Do These Colors Run? Will United States Stand by its Ally?

Trump has declared as one of his accomplishments the defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS) which has lost much territory in Iraq and Syria. There is little doubt that the program followed by Trump had been in effect prior to his time taking office. How he changed or fine tuned it is not clear.

It is reported that in early December he said at a cabinet meeting : “I want to thank General Mattis for doing such a great job with respect to ISIS. He’s knocked the hell out of them. Of course, I’ve made it possible with what I’ve let you do.” He’s made the claim on earlier dates.

The major fights against ISIS were in Iraq at Mosul and in Syria at its de facto headquarters  Raqqa. The United States in both of these fights provided air support and back up ground advice and assistance. It was not the United States troops who did the ground fighting. In Mosul it was the Iraqi and Kurdish forces; in Raqqa it was the Kurdish forces as is told about here.  These Kurdish forces armed by us have proved a formidable ally in the defeat of ISIS to this date.

Earlier this month Secretary Tillerson committed the Unites States forces to a long term stay in northeast Syria. He told how the United States is planning to train “a 30,000-strong border force to protect the Kurdish-controlled area of northeastern Syria. ”  Included in the area where this force is to operated to prevent ISIS forces from infiltrating back into Syria is Afrin. The Syrian forces were driven out of Afrin and control of that area fell into the hands of a Kurdish force known as the YPG.

It is reported here that in “early 2015, the [YPG] . . . won a major victory over the Islamic State at the Siege of Kobanî, where the YPG began to receive air and ground support from the United States and other coalition nations. Since then, the YPG primarily fought against ISIL, as well as on occasion fighting other Syrian rebel groups.[. . . In late 2015, the YPG founded the Syrian Democratic Forces upon the US’s urging, as an umbrella group to better incorporate Arabs and minorities into the war effort. The SDF’s Raqqa campaign was launched in late 2016 to capture the city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital.”

From all I can tell the Kurds have been doing the ground fighting for the USA.  But push is coming to shove because Turkey has decided it does not like the idea of the 30,000 Kurdish force  planned by the USA. Its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called them “an army of terrorists,”and it has undertaken an invasion  of Syria to drive the Kurds out of the area around Afrin. The United States is facing this dilemma but it is doing it without any boldness.

According to this our position set out to Turkey by Marine Corps Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, is: “We don’t consider {[PG] as part of our Defeat ISIS operations, which is what we are doing there, and we do not support them. We are not involved with them at all,. The groups that we support are exclusively involved in operations countering Daesh.” 

(This is like Clinton’s statement regarding Lewinsky that it depends on the meaning of “is.” Now that they have done our bidding we aren’t involved with them.)

Turkey’s Erdogan has stated that he got the OK for the campaign against what many called the United States backed forces from Russia: “There’s no stepping back from Afrin. We discussed this with our Russian friends, we have an agreement with them, and we also discussed it with other coalition forces and the United States .” Did the USA give the green light to Turkey to attack its allies?

The YPG “called on the United States and its allies to meet their responsibilities to “our forces and our people in Afrin”.

The Kurds are about to learn that the United States  is only an ally when it needs them to help us. When it comes to us helping them, well that seems to be another story.  Yes, the answer seems to be, these colors do run. Not a good lesson to be sending out to the world; and believe me the world is watching.



7 thoughts on “Do These Colors Run? Will United States Stand by its Ally?

  1. A very complex situation. To cast epithets upon your own nation, the good old USA, is conduct unbecoming an officer. Better to say simply, America is facing a tough situation. Yes, Congress withdrew all funds from the South Vietnamese Gov. & Army which resulted in their eventual demise, but that was a political miscalculation, a breach of promise, it did not mean, as you write, “America’s colors run.”

    Those most harmed by ISIS were fellow Middle Eastern Muslims, like the Kurds.

    The Kurdish-Turkish dispute/conflict has a deep history, unrelated to the United States, and I’m sure like most things in the Middle East pre-existing by centuries or millennia the very existence of the United States.

    Our colors did not run at Bunker Hill, Valley Forge, Antietam, Gettysburg, the Plains, Little Big Horn, under Pershing during trench-gas warfare, at Normandy, the Bulge, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, the Tet Offensive, Khe Sahn, Da Nang, along the Cambodian border, in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan . . . and around the world today . . .our blood ran . . .many of us bled out for life and liberty . . .and to help others pursue freedom

    America is a force for good in the world . . .it makes mistakes, as we all do . . . it doesn’t run.

  2. A nation has interests. Towards other nations it is soulless. A government is disloyal to its own people when it promotes the interest of any other nation to the detriment or expense of its own folk. There is no place for romanticism in the conduct of foreign affairs.

    “Tillerson committed the Unites States forces to a long term stay in northeast Syria. He told how the United States is planning to train ‘a 30,000-strong border force…'” The effort would be better spent training and deploying a 30,000-strong border force along the Rio Grande to the Pacific Ocean.

    Trump is not an improvement on his last several predecessors in these matters. There is nothing and no one in the Middle East that is worth the nail clippings of a single American soldier.

    1. “The effort would be better spent training and deploying a 30,000-strong border force along the Rio Grande to the Pacific Ocean.”

      Who’s gonna mow America’s lawns?

      That would be a spectacular waste of time, money and effort. That’s three divisions of trained troops or cops or both. How about we put that money into education? Real education.

      1. Mow your own lawn if you cannot afford to pay American wages. Sen. Rand Paul mows his.

        More than enough money is spent on education as it is. Probably too much.

        That being said, there are many, many other better ways to spend US taxpayers funds than on border patrols in the Middle East. Heck, it would even better to not bother taxing the public by the amount.

        1. We’re shouldn’t even BE in the Middle East.

          If they fixed the roofs on the public schools in DC maybe they can all open on time some year.

          Hear any good Marion Barry jokes lately? They never go out of style here inside The Beltway.

          Be cool.

  3. Wa-llahi! The Kurds are divided into three factions. Two of the factions are the modern faces of Kurdish feudal tribalism at its’ worst, the Barzanis, and, the Talabanis . The remaining faction, Ocalan’s folks, is Marxist Leninist. YPG is an off-shoot of Ocalan’s people. It’s a delicious irony that America is supporting Kurdish Marxists in their independence endeavors. Even better, the same camps SF used to train YPG infantry are being used as boot camps for militant socialists from all over the world, including the USA (There’s gonna a be a Hollywood movie out about it). The Kurdish republics of Syria are Republican Spain for this nascent generation of revolutionists.

    All praise to the Commie Kurds! All power to the dialectic!

  4. Oh, yeah, the problem for the Turks is that the US trained, and, equipped, two brigades of YPG infantry in exchange for YPG’s commitment to the siege of Raqqa. That included two battalions of 105 tubes for organic fire support. The Commie Kurds won’t be a walk over for the Turks. It’ll be a fight.

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