President Trump is new on the world stage but his role of finding an effective yet safe strategy to handle problems between Turkey and the nationless Kurds has challenged leaders since the 19th century.
Neither Turkey nor the Kurdish people living in Turkey and Northern Syria have a direct connection to the Islamic State, but they are poised to aid in the fight against ISIS. Although the US has had a very large impact on issues within the Middle East, President Trump has so far lived up to his promise that American troops will not spearhead further invasions into the region. Instead, Trump favors limiting the US role to supervising the internal forces and training the foreign armies on dealing with militant threats such as those currently residing in their countries.
The Syrian-Kurdish forces now control Northern Syria along that county’s border with Turkey – land that is part of the territory promised to them after Turkey and Germany were defeated in WWI. Under the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920, the Kurds were to get a state that included parts of Turkey, Syria and Persia, but Turkey refused to sign it and instead the Turks formed a republic that included ethnic Kurdish regions.
US forces have found themselves in a pickle when it comes to making friends. How do we forge and enforce a movement whose two biggest contributors hate each other?
Scholars are looking for a solution that will help build better relations between the Turks and the Kurds even after the fight to defeat ISIS has ended. The mission is to disperse the powers of Syria throughout the entire country to be sure that, when [and if] President Bashar al-Assad is replaced or removed, the country will have enough stability and knowledge of independent regions to put itself back together again with a lack of conflict.
Michael E. O’Hanlon, “How to Work with the Kurds – and Turkey – in Syria, ” Brookings Institution, March 24, 2017, www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/03/24/how-to-work-with-the-kurds-and-turkey-in-syria/
Jennifer Cafarella, Kimberly Kagan, Frederick W. Kagan, Institute for the Study of War, and Critical Threats Project, “U.S. Grand Strategy: Destroying ISIS and al Qaeda, Report Four,” Institute for the Study of War, March 14, 2017, www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/americas-way-ahead-syria.
“Who are the Kurds?” BBC News, October 31, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29702440
Student Researcher: Steven Bolduc (Indian River State College)
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)