On October 16th, US President Donald Trump spoke about Syria, Turkey and the Kurds at a press conference, alongside Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
The press conference was approximately 50 minutes long, and only a part of it was focused on answering questions and speaking of Syria, Turkey and the Kurds.
But in the little time that was allocated to that issue, some honest absurdities were said.
He made a surprising statement before the press conference, saying that the Turkish armed forces could attack the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), since Turkey’s decision “nothing to do with us,” and that the Kurds “are no angels.”
The first question of the press conference was related to northern Syria. Here is Trump’s complete answer:
“They’ve been warring for many years. It’s unnatural for us, but it’s sort of natural for them. They fight and they fight long and they fight hard and they’ve been fighting Syria for a long time and on the border. That’s the border with Syria. I say, why are we protecting Syria’s land? [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is] not a friend of ours. Why are we protecting their land?
And Syria also has a relationship with the Kurds, who, by the way, are no angels, okay? Who is an angel? There aren’t too many around.
But Syria has a relationship with the Kurds, so they’ll come in for their border and they’ll fight. They may bring partners in. They could bring Russia in, and I say welcome to it. Russia went into Afghanistan when it was the Soviet Union and it became Russia. It became a much smaller country because of Afghanistan.
You can overextend, you can do a lot of things. But frankly if Russia is going to help in protecting the Kurds, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. Syria doesn’t want Turkey to take its land. I can understand that. What does that have to do with the United States of America? Syria does have a relationship with the Kurds.”
He said that the Syrian Arab Army and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, despite being “the devil,” according to his administration and most, if not all, of MSM, would protect the Kurds.
He also welcomed Russia taking part in that conflict, since “Russia went into Afghanistan when it was the Soviet Union and it became Russia. It became a much smaller country because of Afghanistan.”
But then, he made an even more interesting statement:
“The PKK, which is a part of the Kurds, as you know, is probably worse at terror and more of a terrorist threat in many ways than ISIS.”
Of course, the Turkish side welcomed that statement, because for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and others it is particularly true. But it makes little sense coming out of Trump, since the SDF, which was under US protection until recently, is at least partially made out of PKK members.
Kurds aside, Jonathan Karl, ABC’s White House correspondent, asked: “You don’t think the country’s worried about ISIS? You mentioned earlier you think some of the countries might hate ISIS more than the United States.”
Trump, though, said that it wasn’t the US’ worry since it was 7,000 miles away and it would be perfectly fine if Russia handled the group. Which, wouldn’t be much different from what’s been transpiring for the last 4 years, since the war on terror was primarily “won” by Russia and the Syrian Arab Army, rather than the US-led coalition.
“Absolutely. Russia hates ISIS as much as the United States does. Iran hates ISIS. I mean, we’re fighting a war for Russia, we’re fighting a war for Iran? You look at Syria. Syria hates ISIS. We’re over there killing ISIS. Don’t forget, we’re 7,000 miles — so we’re killing ISIS, we’re 7,000 miles away. Russia is much closer. Iran is right there, Turkey is right there. They all hate ISIS. Turkey a little bit less so, but the others very much. Russia had a plane blown up by ISIS. Russia wants nothing to do with ISIS. Russia’s tough. They can kill ISIS just as well, and they happen to be in their neighborhood.
All I’m saying is this, I’m not going to lose potentially thousands and tens of thousands of American soldiers fighting a war between Turkey and Syria. Syria’s not our friend. Assad is not our friend. That’s the way it goes.”
Finally, he defended his decision to pull out US troops from Syria, since they were initially planned to stay there “for a month” and they’ve been there for a decade, despite it not being even half that long.
“We were supposed to be in Syria for one month. That was 10 years ago. And we’ve been a police force. It’s time to bring our soldiers back home. That’s the way it is. We’ve had no soldiers injured or hurt. That’s because I’m president. We’re the boss. Just remember that. We have the most powerful military in the world by far.”
Today was Trump’s 1,000th day.
Things he did:
-Told Turkey & Syria to fight over sand
-Pushed conspiracy in Oval Office
-Bragged about his "many Italian friends”
-Called his election “corrupt”
-Kurds “no angels”
-Called Pelosi “third-grade politician"https://t.co/l4OObcFJuI
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) October 16, 2019
Separately, a letter, allegedly written by Trump and addressed to Erdogan, dated October 9th was released to the public.
It was later confirmed by the White House that it is, in fact, genuine.
The letter is astounding, as it appears to be perfectly cohesive and presents the style of the current US foreign policy perfectly. Trump wisely warned Erdogan not to be a “tough guy” and not to be a “fool.” He enclosed a letter of SDF commander General Mazloum, which wasn’t released to the public.
The letter is impressive, mostly because it looks like an invite to a birthday party with its simple vocabulary, and abundance of exclamation points. Especially as it concludes with “I will call you later,” as if Trump just wants to clear things out with one of his friends and partake in some gossip.
The US Congress, in turn, voted on a nonbinding resolution that states its opposition to the withdrawal of US Troops from northern Syria.
The resolution says that Turkey should stop its advance and that the White House should present a plan for an “enduring defeat” of ISIS.
Democrats and Republicans approved the nonbinding resolution by 354-60 vote.
It essentially means nothing, since it is nonbinding and the White House doesn’t need to adhere to it.
But it does express the opinion of both parties that the Trump administration’s moves in northern Syria and the enabling of Turkey to carry out their advance is unappreciated.
Senator Lindsey Graham said Trump’s decision will allow ISIS to reemerge and added that the president will “be held accountable.”
He said that the President’s decision “is against all sound military advice” and that he hopes Trump “will reconsider, stop the bloodshed and reset the table before it’s too late.”
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called the U.S.-Kurd partnership “a terrific alliance” that set the Islamic State group back and said he is “sorry we are where we are.”
Senator Roy Blunt said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “has not been a reliable ally. The Kurds have been a reliable ally.”
The congressional vote is unlikely to lead to anything, but still the Republican and Democratic senators are attempting to distance themselves from Trump’s decision.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- US Considering Ways To Remove B61 Nuclear Bombs From Incirlik Air Base, Turkey: US Media
- Turkish-Backed Militants Capture Eleven Villages Around Tell Abyad, Ras Al-Ayn (Photos)
- Turkey, United States And Russia Are In Close Contact Over Northern Syria