Pollak: Trump’s Critics Offer No Diplomatic or Political Solution for Kurds

Members of the Kurdish Jewish community hold Kurdish and Israeli flags during a demonstration near the American consulate in Jerusalem on September 24, 2017, in support of the referendum on independence in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, the day before voting polls open. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit …
AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images

Few critics of President Donald Trump’s policy in Syria have offered any kind of diplomatic or political solution to the Kurdish dilemma in Syria. Their only answer is for the U.S. to maintain a long-term presence in the area — one that has not been authorized by Congress.

Ironically, when a diplomatic and political solution presented itself, few bothered to support it. Now that Turkey has crossed the border, many are reacting solely out of political concerns.

The best example of the latter is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who campaigned for Congress in 2018 on an explicit platform of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria and almost everywhere else. Her campaign website said: “Alexandria believes that we must end the ‘forever war’ by bringing our troops home.” Once President Trump began to move in that direction, she found a reason to oppose his policy — though without offering any kind of alternative.

Two years ago, Breitbart News was one of the few outlets to devote significant attention to the Kurdish movement for independence. When Kurds in Iraq voted overwhelmingly to support independence, few others in the American media noticed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supported the cause of Kurdish independence; Iran was opposed to it. In any event, Iraqi troops — with Iranian backing — marched into Kirkuk, ending the Kurdish effort.

Few seemed to care — and certainly few of those now protesting President Trump’s withdrawal. Israel’s support for Kurdish independence was dismissed as mere opportunism. Conservative interest in the fate of ethnic minorities in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere was criticized as neoconservative adventurism. In any case, the Authorization for Use of Military Force allowing U.S. troops to be in Syria deals with terrorism — but not the Kurdish cause, however noble.

Kurdish forces — apparently out of spite — are now preventing the U.S. from taking custody of “high-value” terror detainees in Syria. No doubt the media will blame Trump for that. But the president has been talking about leaving Syria for months, if not years. What have the Kurds done to prepare? When the British spoke of leaving Palestine after 1948, the Zionists prepared to declare independence the next day. Have the Kurds prepared for self-reliance?

Did those who support the Kurdish cause today do anything to promote a solution? My colleague, John Hayward, makes a compelling case for an independent Kurdistan. Regular readers of Breitbart News will recognize some of his arguments from past coverage. As for the rest of the media — where have they been? Have they identified any Kurdish leaders to whom the world can turn? Or is the Kurdish cause just another brick to throw at Donald Trump?

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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