US President Joe Biden made it clear in 2019 that he felt President Trump had “sold out the Syrian Democratic Forces – the courageous Kurds and Arabs who fought with us to smash ISIS’s caliphate — and he betrayed a key local ally in the fight against terrorism” to appease Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Dr. Eric R. Mandel, director of the Middle East Political Information Network (MEPIN) said in an article published on the Hill.
As another Turkish invasion into Kurdish territory looms, Mandel called on Biden to stop the Turkish invasion before it leads to the re-emergence of the Islamic State.
After the military defeat of ISIS in 2018, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw all 2,000 US troops supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). As of 2022, there are still some 900 US soldiers in the region aiding the Kurds, to prevent the resurgence of the jihadist group.
However, SDF Commander Mazloum Abdi made it clear in an interview with The Associated Press that, “If Turkey attacks … the war will spread to all regions” and that his forces will have to stop working with the US-led international coalition in order to focus on the Turkish attacks.
Mandel pointed out that while Biden may believe the US is at risk of over-extending itself, since the war in Ukraine and protests in Iran also rage on, refraining from involvement in Turkey’s attacks “would be a mistake, as a resurgent ISIS would call the US back to a far more chaotic Middle East”.
Mandel believes that Erdoğan has made a “calculated decision” that Biden will not interfere with the invasion. Turkey’s strategic position in NATO will also embolden him, he says. Turkey has made demands to Sweden and Finland, including extraditing political dissidents, in order for their support in the Nordic countries’ NATO applications.