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Canada COMMENTARY: Canada is complicit in the shameful betrayal of the Kurds

19:10  12 october  2019
19:10  12 october  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

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a group of people posing for the camera: Kurdish women hold a banner with Arabic that read, © AP Photo Kurdish women hold a banner with Arabic that read, "We don't accept enemies and strangers on our land," as they protest against possible Turkish military operation on their areas, at the Syrian-Turkish border, in Ras al-Ayn, Syria, Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.

The storiesandimages that are starting to emerge from Kurdish areas of northern Syria are heartbreaking. The fact that this situation is unfolding in the first place is infuriating.

After all the sacrifices that Kurdish forces have made in taking the fight to ISIS and bringing about the end of the so-called caliphate, for the American president to throw them under the bus and subject them to this Turkish onslaught is beyond shameful.

Justin Ling: Like the Americans, Canada is throwing the Kurds under the bus

  Justin Ling: Like the Americans, Canada is throwing the Kurds under the bus The Kurdish people are currently seeing exactly how much Canadian allyship is worth. On Sunday, American President Donald Trump announced — via a tweet — that he would be withdrawing U.S. forces from northern Syria. Such a move had been rumoured for months, but it was nevertheless jarring. As the drawdown began on Monday, there were already unconfirmed reports that Turkish fighter jets had hit targets in the Kurdish-controlled area. On the campaign trail, Canadian leaders offered little more than handwringing in response to the looming military campaign against the vulnerable population — our close military and political ally.

Just a year ago, in fact, Donald Trump was praising the Kurds for their sacrifices and for being such stalwart allies, and vowing that the U.S. would not forget.

The president forgot to not forget, it seems. Not only are the Kurds now paying the price, but ultimately the Americans could, too. By alienating a key ally in the Middle East, fostering chaos in the region, and potentially even allowing ISIS to rise from the ashes, there could be serious harm done to long-term U.S. security interests.

Trump defends abandoning the Kurds by saying they didn't help the US in WWII

  Trump defends abandoning the Kurds by saying they didn't help the US in WWII When asked whether he felt his treatment of the Kurds sent a poor message to other potential US allies, Trump said, "Alliances are very easy."This came amid reports Turkish ground troops were crossing the border into Syria following airstrikes that began earlier in the day.

READ MORE: Turkish forces capture key Syrian border town

Trump even managed to blindside and anger many in his own party; a strange thing to do at a time when the president will need every possible ally in Congress and he faces possible impeachment.

But as much as we can and should call out and condemn Trump for his craven abandonment of the Kurds, we should also look at why Canada hasn’t been doing more. Our record is not one to be proud of, unfortunately.

On the campaign trail, the various federal political leaders have had little to say about the situation. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer condemned Turkey's attacks and described the Kurds as Canada's allies. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called the situation "troubling." Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said NATO should review Turkey's membership in the alliance because of the invasion. But overall, their remarks have been limited. An issue like this might upend the political script they’re all carefully trying to stick to, but this is the sort of matter a would-be prime minister should have to address.

Ottawa Kurds calling for action as Turkey attacks northern Syria

  Ottawa Kurds calling for action as Turkey attacks northern Syria Ottawa's Kurdish community is calling for action to stop the Turkish incursion into northern Syria that they say has put their family members and friends in danger. Organizations for Kurds in Ottawa are planning a rally Saturday at the U.S. Embassy to protest President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw American forces from the border region, leaving their Kurdish allies behind.Turkish forces began the offence on Wednesday and have continued their offensive against U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters. Casualties have continued to climb and thousands of civilians are fleeing the violence.

As for Canada's official response, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland did tweet out a condemnation of Turkey’s military incursion into Syria, but her statement said nothing at all about our Kurdish allies:

That tepid response is pretty much in keeping with the Liberals’ tepid support for the Kurds and their efforts to defeat ISIS.

One of the first things the Liberals did upon taking office in 2015 was to withdraw our fighter jets, which had been providing a support role in the offensive against ISIS — much to the chagrin of our Kurdish allies.

The Trudeau government did promise to supply weapons to the Kurds, but we never followed through on that. We’ve also ignored repeated pleas from the Kurds to deal with our foreign nationals, whom they’ve been holding along with other ISIS prisoners.

Moreover, when Kurds voted for independence in 2017, Canada ignored the result — after previously urging them to cancel the vote.

'We betrayed' the Kurds, US troops express anger at Trump's Syria policy

  'We betrayed' the Kurds, US troops express anger at Trump's Syria policy A wide range of American military personnel and defense officials are expressing a deep sense of frustration and anger at the Trump administration's refusal to support Syrian Kurds facing a Turkish military assault, over half a dozen US military and defense officials have told CNN. Several US military and defense officials, including personnel deployed to Syria, expressed dismay at how the Trump administration has handled the situation.One US official said it is well known that some senior US military officials are livid at how the Kurds have been treated given their role in helping the US fight ISIS.

At this point, the Kurds already have reason to question Canada’s commitment and the American betrayal may make them reluctant to trust anyone else any time soon. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore this issue and hope for the best.

READ MORE: ‘It’s craziness here’: Kurdish forces struggle to contain world’s unwanted ISIS prisoners in Syria

We need to be much more forceful in condemning the Turkish offensive and in pushing other NATO allies to take a harder line — perhaps even to consider sanctions — on Turkey. This may also be one of those rare instances where we need to call out our closest ally.

But if we’re going to try and drive the point home to the U.S. administration that abandoning the Kurds is a moral and strategic mistake, then we’d better be prepared to demonstrate our own commitment to that principle.

Hopefully, once the election is over, our new government will be prepared to take a meaningful stance on this situation. Unfortunately, things are growing worse each day. Waiting until Oct. 21 is a luxury our Kurdish allies don’t have.

Rob Breakenridge is host of “Afternoons with Rob Breakenridge” on Global News Radio 770 Calgary and a commentator for Global News.

Syria-Turkey crisis: Putin now owns this mess .
As US President Donald Trump hailed the agreement his administration negotiated with the Turks for northern Syria as "a great day for civilization," the Turks quickly dumped cold water over the White House's euphoria, refusing to even call the deal a ceasefire. Only a few hours later, airstrikes and artillery fire could be felt in northern Syria as the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces accused Ankara and its proxies of severe ceasefire violations. The mood both in Washington and in the Middle East is that the ceasefire is not the real deal.

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