President Donald Trump’s decision to remove troops from northern Syria leaves the Kurdish people vulnerable to attack and weakens the U.S.’ status as global allies.
President Trump and his administration declared Oct. 6 they will pull troops out of northern Syria. A statement from the Press Secretary said this decision came after President Trump’s phone call with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, on the same day.
U.S. troops had been in Syria to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) since 2015. They successfully worked with the Kurdish people, an ethnic group residing in Syria and other parts of the Middle East, to drive out ISIS, a terrorist group operating in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East who are responsible for the death of thousands of people.
Throughout his campaign, Trump promised he would defeat ISIS if he got elected. However, this doesn’t seem like a probable outcome given his decision to remove troops.
President Trump previously stated he would be removing troops in December 2018. According to a CNN report, John Bolton, former U.S. national security advisor, countered troops wouldn’t be leaving until ISIS was defeated and the Kurds were safe from any harm.
The decision to pull troops from this region has received backlash from both the Kurds and individuals in the U.S. government.
Nikki Haley, who formerly served as President Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted in opposition to the decision to pull the troops from the region.
“The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake,” Haley tweeted Oct. 7.
Many others, including Senators Mitt Romney R-UT. and Lindsey Graham R-SC., also criticized Trump for this decision. Romney said Oct. 7 removing troops would be “a betrayal” to the Kurds over Twitter. Graham affirmed he would bring the decision to the Senate if Trump goes through with it. He vehemently spoke out against why this decision will cause further turmoil in Syria. Graham believes this decision would provide ISIS with an opportunity to resurge.
Those opposed to the removal of troops say his decision will cause instability in the region and leave the Kurds vulnerable to an offensive attack from Turkey. This is not an issue particular to any political party — it’s a matter of right and wrong.
The U.S. needs to look at Immanuel Kant’s just war theory and its three components: jus ad bellum (justice before war), jus in bello (justice in war) and Brian Orend’s addition of jus post bellum (justice after war).
Presently, the U.S. is neglecting the third component. Jus post bellum means there must be peace and stability within the place of war. It states the nations or countries involved make sure they don’t leave the place where the war took place in turmoil or instability.
On Twitter, #KurdishGenocide was trending in the Chicago area with more than 38,000 tweets Oct. 10. The hashtag features people expressing their disdain for the removal of troops, as well as haunting photos of the victims of Turkey’s attacks. It’s disturbing and disheartening that Trump would turn a blind eye to what could become a massacre of people who bravely fought beside the country in the fight against ISIS. It shows the world our allies are just a means to an end.
On Oct. 9, Turkey began attacking the Kurds by launching airstrikes and artillery fire on the people. One day after this initial attack, CNN reported 24 Kurds — both civilians and armed fighters — were killed and many left injured. The BBC reported the number to be at 86 civilian deaths as of Oct.18.
President Trump made it quite clear he doesn’t care about what happens in the region. He tweeted that other nations besides the U.S. can try and handle the situation now. This left a vacuum for Russia to step in and support the Kurds.
His decision allowed Turkey to move in on the Kurds, knowing they didn’t have the U.S. to back them up anymore. In the statement from the press secretary, the Kurds aren’t even mentioned. It appears since ISIS no longer poses a threat in the region they can just simply up and leave. If the U.S. is going to participate in conflicts in the Middle East, then they need to see out their involvement to the end.
With all the Kurds did to help the U.S. in the fight against ISIS, the U.S. should be showing gratitude toward them — not leaving them to be slaughtered.