October 07, 2019
It is unclear whether Turkey has the will or capacity to take over detention camps
Latest betrayal of Kurds risks undermining defeat of Isis
In early 2015, as Islamic State trampled over armies of the Middle East and menaced the west, the USA turned to the Kurds for help. It was a familiar call, having been repeated over the decades whenever Washington needed a friend in the region. The outcome has been similar too.
Four years on, the people who helped safeguard the global order have been abandoned by the US on the eve of a Turkish push into Kurdish lands across north-eastern Syria. Betrayal has been an enduring theme whenever the US and the Kurds have partnered, but never before as nakedly as this.
As US armour and troops started to leave the region on Monday, a frantic Kurdish leadership was demanding explanations and readying for an invasion that could change the map of the region and prove hugely consequential in other ways too, including undermining the security gains achieved in the war on ISIS.
Since the battlefield victory, Syrian Kurds have swapped roles from fighters to jailers, detaining 90,000 suspected Isis supporters in four camps across the province. Guards remained loyal to the cause on the promise of ongoing patronage from Washington. They have far less incentive to do so now.
European states, deeply invested in what happens to the Isis camps, were blindsided by Trump’s announcement that Turkey would take control of them and sceptical that Ankara has either the will or capacity to do such a thing.
For its part, Ankara also appears to be surprised. The site of one camp, al-Hol, is not on maps it has prepared for its operation. Inheriting a headache on this scale seems to be part of a quid pro quo imposed on Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. A state dinner at the White House may well hinge on him agreeing.
Among the camp detainees are hard-wired ideologues who would be central to an Isis resurgence if given the chance. The spectre of a jihadist juggernaut once again roaming the plains of Iraq and Syria after using captivity to regroup – think the US-run detention centres in Iraq writ large – now hangs heavy over a region still grappling with the seismic regional power shifts that have defined Trump’s three turbulent years in office.
The abandonment of the Kurds is perhaps the most impactful of all. The debt owed to Kurdish forces is acknowledged by western security partners who realise Isis remains unfinished business. Trump’s US had found itself atop a world order it no longer wanted to lead and, more consequentially, no longer seemed to believe in. In the eyes of some bewildered regional allies, Iraq and Saudi Arabia in particular, the US has nothing left to offer but a chequebook.
Trump’s transactional worldview offers no place for history or morality. His ruthless short-term realism ignores the fact that the regional interests he does want to secure – containing Iran and securing Israel – are jeopardised by such a blatant betrayal.
For all the US president’s talk of taking on Iran, the Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil supply last month received no response from the US and has instead sparked a detente between Riyadh and Tehran that will inevitably lead to new trade openings and puncture US efforts to crush Iran’s economy.
When Trump first flagged a withdrawal from north-east Syria last December, his advisers were able to turn him around, partly by explaining that it would give Iran unfettered access in the province and make a coveted pathway to the Mediterranean Sea an easier bet. That logic stands 10 months on and has been reaffirmed by Iran’s activities near the Syrian border and in the Syrian port of Latakia.
Serving US interests is hardly a Kurdish priority now. Instead, allying with the Syrian regime in Damascus to ward off the Turks seems to be one of the few ploys open to Kurdish leaders, who would struggle to combat a full-scale Turkish invasion.
The prize for Turkey is significant: moving Kurds away from nearly the full length of the border and scaling back the gains made over the last six years by its arch-foe, the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), which dominates administrative positions in the region.
This would be a triumph for Erdoğan, who throughout the war against Isis prioritised Ankara’s enmity with the PKK over that with the jihadists – a stance that drew US distrust. In Turkey’s eyes, the US had partnered with its worst enemy, claiming a false distinction between local Kurds and the PKK itself, forcing it to look elsewhere for friends.
Whether Turkey has a new friend in Trump will remain an open question. Whether the Kurds can trust the US has already been answered. Vanquished yet again, the Kurds must be wondering what they need to do to secure any sort of loyalty.
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
7 Questions with Jamie Dornan
November 25, 2020
bqZLJEd8Gxs
Why 'Selena' star Christian Serratos Chose to Lip-Sync Selena's Songs
November 25, 2020
FNz_Pal3qeo
'Time' Director Garrett Bradley on Covering Incarceration, Why Black Family Archives Are Important
November 23, 2020
m7j3n7dPFOI
Interim ‘Jeopardy!’ host Ken Jennings slammed for wheelchair tweet | Page Six Celebrity News
November 25, 2020
GF8JOA07ZpI
The one with the cast of 'Friends', then and now | Page Six Celebrity News
November 25, 2020
FLlqmbxCjnI
Bill Murray’s brother Ed, inspiration behind ‘Caddyshack,’ dies | Page Six Celebrity News
November 25, 2020
VEzPd5ot58g
Santa-For-Hire Says COVID's Left Some Impersonators Out in the Cold
November 30, 2020
hgd5xnRT1q4
Kamala Not a Shoo-In for 2024 with Black America, Tamika Mallory Says | TMZ
November 26, 2020
YLoz9LmkeJ8
Flaming Lips Singer Wayne Coyne Breaks Down Bubble Concerts, COVID-Safe Fun | TMZ
November 26, 2020
lp8BvtRXGvw
Remembering Paul Walker: Rewind | E! News
November 30, 2020
0qjs1h05zNk
Disney Honors Chadwick Boseman on His 44th Birthday
November 29, 2020
UlyMVGnb3YA
Who Will Replace Alex Trebek on "Jeopardy!"?
November 29, 2020
2A-h7QSsq3s
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
30
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group Stage
Shanghai Shenhua - Perth Glory
30
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group Stage
Chiangrai United - Melbourne Victory
30
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group Stage
Beijing Guoan - FC Seoul
30
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group Stage
F.C.Tokyo - Ulsan
29
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Tottenham Hotspur
29
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Roma
29
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Wolves
29
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Southampton - Manchester United
29
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
29
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Osasuna
29
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Swansea City
29
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Hertha Berlin
29
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Hoffenheim
29
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Villarreal
29
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Celta Vigo - Granada CF
29
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Spezia
29
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Athletic Bilbao
29
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Crotone
29
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Udinese
28
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Stuttgart - Bayern Munich
28
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Koln
28
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Alaves
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Liverpool
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Burnley
28
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Juventus
28
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Inter Milan
28
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Valencia - Atletico Madrid
28
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Union Berlin - Eintracht Frankfurt
28
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - Schalke
28
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
RB Leipzig - Arminia Bielefeld
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Reading - Bristol City
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Watford - Preston NE
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Coventry
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Middlesbrough
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Stoke City
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Cardiff City - Luton
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Millwall
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Rotherham - Bournemouth
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - Barnsley
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Derby County - Wycombe Wanderers
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Sheffield United
28
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Verona
28
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Leeds
28
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Huesca - Sevilla
28
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Elche - Cadiz
22
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - AC Milan
22
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Leicester City
22
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Arsenal
22
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Torino
22
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Parma
21
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Barcelona
21
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Manchester City
21
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Hertha Berlin - Borussia Dortmund
21
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - West Bromwich Albion
21
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Cagliari
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.