Talk about strange bedfellows! This week witnessed the surreal spectacle of US National Security Adviser John Bolton, the most bellicose neoconservative in the Trump administration, visiting Turkey to try to forestall an Ankara attack on radical-left, anarchist-leaning Kurdish fighters that the Pentagon has been backing to fight ISIS in Syria. “We don’t think the Turks ought to undertake military action that’s not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States,” Bolton told reporters in Jerusalem before leaving for Ankara. Refering to the Kurdish YPG militia, a Turkish presidential spokesman responded: “That a terror organization cannot be allied with the US is self-evident.” Bolton left Turkey without meeting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who then publicly dissed the National Security Adviser’s stance as a “serious mistake.” (Al Jazeera, Politico)
YPG spokesman Nuri Mahmud, in turn, shot back at the Ankara administration: “Turkey, which has been a jihadist safe-haven and passage route to Syria since the beginning of the conflict, has plans to invade the region and destroy the democracy created by the blood of sons and daughters of this people.” (ANF)
Trump’s announced imminent withdrawal of US troops from Syria last month was a clear green light for Turkish intervention to crush the Kurdish autonomous zone of Rojava in northern Syria. With ISIS nearly expunged from Syrian territory, the Rojava Kurds had outlived their usefulness to the empire. NATO ally Turkey was to serve as Washington’s proxy to solve its Kurdish “disposal problem.” The fact that the White House is now back-pedaling from this cynical plan is testament to the worldwide outcry over the betrayal of Rojava. It is our job to keep this pressure on.
Days after Bolton’s Turkey fiasco, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Cairo, where his venomous comments before a university audience will disabuse of their illusions any who thinks the Trump administration really has any degree of support for revolutionary forces in the Middle East. While he vowed to “expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria, he offered no plan on how to achieve that goal—and certainly said nothing about expulsion of the genocidal Assad dictatorship from Syria. Pompeo’s address came a decade after Barack Obama delivered a landmark speech at another Cairo university, and Pompeo unsublty excoriated Obama for “fundamental misunderstandings” about the region that “underestimated the tenacity and viciousness of radical Islamism.” (NYT)
In other words: That’s where all that revolution jazz leads—straight to hell. The wogs aren’t ready for democracy. Clearly, even the neocons now prefer the “stability” of regional dictatorships to the unpredictable consequences of “regime change.”
Obama spoke in Cairo as the currents that would lead to the Arab Revolution were gathering momentum in the Middle East, and he (however equivocally) at least sought to make an appearance of encouraging them. Pompeo spoke as regional strongmen and despots are conspiring to close that chapter once and for all, and re-establish an authoritarian order in the region—with complete US support.