Kurds betrayed in Syria

Britain and the US have turned their backs as Turkish soldiers have invaded one of the few peaceful corners of Syria.


Turkish soldiers enter Afrin
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Three years ago the triumph of the Kurds over Isis in the Syrian region of Afrin "was widely hailed as the closest one can come, in the contemporary world, to a clear confrontationof good against evil," says David Graeber in the Guardian. Today, the same thing is happening, but this time "world powers are firmly on the side of the aggressors". By tolerating the Turkish invasion of Kurdish-controlled Afrin, Britain and America are "sitting idly by while Turkey launches an unprovoked assault on one of the few remaining peaceful corners of Syria".

It makes "little strategic sense" to alienate Turkey over the Kurds, according to Michael Singh in Foreign Policy. Turkey is "the world's 17th-largest economy and one of the Middle East's primary military powers". Indeed, it is hard to imagine the US accomplishing anything much in Syria in the face of Iranian and Russian resistance "if we cannot even manage to find common ground there with our putative ally".

The Kurds' plight is painful, says David Ignatius in The Washington Post, but "if the Kurds were betrayed in Afrin, it was by the Russians". They promoted themselves as Afrin's protectors and had six outposts in the region, but withdrew their troops two months ago, giving Turkey a "green light for its assault". The US-Turkish confrontation is now moving to the town of Manjib, and we must do our duty there. Not only does the world owe the Kurds a debt for defeating Isis, but acceding to Turkey's demands here will lead to "bloody chaos" that might spread. It would therefore constitute a "policy mistake", as well as the "moral abandonment of a faithful ally".

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Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

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