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The Guardian view on Trump and Syria: damage has been done | Editorial

The Guardian view on Trump and Syria: damage has been

The ditching of Kurdish-led forces threatens to destabilise the region further. It is just the latest proof of the dangers of this president’s foreign dealingsWherever US policy on Syria settles in the coming weeks and months, damage has already been done. Two announcements within a few hours encapsulated both the style of Donald Trump’s presidency (personalised, ignorant and erratic) and its perils. The first, a White House statement, followed a phone call with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and blindsided everyone, including parts of Mr Trump’s administration. It not only announced the abrupt decision to withdraw troops from the north-eastern area bordering Turkey, abandoning the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces with which the US has partnered, but gave the green light to a Turkish invasion. The second – a tweet, following a furious backlash even from his own party at the prospect of further chaos in a desperately unstable region – announced that should Ankara do anything that “I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey”. But Ankara sees the SDF as indistinguishable from Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey and has long sought to eradicate them. Now it is poised to launch an offensive – likely to boost Mr Erdoğan’s flagging domestic popularity. It then wants to move many of its 3.6 million Syrian refugees – a source of growing complaints at home – to the area, reengineering its demography. Turkey never forgave its ally for partnering with the SDF; but Mr Erdoğan may now find that thanks to Mr Trump he has taken on more than he can manage. Continue reading…

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Publish date : 2019-10-08 18:06:10

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