Last Sunday evening, the White House unexpectedly released an official statement, stating that based on a telephone conversation between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the U.S. will withdraw its troops from northern Syria, which is currently under the control of Kurdish forces.
It seems that Trump has made this decision without consulting with his national security advisers or senior Pentagon leadership. This decision came as a surprise to foreign policy and military experts, who all agree that the decision to pull the U.S. troops not only will lead to the slaughter of the Kurds, but also will clear the way for the “Islamic State” to return to those areas, which will put the national security of the United States at risk.
Since the pullback decision was announced, members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, have been protesting this move. Politicians from all sides insist that since the Kurds fought alongside the U.S. and sacrificed to defeat ISIS and take back the land which was under their control, the U.S. should not abandon them. They point out that the betrayal of the Kurds by United States will send a message to the world that in the future no one should put much hope on America.
For a long time, Turkish president Erdogan has been trying to persuade Trump to pull American forces out of the Kurdish regions, so that Turkey can move in and create a “security zone” along the border with Syria. As soon as the American forces cleared the way, Turkey started its advance into northern Syria and a humanitarian crisis is in the making.
Next week, Congress is returning from its two week recess and bipartisan resolutions are already being suggested to punish Turkey and force it to stop its onslaught against the Kurds. It remains to be seen if Turkey will back down, or it will keep on pushing to achieve its longstanding goals of decimating the Kurds and occupying the oil rich regions of the Syrian territory.
With his ill-considered decision, Trump has once again reminded everyone that the West cannot be a reliable ally for small nations. As in 1921, when France abandoned Armenian units which fought with the French army after World War I, and pulled out of Armenian Cilicia, handing it over to the Kemalist forces, so does America today. The Kurds were the ground force during the US-led war against the Islamic State, and now they are being left alone to fight against a well-equipped Turkish Army.
These developments should also serve as a lesson to the “pro-Western” circles in Armenia, who want to distance Armenia from Russia and link the fate of our nation to America or NATO. No matter how much we disagree with some of Russia’s moves in our region, it remains our most trusted and reliable strategic ally. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, when he first came to power, rightly announced that Armenia’s military and political orientation is not subject to change.
Europe can be a beneficial partner to Armenia in many ways, but it cannot guarantee the security of its borders, and the latest events are further proof that faraway America cannot become a reliable ally for Armenia either.