The Rojava Kurds should have seen this coming. The US has a long standing tradition of abandoning Kurds. The abandonment is not the worst part of this policy decision. It is the decision to turn over the jihadis captured by US, YPG and SDF forces over the last few years to Turkey… just in time for Erdogan's announced invasion of northeast Syria. Those jihadis will be rearmed and sent into battle across northern Syria, including Idlib, by Erdogan. Ah, the dreams of a neo-Ottoman Empire are coming into focus.

It appears Fox News, the neocons and the old lady from South Carolina were blindsided by this move.

And while news of the U.S. pullout stunned Syrian Kurds, the announcement also "completely blindsided" top brass at the Pentagon, U.S. officials told Fox News.

Aside from the existential threat to the Kurdish fighters posed by Turkey, Syrian Kurdish forces are also warning that ISIS sleeper cells are actively plotting to free about 12,000 militants currently detained by the Kurds and may take advantage of the Turkey-triggered turmoil to aid their plans.

Those in custody include about 2,500 foreign fighters from Europe and elsewhere whose native countries have been reluctant to take them back — and about 10,000 other captured fighters from Syria and Iraq. (Fox News)

It is too bad Trump allowed himself to be talked out of leaving Syria back at the beginning of his term. That would have given the Kurds the incentive to make peace with Damascus and left a united R+6 in a better position to take on the jihadis and keep the Turks at bay. Trump's rationale of "withdrawing America from an endless war that does not serve US interests" is reasonable and worthy. But his timing is terrible, even characteristically cruel. Worse yet, he still plans on keeping the troops in Syria, just out of the way of the coming Turkish invasion. It's the worst of both worlds for everyone except Erdogan.

On a personal note, I find the treachery of this move to be shameful and abhorrent, not unexpected or without reason, but shameful and abhorrent. My 10th Group coin was vibrating in rage on the nightstand. 



This entry was posted in Borg Wars, Syria, TTG, Turkey. Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to BOHICA! – TTG

  1. Rms says:

    Why the ho hum in your headline?

  2. James Doleman says:

    Thanks for your take

  3. Sbin says:

    12,000 wahhabist jahhadi recycled as freedom fighters what could go wrong.
    Pity they will not return to sender.
    Some gulf monarchies should be able to enjoy some of the “freedom” they have been sponsoring.

  4. Fred says:

    So what does Damascus have to say about our noble ally Turkey invading thier territory?

  5. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Yes, too bad that Trump was FORCED to stay in Syria by the Deep Staters; under constant coup threat had to give ground. Kurds never fail to fail. Compose peace with Syria, retain some autonomy; don’t and lose all to Turks & jihadis when they are again abandoned. Kurdistan ain’t happening, lost that chance when the imperial powers screwed them at end of WW1. Jihadis should be considered hostis humani generis & dealt with accordingly; you can’t coexist with rattlesnakes. Rum deal for Syria & fractious Kurds, those fools.

  6. turcopolier says:

    We betray peole all the time. It’s what we do!

  7. luke8929 says:

    The Russians and the US are both courting the Turks and Erdogan and the Turks know it and will use it to their advantage. They are still fighting Balaclava and the charge of the light brigade (Crimea) and Gallipoli (access to the Black sea via the dardenelles) its about access to or restricting access to warm water ports and the Mediterranean for the Russian Navy. The big winners are the Turks and the losers are the Syrians and the Kurds and no one cares about either of them in the big picture.

  8. Fred says:

    Really? The Russians want to spend money they don’t have on a blue water navy to sail the med – but no longer stop at that navy base in Syria they’ve used for decades? What for, Greek olives and some good Italian pasta? The Syrians no longer matter? Does that mean the Russian Aerospace forces and all the rest have been withdrawn, somehow that didn’t make the news.

  9. Fred, Damascus sees both the US and Turkey as invaders occupying Syrian territory without authorization by Damascus or the UN Security Council. Russia has been moving some troops closer to Turkish positions north of Aleppo and south of Afrin for a week or so.

  10. Leith says:

    “On a personal note, I find the treachery of this move to be shameful and abhorrent,” by TTG.
    Count me in too. The Kurds and their Syriac & Arab tribal allies are better allies than the Israelis, Saudis, Afghans, and Iraqis ever were or ever will be. And I also agree that we should have left long ago but with a secret advance warning to the Kurds so they could position themselves as the ones that asked us to leave and get a warm cuddle from Damascus.
    Lots has been said in the media about Trump Towers in Turkey were the reason for the sellout. Maybe so, but I suspect that the ‘Trump-Whisperer’ in Moscow had a hand in this also.

  11. Effinghell says:

    We’ve been trying to work out what to do with these 12000 jihadists for a while now….sounds like we have found a solution.

  12. Leith, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Trump Towers Istanbul figured into this decision. However, Trump’s policy all along has been to get us out of the region’s wars. He could have started with evacuating Tanf to let the Kurds know he was serious about getting out this time.

  13. Effinghell, letting the bulk of those jihadis go to serve as Erdogan’s Foreign Legion is a pretty weak solution. We could turn them over to the Russian Reconciliation Center and let them deal with them.

  14. Fred says:

    Just how many of them does Erdogan trust and how many think he is pure enough to serve under?

  15. Leith says:

    Evacuate al-Tanf? What? I don’t think he will abandon AIPAC.

  16. Fred, he doesn’t have to trust them any more than a of the jihadis already doing his dirty work in Idlib and Afrin. I doubt he wants them in Turkey and doubt he wants to feed and clothe them in refugee camps/prisons in Syria. He’ll use them.

  17. Fred says:

    How valuable will that licensing deal be after the now Turkish ISIS legionaires blow up part of it? Especially since Erdogan has wanted the name removed for a couple years now?

  18. All, the R+6 will adjust. Al Masdar reports Russian “special forces” have completed a bridge over the Euphrates between the SAA and SDF lines in Deir Ezzor Province. Wladimir van Wilgenburg, a freelance journalist reporting from Rojava for years, reported a large column of SDF troops left the Omar oil fields today. Clearly they are moving to the northern border. I can see the SAA soon moving into those fields. It will be a welcome move for the Syrian economy.
    I have a feeling Trump will eventually order our troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq as well. Russia and Iran will probably fill the void as needed. Maybe even China economically. In the long run, we’ll all be better off. The final question will be what our relationship with the Saudis become?

  19. Fred, if the choice is between a lucrative real estate deal and the lives of hundreds or more Rojava Kurds, Trump will take the real estate deal without blinking an eye. Having said that, I think Trump’s primary motivation is to get the US out of endless wars, a platform he ran on and won an election. It’s a wise decision. Even if he loses the next election, it will be near impossible for the US to reinsert itself into the region again.

  20. Fred says:

    You mean getting us out a foreign entanglements is exactly what he’s doing and personal enrichment from some licensing deal has absolutely nothing to do with his decision. On that I agree.

  21. Fred, Trump has no ideological use for foreign military entanglements. He sees them as a cost center. I consider that a good thing. If he follows through on this view, he should be actually pulling out of Syria and perhaps Afghanistan and Iraq soon. That would be keeping a campaign promise. Since he proved he can make these decisions and is not held hostage by the neocons, his failure to follow through on the campaign promise would be totally on him.
    In this case Erdogan rolled Trump. He told Trump he will be invading Syria soon. Trump pissed himself and decided to move our troops away from the border to allow Erdogan to commence his invasion. If that’s as far as he goes, he’s a gutless wonder, all bluster and no backbone.

  22. Leith says:

    No backbone, but plenty of bone-spurs. He’s as bad as Slick Willy, the other draft dodging president.

  23. Kevo says:

    I personally don’t care what 10th Group wants, I don’t want anymore 10th group or anymore Americans to die in Syria. Hopefully this leads to a complete pullout. Why should any American die for a Obama/Clinton Syria failed overthrow. My advice to Kurds, make a peace with your neighbors, sorry for your bad neighborhood.

  24. Jack says:

    “Trump has no ideological use for foreign military entanglements. He sees them as a cost center.”
    Cost center to the tune of several trillion dollars. If we had spent all those trillions which are projected to be anywhere between $6-$12 trillion between the Afghan, Iraqi, Libyan & Syrian wars on upgrading our infrastructure we would have brand spankin new highways, bridges, mass transit, electric grid, air & maritime ports. We could have even thrown in a few gigawatt nuclear reactors.

  25. Jack says:

    Time for the Kurds to make a deal with Assad and gain his protection.
    If Trump can get our military and CIA operators out of the Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian quagmires and throw the headchopping House of Saud under the bus in the process, he would have shown more courage than any recent POTUS in the past 40 years. That would be sufficient grounds for re-election, IMO.

  26. Effinghell says:

    We don’t want them going home…ever

  27. CK says:

    Great nations have interests. Small nations suck up and misunderstand interest for friendship. Quislings know that the short term ends with their abandonment.
    “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice won’t be fooled again” an acceptable motto for small nations and main chancers.

  28. CK says:

    Sarcasm alert
    Jack are you some sort of America Firster? Just doing the deferred maintenance on the US infrastructure would have sucked up all the trillions that we spend turning stone buildings into stone piles in MENA and Afghanistan.
    Upgrading the installed base is beyond the economic capacity of the USA. The dream of better and larger nuclear reactors will run up against the Gretard followers and the NIMBY types like the Reiners.

  29. Leith says:

    Newsweek has an interesting article. Their source, an NSC staffer, claims Trump was “rolled” by Erdogan during their Sunday phoncon.

  30. Grazhdanochka says:

    Ultimately any Turkish action against the Kurds, divides Turkish/ES Forces away from Idlib, not to it…. Who are they going to recruit?
    Who is going to fight for Idlib if they were not for their own Region?
    Turkey can go tear the Kurds up, and I suspect Syrian, Iranian, Russian Governments will just accept it – maybe use it as a talking Point – but ultimately extra ‘Turkish’ Proxies do not emerge from nothing.
    NO ONE who was paying attention would say the Kurds could NOT see this coming Years ago. US History Aside – Trump said it as a Campaign Promise.
    Trump has some Record of following through with his Promises even if they might be crazy – The Kurds had AMPLE Time to prepare themselves for this possibility.
    In a Region with Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran – What the Kurds seriously thought a contested US Presence would mean long term success for their own ambitions? It seems insane to me.

  31. JamesT says:

    Who has Russia betrayed?

  32. turcopolier says:

    Seems to me that the first and second Chechen wars might qualify.

  33. TTG – the news reporting on this over here is pretty odd. It’s as if the Russians and the Syrians have had little to do with defeating ISIS. Nothing unusual in that, I suppose.
    Could I ask –
    1. You mention previous possibilities – “That would have given the Kurds the incentive to make peace with Damascus and left a united R+6 in a better position to take on the jihadis and keep the Turks at bay.”
    If this possibility now entirely ruled out?
    2. The reported Russian crossing of the Euphrates –
    Might I ask if this is related?
    Also, what I have seen speaks of US forces withdrawing from the border strip. There were reported to be US bases elsewhere in the Kurdish occupied area. Are these also going?

  34. English Outsider, in my opinion the US presence east of the Euphrates is a larger impediment to reconciliation between Damascus and the Rojava Kurds than the Kurds’ stubborn dream of an independent Rojava. We keep their forlorn hope alive. If US forces do abandon the Kurds, they should finally see peace with Damascus is their only real hope. Trump’s latest proclamation should do the trick.
    I was glad to see US support to the Kurds with the air attacks on the jihadis when the Kurds had their backs against the wall in Kobane. I also was glad to see a few SF teams working with the Kurds to direct air support as well as logistical and intelligence support. I wish we never went beyond that.
    The new bridge over the Euphrates built by the Russians is surely a response to the Turkish threat. the US pull back from the border makes the bridge even more timely.
    US forces are still at al Tanf for no good reason other than to foil the opening of the main Baghdad-Damascus highway. We are there because we are dicks, pure and simple. We are also around the oilfields southeast of Deir Ezzor. We are fighting jihadis there, but we stay mainly to deny the oilfields to Damascus.

  35. CK says:

    As far as my reading of Russian History goes, no one. Ask instead what nations have betrayed Russia.
    However, as does every other great nation, Russia has interests. Some of those are neighbourhood interests, some are philosophical and some are diplomatic.

  36. “We don’t want them going home…ever”
    Western reports on the prison camps are that conditions are dire. The guards can’t go in at night and are cautious about going in during the day. Women are still attempting to impose (or maintain) Caliphate codes of behaviour and kill other women who don’t.
    There is no outside authority that can supervise inside the camps – this is therefore going to be operating as another Jihadi networking centre, as the prison camps in Iraq in practice operated in the past.
    They’ll be going home all right. There are families there and they will not be eliminated.
    Some Jihadis will go on to fight elsewhere, their convictions reinforced by being huddled together with fellow believers and a network of contacts established. It’s been obvious since Frongoch that tumbling dissidents together in a camp strengthens a dissident movement enormously, and that mechanism will operate here.
    Some will become indistinguishable from other refugees and will be treated as such.
    On that second category, there’s a lot of talk about how the Russians and the Chinese are making sure their Jihadis don’t come back. Maybe. But European Jihadis will come back, and with them many other Jihadis, or their families, as normal refugees. It’s unlikely our Intelligence services will weed them all out and those they do – where do they go then?
    The idea that the Turks will do what we are too squeamish to do and eliminate the lot is repulsive. Also very unlikely. As with the surviving Idlib Jihadis, many of these Jihadis will be with us in Europe for good.
    Kick a wasp’s nest and the wasps, most of them, have to go somewhere.

  37. Peter Moritz says:

    As usual the Kurds did again bet on the wrong horse. Assad hd offered them talks not too long ago to come to an agreement regarding some autonomy, and the Kurds despite a long history of betrayal by various UD governments did not want to engage – so, fuck them. If you repeat a mistake over and over expecting a different outcome – you are an idiot. And the kurdish leadership has shown over and over again they are just that.

  38. Effinghell says:

    I understand your point of view , it wasn’t the Turks I had in mind.
    Nothing in this theatre is anything less than replusive, but that’s the way it is.

  39. We obviously share the same distaste for the the results of these ill-considered neocon ventures in the ME.  You’ll be aware that the British contribution to the enterprise as a whole – White Helmets, among other things – was far from glorious.  
    I often wonder if the people in offices who plan these things think through to what happens on the ground.
    As for Trump’s decision – the Kurds have been intrepid and courageous fighters, but all too often they have become no more than local gangs subject to little overall direction. That doesn’t make their abandonment right.  Like the Montagnards in Vietnam they are now left open to attack by those who encouraged them to resist.
    It doesn’t make it right but even so I have not been impressed by the criticism in the media here, and the political and media criticism in the  States, of Trump’s decision.  Impulsive, ill-considered and poorly executed, they say.
    Of course it’s jerky and badly planned.  The very people who should have been supporting, perhaps even implementing the President’s decision smoothly, were opposed to that decision.  They are probably even now working on means of frustrating that decision.  In the condition of virtual civil war that obtains in Washington, that a President should have his decisions poorly executed is no wonder.  The wonder rather is that this key commitment of the Trump 2016 programme could in these circumstances have been honoured at all, in however a partial and unsatisfactory a manner.

  40. Leith says:

    Erdogan will NOT eliminate the Jihadis. He will enlist them in his TFSA or TSO (Turkish Supported Opposition), arm them, and set them against both the Kurds and Assad.

Comments are closed.