As Turkey Invades, Kurds See Betrayal Once Again by Yaroslav Trofimov – Wall Street Journal
In Kurdish history, there’s a betrayal that looms large. In the 1970s, the U.S. armed Kurdish fighters to rise up against Saddam Hussein in Iraq, as part of an effort to help the pro-American Shah of Iran. Then, once the Shah suddenly struck his own deal with Saddam and no longer needed the Kurds, Washington simply walked away, ignoring Kurdish pleas to help avert an imminent bloodbath.
“Covert action,” then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger famously told a congressional committee, “should not be confused with missionary work.”
Today, as four decades ago, the Kurds in both Syria and Iraq are realizing just how disposable they are to the regional—and global—powers. That’s especially so now that Kurdish help is no longer needed in the campaign to topple Islamic State, and as geopolitical alliances shift in the contest over the future of Syria and the entire region.
In northern Syria, the American- (and until recently Russian-) backed Kurdish forces this week came under a military onslaught by NATO ally Turkey, which is seeking to capture the Kurdish area of Afrin on its border, and threatens to invade other Kurdish-held regions of Syria further east.
In Iraq, a different military operation by the U.S.-backed federal government of Iraq seized key territories, including the oil-rich area of Kirkuk, from Kurdish forces in October. Baghdad continues economic sanctions against northern Iraq’s self-ruled Kurdistan region, holding out the prospect of further military action…