Why the Kurds remain genuine friends of the West


On October 6, following a phone call with Turkish President Erdogan, Donald Trump betrayed the Kurds in Syria. Without warning, he ordered the small contingent of US soldiers on the Syria-Turkey border – whose presence there prevented a Turkish invasion of the Kurdish-led Syrian enclave – to withdraw. Turkey’s invasion came two days later, spearheaded by Syrian Arab proxies, several of them jihadi extremist. Turkey’s attack also brought with it very open plans for ethnic cleansing, given Erdogan’s stated intention of “cleaning out” what he called a “terrorist entity” and resettling the area with Syrian refugees from non-Kurdish parts of Syria.

The betrayal became the latest in a long litany of Western betrayals of the Kurds. The Treaty of Sevres in 1920 promised the Kurds self-determination in their homeland, but was quickly forgotten. In the 1920s, the British promised the Kurds of Iraq measures of local autonomy and respect for Kurdish rights, but these promises were likewise left by the wayside. In 1946, Britain and the United States convinced the Soviet Union to withdraw its support for the nascent Republic of Kurdistan in Mahabad, Iran, leading to the military defeat of the first Kurdish statelet and the hanging of its leaders.

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"Everything that has ever happened to us is there to make us stronger."
-John Trudell