Kurdish Man In Iceland "Not Surprised" By Trump's Syria Withdrawal, Fears For Lives Of Kurds - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Kurdish Man In Iceland “Not Surprised” By Trump’s Syria Withdrawal, Fears For Lives Of Kurds

Published October 8, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Salah Karim, a Kurdish man living in Iceland and a long-time advocate for Kurdish liberation, spoke frankly with the Grapevine about the recent news that US President Donald Trump plans to withdraw US forces from northern Syria to allow for Turkey to make military incursions.

The decision has been deeply unpopular, even amongst Trump’s normally strongest supporters, not least of all because the Kurdish people live in this region, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been very clear in his intent to engage in more military incursions against the Kurds.

Salah Karim, an advocate for Kurdish liberation has been very vocal about the cause, told the Grapevine that the news of Trump’s decision did not come out of nowhere to him.

“I am not surprised, but shocked by Donald Trump’s craziness,” Salah told the Grapevine, saying that his initial reaction to the news was that it was “tragic” and would likely result in much bloodshed. He points out the Turkish military incursions into Afrin and Kobane, both of which resulted in massive loss of life and displacement for Kurds.

“The Kurdish people of Rojava are left at the mercy of the most barbaric fascist state of the 21 century,” he says. “Not only Rojava, but all Kurdish models of democracy are in serious danger.”

Despite internal pressures on Trump within the US government, Salah says he is “reasonably pessimistic” at the possibility the US President might reverse course. He points out that Erdoğan’s words and actions against the Kurdish people have continued without objection from the rest of NATO, of which both Turkey and the US are a part.

“Trump having his own problems at home, he is finding an opportunity to shift the focus,” Salah tells the Grapevine. “While pleasing arms dealers by using Erdoğan. What a dirty game this is.”

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