Profiles in genius
Once again President Neville Chamberlain Trump has astounded himself with his strategic genius, mastery of the diplomatic arts, and nonpareil IQ. The situation for the United States on the Turkish border with Syria is, in his words, "strategically brilliant."
Over the last five days, you have seen that a ceasefire that we [emphasis mine] established along Syria’s border has held, and it’s held very well, beyond most expectations.… This was an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else, no other nation. Very simple. And we’re willing to take blame, and we’re also willing to take credit.… We have done them [the Kurds] a great service, and we’ve done a great job for all of them.… Today’s announcement validates our course of action with Turkey that only a couple of weeks ago were scorned, and now people are saying, "Wow. What a great outcome. Congratulations." …we’ve done a good job…
Wow, indeed. The maximum supreme leader green-lighted ethnic cleansing and assorted atrocities in northern Syria, back-stabbed an ally, and performed amazing contortions as he patted himself on the back for it. Amnesty International and Human Right Watch report war crimes and other violations committed by Turkey and Syrian groups it backs both before and since the military incursion:
Turkey forcibly deported refugees into the a so-called "safe zone" in the months leading up to its incursion into Syria. (Amnesty International, Turkey Illegally Deported Syrians Into War Ahead of Anticipated 'Safe Zone,' )
Between January and September 2019 Turkish authorities in Istanbul and Ankara arbitrarily detained and deported "dozens of Syrians and possibly many more" to areas in northern Syria where active hostilities are ongoing. (Human Rights Watch, Turkey: Syrians Being Deported to Danger)
Turkish military forces and a coalition of Turkish-backed Syrian armed groups have carried out summary killings and unlawful attacks that killed and injured civilians, including the summary execution in cold blood of Hevrin Khalaf, a prominent Syrian-Kurdish female politician, and indiscriminate attacks that hit residential homes, a school, a bakery, and a civilian convoy where six civilians were killed and 59 injured in what one journalist described as "an absolute massacre." The humanitarian situation is deteriorating with some 100,000 displaced persons in need of food, clean water, and medical supplies. (Amnesty International, Syria: Damning evidence of war crimes and other violations by Turkish forces and their allies)
In the meantime the House of Representatives "voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to recognize the mass killings of Armenians a century ago as a genocide, a symbolic but historic vote instantly denounced by Turkey." (Patricia Zengerle, U.S. House recognizes Armenian genocide, backs Turkey sanctions). That will show them. The Turks hate when this happens.
The week finds the genius in chief basking in the demise of Abu Bakr al-Bag Daddy, a "minor cultist [who] helped turn the Fertile Crescent into a charnel house."
Al-Baghdadi and his movement did enormous damage to the image of Islam in the world, and committed genocide against Muslims.…
Just calling his organization the "Islamic State" was one way of trolling everyone. Baghdadi’s beliefs and practices were so far out of the mainstream of normative Sunni and Shiite Islam that they may as well have been Martians. (Cole, US Militarism, having Provoked ISIL into Being, Kills Cult Leader Baghdadi)
As someone, somewhere pointed out, I forget where I read it, taking out al-Baghdadi was the work of the Deep State, the intelligence community, and the military. The current occupant of the Oval Office went along for the ride as he watched on TV. When he addressed the nation "he basically gave us a snuff film, a film about somebody’s violent death, as a sort of entertainment" (Cole, Death of al-Baghdadi: ISIS Grew Out of U.S. Invasion of Iraq: Cole @ Democracy Now!).
No one here mourns the death of a brutal thug. The conditions out of which he rose to infamous prominence are still with us. Those who celebrate his removal from the scene as a game changer indulge in wishful thinking.
"I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President." —White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham. Sounds like Grisham has been getting pointers from the North Korea propaganda ministry, I mean, press corps.
Amnesty International, Turkey Illegally Deported Syrians Into War Ahead of Anticipated ‘Safe Zone’, October 24, 2019
Juan Cole, US Militarism, having Provoked ISIL into Being, Kills Cult Leader Baghdadi, Informed Comment, October 28, 2019
Cole, Death of al-Baghdadi: ISIS Grew Out of U.S. Invasion of Iraq: Cole @ Democracy Now!, Informed Comment, October 29, 2019
Caroline Kelly, White House: John Kelly 'was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President,' CNN, October 28, 2019
Frida Ghitis, Trump's lies on Syria were jaw-dropping, CNN, October 23, 2019
Ayesha Rascoe, Trump Calls Syria Cease-Fire 'Permanent,' Lifts Sanctions on Turkey, NPR, October 23, 2019
Remarks by President Trump on the Situation in Northern Syria, October 23, 2019
Alex Ward, Trump told 6 falsehoods about Syria in 4 minutes, Vox, October 16, 2019
Patricia Zengerle, U.S. House recognizes Armenian genocide, backs Turkey sanctions, Reuters, October 29, 2019