Congress must immediately pass a fresh AUMF for NE Syria

There is no other site where the American flag can be reliably planted while uniquely depending upon Kurdish Peshmerga to achieve conjoint security goals.

KURDNAS President Sherkoh Abbas, | updated: 14:00

OpEds US Army soldiers
US Army soldiers
INN:SA

Robert Sklaroff, M.D., coauthored this article.

Within a fortnight—triggered by President Trump’s abrupt relocation of American protection for Kurds in the Rojava—the Russians have helped Turkey consolidate its ethnic cleansing of Kurdish cantons and have flipped to coveting the oil-rich region of NE-Syria now peacefully governed by the Kurds.

Accompanying this historic blunder have been misstatements and smears that have relegated Kurds’ valiant efforts to avoid being massacred to a schoolyard scuffle with the parties to be separated “after they fight a bit”:  “We have no troops in Syria, and want to negotiate between the Turks and the Kurds….Kurds aren’t angels…Did Kurds help us in Normandy?”

Trump’s ignorance is dramatized by his having echoed the false conflation of the Syrian YPG with the Turkish PKK by Turkey’s Jew-hating Islamist President Erdoğan, a distinction recognized by Congress’s Syria Study Group; the latter has terrorist leaders, whereas the former is comprised of soldiers who loyally fought alongside U.S. troops (suffering 11,000 deaths to America’s 8) agains ISIS.

In response, overwhelmingly bipartisan House condemnation may be politically motivated and Senator McConnell’s resolution may be a gesture, but suddenly everyone seems to love the beleaguered Kurds.

Yet, the only “language” understood both by Trump and the world would be passage of an Authorization for the Use of Military Force focused upon what is now claimed by Sen. Graham to be the retrenched “hope” for a settlement, ostensibly, protection of this region against an ISIS resurgence:

WHEREAS, an ethnic cleansing operation has been initiated by Turkey affecting, in particular, the peaceful residents of Rojava, and 

WHEREAS, The 1000 United States troops in NE-Syria protecting against a resurgent ISIS would not violate the NATO treaty if they were to be attacked by another country such as Turkey, while Iraq may evict American troops at Iran’s behest; THEREFORE be it

RESOLVED, That The United States of America endorses immediate implementation of an Authorization for the Use of Military Force to protect Kurds peacefully residing in oil-rich Northeast Syria (contiguous with Iraqi Kurdistan), coveted by Ottomans, Persians and Czarists; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the United States of America shall invoke whatever land and airborne operations are deemed necessary to accomplish this goal.

As we have consistently predicted, there is no other site where the American flag can be reliably planted while uniquely depending upon Kurdish Peshmerga to achieve conjoint security goals.

We have dismembered “conservative” arguments published on “conservative” websites in the Jewish Exponent [https://tinyurl.com/y4yz8xqs], as we elucidated why “Abandoning the Kurds Is a Shanda.” 

Undermining their unabashedly and blindly pro-Trump portrayals of the Syrian War is our durable factual backgrounder in the Spring 2014 issue of the InFocus Quarterly—published by the Jewish Policy Center—that succinctly summarized both the history of Kurdistan and the myriad Kurdish factions that have emerged.

[To provide full disclosure, know that the first author wrote in the Exponent two essays praising Trump’s populist conservatism and a letter condemning Democrats for abandoning Israel; thus, he has been forced to experience a seismic challenge to what had been settled assumptions, anguish that was conveyed inter alia to Paul Teller, the White House Congressional Liaison and to fellow travelers in the Tea Party movement.]

Proof of how Trump has endangered his Evangelical base was evidenced during the Values Voters Gala in Rev. Brunson’s prayer (delivered with his hand on Trump’s shoulder and punctuated by audience applause) that Trump be helped to recognize whom he should trust. And Pat Robertson warned Trump could risk “losing the mandate of heaven.”

Just as Iran views Israel as the “Little Satan” and America as the “Great Satan,” Seth Frantzman (op-ed editor of the Jerusalem Post) perceives Kurdistan’s fate to be linked to that of Israel, recognizing Kurdistan is Israel’s “Canary in the Coal Mine.” Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has contradicted all of Trump’s assertions.

Trump has been attacked by generals across the political spectrum (Petreaus, Keane, Votel, McCaffrey), both for what he did and how he did it. Although Trump claimed he’s “overrated,” General Jim Mattis said resurgence of ISIS is “a given” after withdrawal of US troops and, when Mattis spoke at the 74th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner (joking he’s “the Meryl Streep of generals”), his praise of America’s “Kurdish Allies” received a Standing-O. 

Defenders of this retreat decry endless commitments— forgetting Korean and German deployments—and ignore the instability that Trump created, leading only to the empowerment of America’s regional enemies (Turkey, Iran, Russia and the Islamic State) who are opportunistically and expeditiously filling this vacuum; the NATO Charter does not mandate impotence when a member nation seeks to ethnically cleanse a neighboring
Trump shrouds neoisolationist pacifism and rationalized procrastination within professed “friendships” with global despots.  
region, attacking America in the process. 

Most historians decry Chamberlain’s appeasement prior to World War II, and Roosevelt’s inaction during the Shoah; yet, Erdoğan has been unleashed as a Trump proposed Turk-Kurd mediation and threatened after-the-fact tangential economic sanctions. 

What had been perceived positively as a sequential strategy to strengthen the economy prior to rebuilding the military has been supplanted by grudging recognition that Trump shrouds neoisolationist pacifism and rationalized procrastination within professed “friendships” with global despots.  

As a result, notwithstanding his self-image of exuding wisdom, Trump’s impulsiveness has sparked a conflict that quickly drove the Kurds to the Russians, shattering Trump’s “transactional” foreign policy framework. 

Regardless of how this seismic event is resolved, its negative ripple effect throughout Trump’s foreign policy construct undermines America’s ability to affect global efforts to help freedom loving peoples.

A “tell” that Trump is in trouble is the absence of the ordinarily strident voice of Kellyanne Conway from Fox and Friends. 

Pax Americana has been supplanted by Pacem Putin.

Impromptu Capital Hill lobbying on Tuesday was therefore targeted at staffers who have been outspoken critics of this retreat, but who have—thus far—been reticent to recommend to their Representative-bosses that they transcend the irrelevancy of proffering Humanitarian assistance.

Granted, this is composed amidst swiftly moving events, but the conclusions herein are immutable.

We have written that recognition of the Golan necessitated an appreciation that artificial borders established a century ago must be adjusted to reflect reality; similarly, the denial of a Kurdish homeland at Lausanne must be reversed.

And Jerusalem now must worry that Trump may have granted Iran unimpeded access to Israel’s borders.

Sherkoh Abbas is the President of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria; Robert Sklaroff is a physician activist.




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