Turkey is preparing to launch an assault on northeast Syria in the same area where the US military has been working with Kurdish troops to curtail ISIS insurgents. The White House has declared that the US will now disengage, permitting Turkish forces to drive the Kurds out of Syria. This is a heartbreaking announcement. The Kurds are the Evangelicals of the Muslim world.
America never had stronger supporters in the region. This is not the first time the US has turned its back on this ally. The Kurds stood with America against Saddam Hussein and were gassed by the dictator's military with a combination of mustard gas and various nerve agents. As many as 5,000 civilians were killed and 10,000 injured. Many more succumbed to the after-effects of the attacks from birth defects and other diseases caused by the chemicals.
Now, hundreds of US troops will be removed, opening the door for yet another all-out assault against the Kurds. According to Fox News, the Pentagon was "completely blindsided" by the announcement. President Donald Trump feels justified in his decision to withdraw US military because, as he stated: "The United States was supposed to be in Syria for 30 days, that was many years ago. We stayed and got deeper and deeper into battle with no aim in sight. When I arrived in Washington, ISIS was running rampant in the area. We quickly defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate."
In his statement, he added, regarding captured ISIS fighters: "The United States will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer….Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years…"
Turkey's leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sees this move as a major swing in the US approach. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the US and of which the Kurds are a part, have lost more than 11,000 men while battling ISIS in Syria. Its leaders have avowed their commitment to help both Turkey and the US to maintain solidarity in the region.
US representative and Democrat Ruben Gallego of Arizona, a veteran of the Iraq war, tweeted: "Allowing Turkey to move into northern Syria is one of the most destabilizing moves we can do in the Middle East. The Kurds will never trust America again. They will look for new alliances or independence to protect themselves."
In May of 2007, I was invited by President Massoud Barzani for a state visit to Kurdistan. While there, I interviewed Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani, as well as many of the then-members of government. It was an enlightening visit as I heard the terrifying stories of those who survived the chemical weapons onslaught. During that time, I also released The Final Move Beyond Iraq, a New York Times #1 bestseller that predicted what became known as ISIS.
During that state visit, I met with virtually every major leader in the country and saw firsthand their love and admiration for America and their amazing moderation. People have referred to Trump as Cyrus. Cyrus the Great was a Mede, as were the wise men that came to Bethlehem to see Jesus. The Kurds are descendants of the ancient Medes. It was the Kurdish leaders who told me that ISIS was coming two years before it was formed and that Iran was going to take over Iraq and would wreak havoc in the region.
Why can't we just listen to the Kurds?
Mike Evans is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with 96 published books. He is the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem of which the late President Shimon Peres, Israel's ninth president, was the chair. He also serves on the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative.