March 22, 2023

Trump just launched a disgusting smear attack against his top anti-ISIS official, Obama, and Sen. Corker

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President Trump took to Twitter this morning to smear his outgoing Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, Brett McGurk, who resigned in protest earlier this weekend over the Trump administration’s abrupt decision to unilaterally withdraw all our troops from northwestern Syria.

In a triple-whammy attack at President Obama, the outgoing McGurk and prominent Trump critic Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), he accused the Middle East diplomat of being part of the right-wing’s favorite conspiracy theory about their perennial boogeyman, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The cash transfer that Trump is referring to is the return of $400 million dollars to Iran that the United States gave back around the time that an American cruiser accidentally drifted into Iranian waters and was seized in January 2016.

Right-wing media had a field day in their shameless attempts to paint this as evidence that President Obama gave a $400 million “ransom” for the return of our servicemen, but as usual, they refused to do their homework.

In the 1970s, the United States made a deal to sell $400 million worth of fighter jets to their puppet leader, the Shah of Iran. The Shah paid upfront but was then deposed in the Iranian revolution, so the United States never delivered the jets.

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The return of that $400 million – which had ballooned to $1.7 billion after forty or so years of interest – was indeed used as a bargaining chip in the negotiations to release the American sailors that had been detained after their cruiser violated Iranian territorial sovereignty – but the distinction between bargaining chip and “ransom” is critical.

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The rest of the $1.3 billion was withheld and returned to Iran after the sailors were returned home safely, unharmed but for a few bruised egos. It was Iran’s money to begin with, and we were morally required to return it. It was not part of President Obama’s nuclear peace treaty with Iran, as Trump so rudely asserts.

McGurk resigned in protest because Trump’s unilateral withdrawal of our troops from northeastern Syria would leave our Kurdish allies vulnerable to the murderous onslaught of the genocidal Turkish army and their extremist proxy militias, who have already demonstrated in their conquest of Afrin canton that they are dead-set on purging the area of Kurdish and Yazidi peoples and replacing them with Turks and Arab Muslims.

Trump’s decision, which he made on the phone with the Turkish dictator, represents a stunning betrayal of the Kurdish YPG/YPS and their Syrian Democratic Forces allies, who did the bulk of the heavy lifting in the fight against ISIS and paid for it with thousands of lives.

The future of the fledgling Democratic Federation of Northern Syria is now in grave danger, as is the region’s best chance to establish an area of peace, stability, and democracy in the near future. The cowardly backstabbing of our allies and the abandonment of the supposed values of American empire is the reason McGurk resigned, and for Trump to turn this into just another petty feud for him to wage and an opportunity to promote talk-show conspiracy theories is beyond disgusting.

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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