Dear Dispatches:

Trump made the decision to abandon the Kurds and Rojava on the fly, in a conversation with his bro Erdogan last night (Sunday night). I would very much like to hear the recording of that call, or see a transcript. It’s another gift to Trump’s Daddy, Putin, but it is so disastrous to U.S. interests in the region and in the rest of the world that eleven Republican Senators immediately came out against it, including Moscow Mitch and Lindsey Graham. Add nine more to that number and you’ve got Trump’s removal from office after impeachment.

The reaction to this shameful cowardice was so overwhelming just in the first day that he’s trying to find a way out of it, in his “great and unmatched wisdom.” He’s got several things going for him. Number one is that the Turkish military is a mess, after the coup and retaliation, and may not be able to get it together to invade Rojava anytime soon. And if they do, they’re going to have to go up against one of the fiercest fighting forces in recent memory in the YPG and YPJ. The forces that took Afrin were mostly Jihadist mercenaries and the atrocities committed there have been closely observed by the rest of Syria. Number two is that the U.S. military knows this is insane and is in no hurry to retreat from ground they and the Kurds fought and died to protect. They have also grown to respect the revolutionary forces. Number three is that even Putin knows it’s a really bad idea to release 10,000 ISIS fighters and 70,000 ISIS family members into the environment at this point.

On Monday, Pat Robertson told viewers of the 700 Club that he is appalled by Trump’s decision to abandon the Kurdish fighters in Syria, which will allow the Christians and Kurds in Syria to be massacred by the Turks. Robertson said, “I believe , and I want to say this with great solemnity, that the President of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen.” This statement is much more consequential than anything any Republican Senator could say. Evangelicals comprise over 25% of the U.S. population. Many of them currently believe that Trump is the messenger, the Trumpet, of God, and that ancient prophecy supports this. They are poised to vote for Trump in 2020 in numbers that would dwarf the evangelical turnout for Reagan or Bush.

So, I’m waiting to see what happens in the next 24-48 hours, and trying to get news from Rojava. This morning (Wednesday), Trump announced he’s invited Erdogan to the White House on November 13, to roll out the bloodstained carpet for him. I wonder if Erdogan will bring the 15 thugs he brought last time that were indicted for beating up peaceful protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence.


[Note: David Levi Strauss has written on Rojava and the Kurds for Dispatches several times including “David Levi Strauss to Dispatches, 11 April 2016” and “The News from Rojava, by David Levi Strauss“. See also Brooks Johnson on Rojava, “The poetics of stateless democracy.”]