Donald Trump’s confusing tweet about Syria has prompted widespread criticism and a sharp response from one Middle East expert, who says he has no idea what Trump is talking about.
As he faces growing criticism for allowing Turkey to conduct a military operation in Syria attacking America’s Kurdish allies, Donald Trump appeared to respond on Sunday morning with a tweet about the relationship between Syria and Iraq. In the message, Trump appeared to wash his hands of the attacks that have ensued.
“Do you remember two years ago when Iraq was going to fight the Kurds in a different part of Syria,” Trump tweeted. “Many people wanted us to fight with the Kurds against Iraq, who we just fought for. I said no, and the Kurds left the fight, twice. Now the same thing is happening with Turkey…”
“The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years. Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all. Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them! We are monitoring the situation closely. Endless Wars!”
Just one week before, the White House issued a surprise press statement saying that a small group of American forces would be moved away from the Turkish border in Syria in order to allow the Turkish military to launch its long-awaited operation. Turkey considers the Kurdish forces a terrorist group, though geopolitical experts say Turkey is more fearful of the Kurds controlling the semi-autonomous area in the northern part of Syria.
The tweet was slammed by those who believe that Trump is trying to cover for his decision to allow Turkey to launch its military operation in northern Syria, which experts warned would lead to death of America’s Kurdish allies, and could allow for Islamic State militants being held in Kurdish prisons to escape. Those predictions have come true over the past days, as reports have surfaced of civilian deaths and Turkish-backed militant groups executing captured soldiers and even a Kurdish politician.
Political analyst Ben Rhodes pointed out that Trump didn’t even seem to have his geography correct, apparently thinking that Kirkuk is in Syria instead of Iraq.
The tweet prompted a particularly sharp reply from Oren Kessler, a political analyst and the former deputy director for research and research fellow at the Washington-based think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“I’ve been working on the Middle East a long time and I have no idea what these words mean,” Kessler tweeted.