owns two towers there. If reports are to be believed, trump green lighted Turkeys incursion into Kurdish territory after a telephone conversation with Erdogan. Why? Why throw key allied under Turkish tanks in death’s door.

  215. Men whose honor, bravery and service are characteristics unknown to Trump are being slaughtered now by this casual abandonment. But he's going with his gut. The man who has none. I'm so ashamed of what Trump is enabling in our country, of who he is, of what we have become in the eyes of the world. Putin is crowing, Bashar al Assad is scheming, Erdogan is carving out his piece. And Trump...? Likely doing a quiet transaction with Erdogan to break ground on another Trump Towers even more fabulous than the first. But, hey, what's wrong with that? Everyone does it.

  216. I understood the Gen. Mattis resigned as Sec. of Defense because Trump was preparing to betray our allies, the Kurds. Trump has now done it. Why is Mattis silent now? What other acts of betrayal is he implicitly condoning. In the Vietnam War era, we spoke of that disastrously misguided conflict being a "quagmire." We are now sinking into other own, only this time its a moral quagmire--a quagmire of choice--and its at home.

  217. @Skeptic Trump has surrounded himself with military men because they put the "chain of command" ahead of their constitutional duties. He counts on their loyalty to authority, even when that authority is being misused.

  218. Well, you know you can't trust the US and the US military. We do as any dictatorship does. One person with economic ties to Turkey made this decision. Let that be a lesson to anyone who would ally with the US.

  219. You would think what our allies these brave and courageous Kurds and their fight against a bloodthirsty dictator like Erdogan would turn the Republicans in Congress against Donald Trump. I've got a good but harsh term for this decision to withdraw American advisors in Syria: It is called Trump's Meat-Hook Diplomacy. What is Trump thinking about? Without US air support and those fast movers flying in from Qatar and those aircraft carriers, these friends of ours have no chance of survival. I wish I was there right alongside them fighting for freedom.

  220. I am not a Trump supporter. But think of this scenario: Turkey moves in the northern region. The millions of displaced Syrian citizens whose homes got destroyed by Assad's barrel bombs can move there. Syrian refugees who now live in neighboring countries can also find a home in the north. In a couple of decades, the region will have a mixture of citizens. That would have a neutralizing effect in this combustible region, where neither ISIS nor Kurdish or Assad sympathizers could dominate. Let's not laugh when Erdogan says that "our aim is to establish peace." By moving in, he would stop the Kurdish threat against Turkey, but, at the same time, he will have "heterogenized" a huge part of northern Syria, thus reducing the potential for future bloodshed.

  221. @Samir Hafza So when ISIS rises again it will be hard to identify or control and you will have more blood shed, I live along that border, all the Kurds ever wanted was self rule, which they won fair and square by fighting ISIS, the 10,000 ISIS prisoners and families in Kurds habds and the numoious ISIS in hiding will while the Kurds drfend themselves rise up and take over. Trump just wants his name on bldgs in Istanbal, Turkey has threatened to remove his name and $ 5 million dollars that goes with it.

  222. @Samir Hafza So when ISIS rises again it will be hard to identify or control and you will have more blood shed, I live along that border, all the Kurds ever wanted was self rule, which they won fair and square by fighting ISIS, the 10,000 ISIS prisoners and families in Kurds habds and the numoious ISIS in hiding will while the Kurds drfend themselves rise up and take over. Trump just wants his name on bldgs in Istanbal, Turkey has threatened to remove his name and $ 5 million dollars that goes with it.

  223. @Roger McGowan Trump's ego and buildings notwithstanding, If you truly live along that border, you would know the bad blood between the Kurds and the Turks. So why not "dilute" that area so no Kurds, no ISIS, and no pro-Assad forces could dominate? Seems reasonable to me.

  224. It's been reported that Rand Paul is one of Donald's favorite golfing partners. I wonder if they played last weekend. It's often said that he is most influenced by those he talked to last and the call with Erdogan took place on Sunday night. Donald's long said he wants us out of the Middle East and I suspect that Rand feeds into that. Just because he's wanted something a long time means he will say it's his gut instinct and therefore it's never wrong because his gut is a stable genius.

  225. That the same Republicans rightly critical of this move are continuing to defend Trump against his clear abuse of power in trying to extort a country's president to serve his own (and Russia's) interest speaks vlumes in just how bankrupt the Republican party has become. In both Ukraine and Turkey, Trump's actions have put American's at much greater risk from a malevolent Putin whose aims are clearly to weaken, if not destroy, America and our allies. Yesterday, the Times described top secret assination squads that Putin has deployed against the West. His strategy is not just to foment chaos through cyber attacks, it also includes violence against our citizens. Russia is working with Turkey to attack Kurdish forces along Syria's northern border with Turkey. Trump has called for Turkey to deal with the thousands of ISIS prisoners the Kurds are holding. He seems to be unaware that it was Turkey who allowed these fighters to pass into Syria in the first place. The resurgence of ISIS who has continually supported attacks both America and Europe will undoubtedly result from this action. This will serve Putin's aims, as did Trump's witholding of military aid for Ukraine. The Republican's contiuning efforts to gaslight Americans over Trump's unconstitutional dealings with Ukraine, rather than use this legitimate impeachable offense to remove this grave threat to our national security, is a reprensible abdication of their most solemn oath to defend our nation.

  226. One theory provided for Senator Graham’s sycophancy was that he wanted to influence Trump on a very limited number of foreign policies and saw his public fawning as the means to do that. If that’s what Lindsey was thinking, the plan didn’t work. Graham’s influence on the policy towards ISIS, the Kurds, all areas he claims as his particular concerns, is zero.

  227. So the all-seeing POTUS has opened the way for Turkey to attack the forces that helped in the defeat of ISIS. Can we expect the Turkish economy to be devastated as the president promised, or are we to be treated to the spectacle of Erdogan shaking hands and giving POTUS another photo-op? Not hard to figure that one out - the great prevaricator strikes again.

  228. How great that Sen. Lindsey Graham is standing tall against Donald Trump's sell-out of our Syrian Kurdish allies. This is how Trump repays loyalty, Sen. Graham. The Kurds are Syrians where they are its largest minority; they are not "armed thugs," but our most effective "boots on the ground" that defeated ISIS. My question to Sen. Graham: "Would you and your 'massive bipartisan opposition' support an article of impeachment if and when Turkey runs your red light and invades northern Syria?" It clearly merits an article of impeachment as a "high crime" since it's an abuse of power, betrayal of ally and our national interest, and a looming crime against humanity in its objective to annihilate the Kurds.

  229. @Paul Wortman Sadly, Lindsey is all talk. He’s just another GOP hypocrite. Otherwise, he’d be back on the Senate floor, proposing a resolution to reverse Trump’s treachery to the Kurds.

  230. It is not as this is the first time the US stabbed the Kurds in the back. Remember when at the end of the first Gulf War Bush the elder encouraged the opposition to rise up to depose Saddam Hussein after which the US promptly stood aside to let Saddam massacre the opposition. The Kurds alone may have lost as many as 200 000 at that time, mostly civilians.

  231. Once again, Donald Trump conducts foreign policy for some unknown reason with no real understanding of the consequences beyond his personal motives. We can't trust him and either will our allies. Turkey will do whatever Turkey wants and we will do nothing to help the Kurds. This is a disaster for our nation and global security.

  232. Both House & Senate Foreign Affairs & Intelligence committees need to investigate how Trump arrived to this Turkey decision. We are NATO allies with Turkey, but they have been furious over backing the Kurds to help defeat ISIS. By withdrawing our presence in the Middle East it a long awaited victory for Russia, Iran, ISIS & Assad. That in itself is a national security to the US & NATO. This hasty decision is against the Pentagon, Intelligence community, CIA & all the generals in the theatre.

  233. This is what happens when the commander in chief: (a) has a simplified view of a complex situation; and (b) is so full of hubris that he thinks he does not need to consult with his own cabinet before acting. This situation is dangerous and can easily spiral out of control with all kinds of unintended consequences. The feared nightmare of a foreign disaster caused by an unqualified president is at hand . . . .