Praemonitus, Praemunitus –
We Stand on Guard for Thee – WTF Version
Trump removed some US troops from Syria – not all (he said all) just those who were standing between Turkey and the Kurds. Turkey is annihilating the Kurds. Russia is helping Turkey. Turkey has the second largest military among NATO nations.
ISIS/ISIL wanted to use Syria as their home. The US didn’t want to commit ground forces in large numbers. Instead, they looked for a local force that could do the job with US support. That would be the Kurds. But Turkey has been trying to eliminate the Kurds for decades – enough to total two centuries depending how you read history – and in outright war for the past 31 years.
One of the things the US had to do was put a formation – call it a wall on Turkey’s southern border – between Turkey and the Kurds. That way, the Kurds could defeat ISIS without being eliminated by Turkey. The US said to the Kurds: you go do our work; we’ve got your back. This is the US force that Trump has removed – not all US troops in Syria, just this small, important force.
Canada was in Syria – on the ground and in the air – with the full approval of Parliament. Look up Operation Impact. Canada helped but the Kurds did the heavy lifting.
This Trump-ordered action benefits ISIS, Turkey, Russia, and Iran. No matter what happens, Russia will benefit. Of the four beneficiaries, only one is – nominally – an ally. Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952. They are not a founding member.
I have worked with Turkish exchange officers. I have sat at the NATO table representing Canada and the officer representing Turkey sat at the same table. Seating at the head table had meaning. From left to right across the head table: US, Turkey, UK, chairman, host nation, Canada, Netherlands unless the Greeks – another NATO member – were present in which case Greece sat to the right of Canada.
Turkey doesn’t like Greece. In 1974, a unit of the Canadian Airborne Regiment stood their ground in the path of a full-scale Turkish invasion of Cyprus – an effort to decimate the Greek Cypriots. This is called peacekeeping. This is why peacekeepers must be combat capable troops. Small Canadian force in a hot engagement with a big Turkish invasion. Three Canadians died. The Green Line held. Today, Turkey occupies about a third of Cyprus. That is deemed illegal by the international community. Cyprus has de jure sovereignty but not de facto sovereignty. Just like Ukraine.
There is no good reason why Turkey should be allowed to remain in NATO – except for their geography, except for their perfect positioning on the south-east flank, except for the wall that they could be in keeping Russia out of the Mediterranean, and except for keeping them from becoming a Russian ally. So, we put up with them. And we lie to ourselves.
US military casualties in Syria: six killed. Canadian Forces casualties in Syria: four killed. Kurdish casualties: 11,000 killed. ISIS/ISIL? Eliminated except for the ten thousand-plus who the Kurds were holding captive until yesterday. They are now unguarded. They are free. The Kurds are busy defending themselves against Turkey backed by Russia. The Americans have left the Kurds back door ajar.
Casualties in the coming weeks? Turks – several. Kurds – all of them. Russians – zero. And, one American.
Which one American? The one at the root of the problem, the one who cannot keep a promise, the one who has no concept of history, the one with no integrity, the one who cannot plan past Friday, the one who cannot tell the truth, the one who cannot be trusted, the one who is responsible, the draft dodger, our NORAD ally. Yeah, that one. To be eviscerated on the floor of the Senate if there is any justice.