US betrayal of Kurds destroys the West's credibility for years to come

14 October 2019, 11:56 | Updated: 28 October 2019, 15:26

The Kurds have been sold down the Euphrates.

America's credibility as a reliable partner and with it ours is now shot. Why should anyone do a deal with the West again and think it will mean anything?

The Kurds were our surrogate boots on the ground against the biggest terrorist threat of our time. Islamic State was butchering hostages and inspiring and masterminding attacks on us in our streets, nightclubs and markets.

But after the debacle of Iraq, as voters we forbade our governments from sending in troops to tackle the Islamofascists in their phoney caliphate.

Instead we used the Kurds. We persuaded them to be our infantry along with others supporting them in the air. They lost thousands of lives but thought it would be worthwhile.

And in one phone call, their closest partner gave their sworn enemy the green light to invade and destroy them.

Imagine the Allies in 1945 outsourcing the destruction of the Nazis to another fighting force - and then betraying it once the job was done.

There has been plenty of hand-wringing and the usual moralising at the UN.

But a week into this chaos and carnage and neither the British nor US Congress have come up with meaningful sanctions to make the Turks think again.

We have forced the Kurds to choose the lesser of two evils - a deal with Assad; the butcher of Damascus whose warplanes bomb hospitals, whose forces use chemical weapons on their own people, whose prisons have seen the torture and disappearance of tens of thousands.

That is the man we have forced some of our closest allies to now switch sides to. They have no choice because we deserted them, despite our enormous debt to them and their sacrifice.

Could they have seen it coming?

They aren't the first people to reach an understanding with the West and be let down.

The Kurds have learned the West is not a reliable partner.

Muammar Gaddafi learned it too as the mob killed him and sodomised him with a bayonet.

Tony Blair had promised him rehabilitation if he gave up his weapons of mass destruction, but he fell from power because NATO jets and western special forces helped the rising against him.

Iran has learned it the hard way too.

After five years of tortuous negotiations, it reached an agreement on its alleged nuclear weapons programme.

But Israel and hawks in Washington persuaded Donald Trump to renege on that deal - he unilaterally pulled out and placed Iran under crippling sanctions.

The US now wants Iran to return to negotiations on its terms, but why would Tehran bother if the next president could scratch out Trump's signature on any agreement as he has with Obama's?

The Kurds had an understanding with the West. It was a question of honour, that their sacrifice would not be in vain.

Trump seems never to understood that. They were expendable it seems.

America's betrayal of the Kurds, and Britain's reluctance to do anything about it, does enormous damage to our credibility as partners - potentially for years to come.