As discussed in last week’s column, the withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria could result in serious consequences for allied Kurdish forces and innocent Arab civilians. Various extremist groups have infiltrated the area once defended by United States troops and are now posting disturbing videos and images on the internet, depicting in gory detail the immediate results of President Donald Trump’s ill-timed and ill-fated decision.
Just a few of these extremist groups populating this undefended areas are Jabha al-Shamiya, Ahrar al-Sharqiya, Liwa al-Salam, Faylaq al-Majd of the “Third Legion,” and Jaish Islam. The majority of these groups are focused on targeting Christian denominations and women.
Horrifically, a man (who is not clearly affiliated with any one of these groups but is currently residing in the abandoned area) posted a video featuring the corpse of a woman, reading “this is one of your whores whom you have sent us. This whore is under our feet.” The post exemplifies the type of human rights abuses taking place in the wake of the power vacuum left by the troop withdrawal.
According to the Jerusalem Post on October 24th, various United States diplomats have refused to call Turkish actions against the Kurdish in the region a human rights violation, ignoring their own country’s extensive involvement and alliances in the region. Similarly, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) stated on October 23rd that “Turkey and others have been allowed to slaughter [innocents],” yet another example of a U.S. official refusing to acknowledge the role that his country has had in allowing these violent acts in Northern Syria and surrounding areas.
Regardless of whether or not these circumstances are the direct result of President Trump’s order to take troops out of Northern Syria, the United States has clearly played a role in allowing these extremist groups to flourish. In order for action to be taken against them, it is crucial that this role is recognized and remedied.
Just days ago, President Donald Trump ordered the removal of troops in Northern Syria as a result of the Turkish incursion into Syria in order to resettle Syrian refugees. Prior to this complete withdrawal order, a small withdrawal occurred, triggering the incursion of Turkey into Syria, beginning what looks like a long, drawn out battle that can be traced to American incompetence.
President Trump has faced major backlash for this action on both sides of the aisle. Both Democratic and Republican politicians have condemned the decision to pull out of Turkey, with Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland stating that "President Trump gave Turkey the green light to attack the Syrian Kurds the moment he agreed to Erdogan's request to move American Special Forces away from key Kurdish-controlled areas.”
Not only is this a negative decision for President Trump’s approval in the United States and abroad, but it also has even more deadly consequences. There are two ISIS holding centers in the invaded portions of Syria that will be left to their own devices if Syrians flee as a result of Turkish invasion. This could be incredibly dangerous, as these captured ISIS fighters left ungoverned could create massive unrest and attack the area. ISIS thrives on chaos, and this poor decision on President Trump’s part could lead to the group gaining traction and power that multiple countries have been trying to take away.
President Donald Trump has referred to Syria as a land of “sand and death” with disdain, acting as if he is not the very person creating the danger and deadliness within this Middle Eastern country.
One thing remains clear. It is absolutely crucial that President Donald Trump and America as a whole must take action against the Turkish government for their horrific and flagrant disregard for the humanity of the Syrian Kurds.
Keep an eye out for the completely unbiased, in-depth analysis of this same issue from multiple different perspectives being released later this week on the IYPF website in the Geo-Military Relations Department.
Demi Lovato, an actress and singer best known for her starring roles in Disney’s “Camp Rock” and “Sonny with a Chance,” is now being accused of creating Zionist propoganda. This past week, she received massive backlash on social media for her recent trip to Israel. In a now-deleted Instagram story responding to the backlash, Lovato stated that she was “extremely frustrated. [She] accepted a free trip to Israel in exchange for a few posts. No one told [her] there would be anything wrong with going or that [she] could possibly be offending anyone.” However, the trip wasn’t just free: her posts were blatantly sponsored, but with nothing on the actual content specifying that fact, or by whom they were sponsored. According to a Ynet Report, Demi Lovato was paid $150,000 to visit and post about Israel, with $57,000 of that coming directly from the budget of Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, and the other portion coming directly from a private donor.
According to Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, or BDS, an anti-Zionist group fighting for Palestinian rights, this sponsorship of Demi Lovato is a blatant example of ‘art-washing.’ ‘Art-washing,’ or covering up settler colonialism and human rights abuses with the visits and positive opinions of cultural figures visiting, is precisely what many anti-Zionists frequently accuse Israel of doing, and unfortunately, it seems as though with this occurrence, they have been caught red handed.
Certain people, including journalist Madeline Fry for the Washington Examiner, feel as though taking a trip to Israel is not a crime, as she stated in an October 3rd article, “It’s unclear whether the backlash was just in [Demi’s] Instagram comments, but it’s disappointing to see the star cave to an online mob and apologize for something so innocuous.” Travelling unpaid is perhaps “innocuous,” however, it is clear that those gifting Lovato this trip had ulterior motives: promoting Israel’s reputation.
Whether you agree with BDS’s message and methods or not, the ambiguity of funds and motives behind Lovato’s posts seem to be rather clear indicators of ‘art-washing.’ Certain members of the Jewish diaspora, many of whom voice staunch disagreements to BDS’s message, have also been quick to be critical of a star being paid to post pictures simply to improve the reputation of a country committing human rights abuses on a massive scale.