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Trump’s move in Syria should alarm U.S. allies

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What experts have long dreaded finally happened in northern Syria last week. Following a U.S.-Turkey presidential telephone conversation the night before, U.S. troops stationed there started to withdraw from the region on Oct. 7. Within less than 48 hours, Ankara began its military incursion into the Kurdish region of northern Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to be determined to eliminate the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which mainly consists of Syrian Kurdish militias known as the YPG. Although Ankara aims to “water the east of Euphrates with fountains of peace” in this military operation, it is in fact flooding Syrian Kurdish soil with blood.

For Turkey, the SDF is a nest of Kurdish extremists who maintain close ties with the PKK in Turkey, which Ankara calls a terrorist organization. For the United States, the SDF/YPG is one of its staunchest allies in Syria, without which it would not have been possible for Washington to declare victory last December in the war against the Islamic State extremists.

Fatal mistakes in politics are the worst kind of errors because they are irreversible and extremely detrimental. They are often made by intuition, coincidence or misjudgment, and politicians do not always recognize when they have made them. This is exactly what U.S. President Donald Trump and Erdogan did last week regarding Syria.

Despite the appalling magnitude of their mistakes, Japan’s mainstream media didn’t seem to care much. The decision, however, was detrimental for three possible reasons: greater instability in the Middle........

© The Japan Times