The ex-Commander of NATO just raised serious new questions of Trump blackmail by foreign powers

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President Trump’s abrupt and inexplicable decision to withdraw all American soldiers from Syria and abandon our Kurdish allies to the genocidal onslaught of the Turkish army has provoked a storm of outrage and disgust from both the other members of the coalition we assembled to combat the vicious terror group ISIS (ISIL/IS/Daesh) and the leaders of our own armed forces.

Former U.S. army general and former commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)’s army, Wesley Clark, joined CNN’s Chris Cuomo on his New Day show to express his disgust with the impulsive decision and floated the idea that Trump is being blackmailed by Turkey’s dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“There doesn’t seem to be any strategic rationale for the decision. And if there’s no strategic rationale for the decision then you have to ask, why was the decision made?”

“People around the world are asking this, and some of our friends and our allies in the Middle East are asking, did Erdoğan blackmail the president? Was there a payoff or something? Why would a guy make a decision like this? Because all the recommendations were against it!” railed Clark.

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A few days ago, it was revealed that Trump made the decision on a whim while he was speaking on the phone with Erdoğan, claiming that he had been assured that Turkey would handle the rest of ISIS by itself and that the United States wasn’t needed anymore.

Erdoğan had been pushing Trump to withdraw his troops since ISIS had been “99% defeated” even though they still had thousands of fighters capable of re-establishing their territorial control if the opportunity presented itself. So on a whim, Trump gave Erdoğan everything he wanted, shocking even the hardened tyrant at how easily he was able to get our weak-willed and impatient president to bend to his pressure.

Since 2016, Turkey has occupied parts of northern Syria under the guise of an anti-ISIS campaign that has largely been focused on checking the advance of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG/YPS) against ISIS and expanding Turkey’s territory. That has included the purging of captured regions of Kurdish and Yazidi residents and replacing them with pro-Turkish Arabs.

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Considering that the Turks have long been suspected of colluding with ISIS against the YPG, who they accuse of supporting Turkey’s own Kurdish separatist rebels, have been accused of financing ISIS by purchasing and refining oil from the group, and have ulterior territorial and ethnic cleansing agendas in the region, leaving the responsibility for the aftermath to Turkey is the worst possible thing that we could do.

It represents a stunning betrayal of both the Kurdish men and women who gave their lives to defeat the unspeakable evil of ISIS and the ideals of democracy and multiculturalism that the Kurdish-led nation-building project, the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, strive to cultivate in a region wracked with instability and extremism.

But the idea of a de facto independent Kurdish state is abhorrent to the Turks, who have been struggling to exterminate the Kurdish separatist groups in southeast Turkey and will go to any lengths to suppress Kurdish self-determination, including committing horrifying crimes against humanity.

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But Erdoğan has made sure to flatter Trump and fan his ego, like every half-bit dictator and strongman wannabe is sure to do, and has been rewarded with an American blind eye to anything the Turks might do — including Erdoğan sending his goons to beat the hell out of Kurdish protesters in the American capital.

The Trump administration dropped all charges against them.

When you add in all the conflicts of interest that arise due to the Trump organization’s business dealing with Turkey, it’s fair to wonder if there isn’t something going on behind the scenes. His move to pull out of Syria is universally opposed by everyone except the Turkish, Russian, and Syrian dictators — and of course, the butchers of ISIS, who likely are cheering at the news.

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Colin Taylor

Managing Editor

Colin Taylor is the managing editor of the Washington Press. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice, equality, and universal health care in America.

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