25 October 2019   Leave a comment

If one had any doubts about the hardball politics of the competing states in the Middle East, one need only to ponder the fate of the Kurdish General, Mazloum Abdi, who was the leader of the Syrian Democratic Force in Syria that fought alongside the US against ISIS. In his earlier letter to Turkish President Erdogan, Trump encouraged him to talk to Abdi saying that Abdi was “willing to make concessions they never would have made in the past”. Today, President Erdogan demanded that the US hand over Abdi because he is a terrorist: “Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded the United States hand over the commander of Kurdish-led forces in Syria, in a sharp rebuke of Washington’s call for negotiations with the Syrian Kurds.”  US Congressional leaders have been pressuring the State Department to issue a visa for Abdi in order to determine the best way for the US to support the Kurds, who have been abandoned by President Trump. On a separate matter, the US is going to send 500 troops and tanks to defend the Syrian oil fields. The argument that the US betrayed the Kurds so that US soldiers could come “home” rings hollow.

Mazloum Abdi

Protests in Iraq are continuing and in the most recent demonstrations, about 40 Iraqis were killed. Al Jazeera describes the discontent fueling the demonstrations:

“Renewed anti-government demonstrations in Iraq have gripped the capital, Baghdad, and swept through several other cities in the country’s south, leaving at least 30 people dead, according to the country’s human rights commission and a monitor.

“The protests on Friday came three weeks after an earlier bout of rallies erupted as a result of widespread anger at official corruption, mass unemployment and failing public services. More than 150 people were killed during those demonstrations amid a crackdown by security forces.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi took office about a year ago and he has yet to establish a well-functioning government. Increased instability in Iraq will rattle many states in the region. The demonstrators are using an very unusual image to press their case against the government–the Joker as portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix.

Posted October 25, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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