I’ll start with this: Middle East wars will rage with or without America’s heavy presence. It’s from The Times via The Australian so take it for what it is.
As long as the West and its dwindling number of allies in the Middle East concentrated on the task of defeating the jihadist thugs of Islamic State, there was a kind of ramshackle consensus about the task in hand. Now that the so-called caliphate has been broken, all hell is breaking loose.
This is partly because of the ugly compromises needed to smash a nimble enemy such as ISIS. In Syria, America (under Barack Obama and Donald Trump) enlisted the Kurds as its janissaries, ready to risk their lives on the ground. The US did so in full knowledge that some were more than hardened soldiers.
One faction was also affiliated to the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party that has been a thorn in Turkey’s side for more than 40 years.
Look up Kurdistan Workers Party on Wikipedia and you find this.
The PKK was founded in 1978 in the village of Fis (near Lice) by a group of Kurdish students led by Abdullah Öcalan and 1979 it made its existence known to the public. The PKK’s ideology was originally a fusion of revolutionary socialism and Kurdish nationalism, seeking the foundation of an independent Communist state in the region….
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by several states and organizations, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and the European Union.
To which I will append this.
From Trump: Europe Won’t Help, and We’re Not Going to Hold Thousands of ISIS Fighters at Guantanamo Bay. Watch the video and hear PDT say it himself.
“We’re not bringing 50, 60, 70 – or even 100,000 people to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “We’re not going to be paying them for the next 50 years – or paying to take care of them for the next 50 years.”
He characterized the European response to Washington’s appeals as another example of allies taking advantage of the U.S., and treating it as a “sucker.”
Meanwhile, who has any idea of which side who is on or what they are fighting for or against. And same again here. Who should we support, do you think?
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are dominated by fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), whom Turkey views as terrorists because of links to the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) – a radical group which Turkey, as well as the U.S. and European Union, has designated a terrorist organization.
Of course none of these countries want these jihadists back. To continue the story:
European governments have voiced reluctance to repatriate citizens who joined ISIS’ jihad. Reasons vary, but include concerns that difficulties in obtaining clear evidence of wrongdoing will see suspects dodge conviction and be released back into society.
In France, public opinion runs strongly against repatriating jihadists, although there is considerable support for allowing the French wives and children to return home.
My enemy’s enemy may sometimes be my friend, but it is always worth remembering that my enemy is still my enemy.
As for what to do, I have no idea, other than to do what will turn out best in the long run.
ADDING A LITTLE MORE: How Obama’s team set up Trump’s Syrian dilemma. From The New York Post.
“These are the people who for the last four years have been fighting on our behalf, with our equipment, to defeat ISIS,” Susan Rice [Obama’s former National Security Advisor] said. “And they have done it with enormous efficacy, and they have sacrificed immensely, and we basically just said to them, ‘See ya,’ and let the Turks, who are like the hungry wolf trying to kill the lamb, go for it.”
Over the last few days, a host of former Obama officials have been repeating this story, which is highly misleading, to say the least. Rice and her colleagues would have us believe that Team Obama created a highly effective plan for stabilizing the Middle East by working through groups like the YPG, and Trump, mercurial and impulsive, is throwing it all away by seeking a rapprochement with Ankara. That’s nonsense.
Read it all.