UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Donald trump is again accused of betrayal for the withdrawal of American troops from Syrian Kurdistan and the beginning of the Turkish operation. He is reproached for allegedly “giving” Russia not only Syria, but almost the entire Middle East. But it’s impossible to give something that you don’t own – Trump just did what it was time to do. And Russia is not strengthening its position in the Middle East because of Trump.
The American withdrawal from northern Syria, which opened the way for the Turkish operation against the Kurds, which, in turn, led to an agreement between the Kurds and Assad and the restoration of Damascus control over another part of the country, became the reason for Trump’s accusations of betrayal and work for Russia. For American “analysts,” everything is simple – surrendered the Kurds to the Turks, in the end, Putin won because Assad regained another piece of Syria.
Moreover, Trump’s betrayal will adversely affect the attitude towards America in the entire Middle East. Here is what Tom Rogan writes in Washington Examiner:
“By betraying those who lost thousands of people in the fight against the Islamic State, President Donald Trump showed his insecurity and showed that allies should not be made with America. During his visits to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, Putin tried to instill in these long-standing US allies a simple thought: “You cannot trust Trump, but you can trust me.”
Putin will try to convince them and Egypt of the need to leave the orbit of the United States and draw closer to Russia. “I can control your enemy – Iran,” Putin will say. But, he adds, “you have to pay for it: you have to buy more Russian military equipment and force OPEC to raise oil prices.”
… Putin will try to position himself as the guarantor of the security of the Kurds in their opposition to Turkey and at the same time the guarantor of the security interests of Turkey in its opposition to the Kurds. And then he will call the leaders of the Sunni monarchies and say: “What did I tell you? I am reliable, but America is not. You should listen to me and forget about the Americans”…
Trump is sure that he is ending a senseless war. But reality will show him that he made a very generous gift to America’s key enemy in exchange for just a few tweets. ”
And The New York Times writes that “in Syria, Russia is happy to fill the void left by the Americans,” and that what is happening now is “an unexpected gift for Putin” (moreover, quoting the Russian orientalist Alexander Shumilin):
“I must say that all the most significant successes of Russia in Syria were not achieved as a result of the deliberate efforts of Moscow. They simply fell upon Putin and Moscow as manna from heaven as a result of the specific behavior of Western countries and Turkey.”
Trump’s “betrayal” excited the Ukrainian elite: in Kiev they already write that “Trump has betrayed the Kurds – he will betray Ukraine as well.”
But in fact, Trump did not betray anyone and did not help any Russia. His actions in Syria are absolutely logical, as is the strengthening of Russia’s position. In 2019, it is ridiculous and stupid to say that Russia uses American mistakes and weakness in the Middle East, that it is being given gifts.
Russia used the American mistakes and weaknesses in 2012-2015, and now it is playing its own game, which the United States simply cannot prevent. They can help, and even then only indirectly, as happened in the case of Trump’s decision to leave Syria. But this help is of no fundamental importance: the US party in Syria was lost long before Trump – and the US president only did what it was high time to do. If the United States remained in Syria for even longer, this would not have helped either them or the Kurds. On the contrary, the longer they interfered with the Turkish operation, the worse their relations with Ankara became worse.
States could not stop the Turks from attacking the Kurds. They could delay the beginning of the operation, but not prevent it. Syrian Kurds have no chance of forming their own state – with or without American help. During the war, they occupied territories larger than traditionally controlled, and in any case in the future they would have to choose between returning to a single Syria and trying to fight on two fronts – with Damascus and Ankara. Now the Turks have pushed them to negotiations with Assad, which is welcome.
The Americans (in the amount of several hundred military personnel) did not play any military role in northern Syria.
They politically designated the American presence, which allowed Washington to insist that Turkey could not do anything in this region without agreement with the United States. And no matter how long the Americans have not stood in the north of Syria, sooner or later they would still have to evacuate in order not to fall under Turkish or Syrian fire.
But every month the Americans were in Syria worsened already so bad relations with Turkey: Erdogan has a lot of claims against the States, and Syrian Kurds are far from last among them. Leaving the north of Syria, Trump removed at least one important issue from the agenda of US-Turkish relations. But now he is forced to pretend that he is going to terribly punish Turkey. But America needs Turkey more than America Turkey. And Erdogan, who understands this, is ready to bargain with Trump to the last. It is useless to put pressure on Erdogan – the Americans, of course, can harm the Turkish economy, but for him the stakes in the game are very high: we are talking about Ankara taking not Kurdish cities, but a new geopolitical weight, transferring Turkey to the category of great powers.
Moreover, the operation “Source of Peace” will not be long: next week, Putin and Erdogan will probably agree on a temporary division of the Turkish-Syrian border and northern Syria, so that Turkish interests are taken into account (with the creation of a 30-kilometer security zone) , and Syrian (with the restoration of control over part of the border), and so that even the Kurds, if possible, do not feel humiliated. In any case, the Syrian settlement will continue to be resolved in the trilateral format of Russia – Turkey – Iran. All three countries have done too much to let other players stir up the water. The Americans now only legally put an end to their Syrian game, which actually ended for them a long time ago.
Gulf Arabs’ confidence in the United States was not undermined by Trump’s decision to leave Syria, but by the entire pre-Trump Middle East US policy. At first they defeated Iraq, which was an opponent of the Saudis, but balanced Iran. Then, in the course of Iraq’s chaos, Iran strengthened its position in Iraq, to the great “joy” of the same Saudis. Then the Syrian war broke out, during which Obama drew the “red lines”, giving the Saudis hope that the United States was close to military intervention. And nothing happened. Then the United States made a nuclear deal with Iran, also to the great dissatisfaction of the Saudis. And then, already under Trump, they left her. Gulf monarchs do not know what to expect from the USA, but they see that Russia is consistently and persistently returning to the Middle East. Came to Syria – and changed the situation.
Used the American mistakes? Yes, then, in 2012–2015, of course, not even with mistakes, but with all the consequences of the policies that the States carried out in the region. The United States has developed a region in which Russia has a lot of interests, and whose rulers remember well or know from history what a great role Moscow played in the region in the 1950s and 1980s, and have already managed to make sure that it is possible to deal with our country again .
In such situations, there are no Trump gifts: there was a gift from Obama (in fact, Bush, who started the Iraq war), but Putin has long used it. Now Russia itself is earning its reputation and increasing its influence, and the Americans can only watch what is happening. Yes, having huge military power in the Middle East, the deepest financial ties and just personal ties with local elites, the States have lost initiative and trust, they have ceased to determine even the agenda, but the dynamics of what is happening. You can’t go far on just promoting the “Iranian theme,” especially since the Iranians are not going to make any concessions, demanding, on the contrary, concessions from the United States. Now it’s important for Trump that Turkey does not turn into a second Iran for the United States – a former military ally,
So Trump is not up to the gifts of Russia – he himself would have received something Middle East from the Kremlin.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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