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[flagged] Turkey has begun attacking Syria (nytimes.com)
113 points by jbegley 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 67 comments

Not Syria, the Kurds in Syria. US allies, that were fighting ISIS alongside US armed forces (and before that, assisted them in the Iraq war). Turkey is doing this in coordination with Iran and Russia. The US president agreed to this for nothing in return to the US.

edit: It is shameful to HN that this is flagged. This is an act of genocide.

For people not familiar with the Kurds, they're a large, effectively stateless ethnic group that was arbitrarily split up after WWI and has been oppressed in both Iraq and Turkey ever since. The Kurds have always wanted independence in some form, but nobody is going to just give them a state. They exist as large percentages of the population of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. They make up between 18-25% of the population of Turkey, so when they threaten revolt, it's a pretty existential threat to the nation, hence Erdogan trying to wipe the Kurdish militia (and really, the entire ethnicity, including its language, dress, and even their name itself) off the map.

I hope the Kurds and other such groups remember this in the future. You can't count on the US as an ally.

People hardly remember the Bay of Pig...CIA armed/trained/funded Cuban dissidents to overthrow the Castro regime and promised air support, the US let the go in and reneged in the support and the CIA backed Cuban's got slaughtered. The only difference is imagine if JFK had taken to twitter to mock the deaths.

You don't have to go back that far. Check the 2008 Russo-Georgian War: https://www.history.com/news/russia-georgia-war-military-nat...

"...nothing in return to the US."

Cui bono?

It's almost like Russia has some sort of influence over the President of the USA.

The Kurds in Syria are not allies, they are an enemy of an enemy acting as a temporary friend.

Against ISIS, the US and Russia cooperated as well, but this does not make them allies either who should rush to each other’s defense.

New York Times is deliberately avoiding mentioning the Kurds by name but that's the typical New York Times MO. The NYT's foreign policy position has always been low-key pro-imperialist. They'll never flat out explain that the US will never do anything to protect Rojava from Turkey because Turkey is a more valuable strategic ally.

Maybe in 5-10 years they'll leverage guilt of our inaction in Rojava to justify invading some other country.

Welcome to the future: Erdoğan ‏publicly announced this attack via Twitter.


This title is misleading. They are not attacking Syria, they are attacking separatist groups backed by the US in coordination with Syria's military.

First I've heard that Turkey is attacking with (or in coordination with) the Syrian Army.

Why is this relevant on HN?

I'm not saying this is uninteresting, but I think it's a good idea to have clarity on what should be relevant on HN and what shouldn't.

>Why is this relevant on HN?

Aside from this being politically and potentially ethnically/religiously divisive...it is historical. You have Turkey invading Syria to use force against a militia funded/armed/trained by the US. In response the US President took to Twitter to essentially say go in and kill everyone, we have no interest...meanwhile another politician from the same party took to Twitter to tell Turkey not to go into Syria, because, well the US Congress hasn't authorize them to.

Its ridiculous and important, but goes to show while people are dying in armed conflict, for which we are in some ways responsible, our highest political leaders are taking to Twitter.

Before Twitter those political leaders would just privately have a laugh about the genocide they just green lighted over a glass of scotch.

Certainly they still will.

Though in the past it may not be as private as you might think...the United States Senate has spittoons spread across the Senate Chamber as they are considered a Senate tradition. That tradition consisted of the Senators getting so drunk during sessions they used to throw up in those spittoons as they were deciding the fate of the plebs.

The guidelines are pretty clear: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

This story probably won't be on the front page for long.

When oppressive regimes start trying to wipe out revolutionary factions of its largest ethnic minority, it's geopolitically interesting

I guess in the world of geopolitical hacking, this incoming genocide is a consequence.

So, run your virus checker, don't open emails from unexpected senders with weird attachments, and please, for the love of god, stop voting in russian spies for public office.

It will be flagged.

We can try to vote it back.

Sometimes dang makes exceptions, and this seems like a good candidate.

It’s the end of the first successful socialist experiment since the 30’s. Systems of people are interesting to nerds too. I don’t see why this would be off topic.

Turkey ? Socialist experiment ? Did I miss something ?

The Kurds, I believe.

Who flagged it? Can anybody do that? Is there a review process?

Weird how everyone focuses on Trumps -admittedly- idiotic retreat and his tweets, while one thing is very rarely mentioned: How the bloody hell can it be that one NATO-Member needs troops on the ground to prevent another NATO-Member from comitting a genocide?

That rabbit hole leads to asking why NATO members are considered more moral and enlightened than other nations.

Turkey was invited to be a NATO member (and accepted) due to Cold War fear of the USSR, and historic conflicts with Russia. So NATO overlooked Turkey's shortcomings in the interest of realpolitik, and Turkey played nicer in the interest of NATO's reputation.

Turkey has played (or been played by) shifting allegiances with "the West" and Russia since the late Ottoman Empire.


we left Turkey in NATO for 20 more years, mainly because, why not? Selling them weapons is hella profitable!

As far as I recall, NATO was always seen as a organization of western democracies. IIRC there are and were only at least nominally democratic countries members - Spain was only admitted after Franco. And genocide was always the line every country drew - e.g. Bosnia, Rwanda...

Neither Bosnia nor Rwanda were ever members (or close to becoming one). Turkey is a very special case, so much so that it's still militarily occupying parts of an EU member state while being a NATO member.

The Red Scare and later having millions of loyal voters inside Western Europe are very good playing cards though, and Turkey knows that Europe hates conflict and won't ever go beyond uttering concern.

And we also forget the many refugees kept away from Europe by Erdogan. He'll sure use that as a negotiation tool...


as he should. considering his country is paying up the nose to burden the cost of war on behalf of Europe.

what genocide are you talking about?

Assuming you're American, imagine if Native Americans were to form a separatist organisation with 10,000s of civilian casualties (both kurdish and turkish) over decades. And then imagine if the people has interpreted your actions against this particular group as "genocide". How would you feel?

Good point. Frankly, NATO should have been disbanded along side the Warsaw-pact. That being said, the lack off outcry reminds me a lot of a certain period in european history... Appeasement, i.e. we pretend to be surprised about the genocide

Really looking forward to this set of phone conversations getting declassified.

What are some good sites to stay abreast of this issue (and foreign affairs in general)?

The Intercept is incredible: https://theintercept.com

Associated Press appears to have live updates here: https://apnews.com/5bf8e9bfa25c45ef9d4dfcef352e26a3

Erdogan is facing serious internal problems: how to solve it?

Start a war, search for enemies: force newspapers talks about something else.

Iran, who is a Kurds ally, has started military drills along Turkish border. Hope this does not escalate.

I think the American Republic is failing. We expect a certain steady-stateness about things given how short our lifespans are. But there's no guarantees that the American system is or continues to be a viable one.

My understanding is that the tremendous power given to the Executive is balanced by the Legislative. But I cannot believe that the Republicans in the House and Senate are supporting the White House in good faith I'm pretty convinced they're playing a metagame, largely about keeping their jobs, keeping their power, worrying about re-election and the 2020 election. So, to me, that system is broken and there is nobody stopping the President from acting like a King.

I used to say to my wife that if he ever did anything completely off limits, that would be it. But clearly I'm wrong. So my joke years ago about the U.S. annexing part of Canada the way Russia did with Ukraine is not insane anymore. Clearly nothing needs to make sense for Trump. And the Americans in congress are spineless cowards.

I also don't think any of this is appropriate for Hacker News. But I don't social media and I'm angry and scared.

We can't just blame Trump for this though. It goes all the way back to the House's vetoing Obama from reprisals against Assad for using chemical weapons in 2013, on the basis that Syria wasn't America's problem.

Trump simply supported that position in his campaign, and lo and behold, what happens a matter of weeks after the US has both a president and a House leadership that have said bombing Assad for using chemical weapons is not in the US's interests?

Assad uses chemical weapons, because why wouldn't he, and Trump ends up bombing him for it anyway. Meanwhile about a hundred civilians, including a hospital full of children, die.

Now I'm a UK citizen, so I sympathise. The US is in an unenviable position. Nobody in the US deserves to carry the can for any of this. Nevertheless, this is the world we live in and it's the job leading politicians sign up for. Moral, responsible leadership matters.

I'm a Reagan-Thatcher era lifelong conservative voter. I supported the second Gulf War, I still think it's up in the air whether that was the right thing to do. The status quo back then was also horrible and arguably breaking the deadlock with Saddam was worth attempting. But I've had it with modern US Republicanism. It's demonstrated very clearly it will knowingly sacrifice lives for electoral gain, and allow a situation to deteriorate in which the US and Western allies have already lost lives and are likely to lose them again.

This isn't the conservatism I grew up with.

It's not the American Republic, it's the Neocon Empire that is falling apart.

Pointlessly spending blood and treasure on endless overseas brushfires and internecine squabbles is something I would be very glad to see expunged from US foreign policy.


I'm reading this to imply that without the US acting as the world police and bombing populations into submission, authoritarian regimes are gaining ground. That's kind of a crappy situation on both sides. Where is the rest of the Western world that supposedly supports democracy and freedom now?

>Where is the rest of the Western world that supposedly supports democracy and freedom now?

The Europeans are basically too tired of war after WWII and decades of being right next to the Soviets during the Cold War, and after continental Europe was bombed out in WWII and then occupied by the Americans, they relied on the US for defense mostly. Over in Japan, they were bombed and then occupied by the Americans too, and avoided building up too much military force or projecting power. So that mainly leaves America and to an extent the other 5-eyes nations (UK, Australia, Canada) to counter the powers that have always tended towards authoritarianism.

The US doesn't need to drop bombs to exercise power. As the strongest nation economically, all we had to do was maintain a united front with our allies using soft power except we have a fucking toddler in the White House who can't play well with others.

> Where is the rest of the Western world that supposedly supports democracy and freedom now?

Now suddenly without the support of the largest superpower with the largest military in the world.


Would you please cut out the ranty, nasty comments that you post and just stick to the thoughtful ones? It's good that the ratio has been moving in a better direction, but we still need you to follow the rules here.


You should care because the next time America makes promises to someone with life and death on the line, they won't believe us.

Well...maybe they shouldn't, its definitely not the first group of people we have armed/trained/funded and let down when push comes to shove.

Perhaps we should stop funding/arming/training people militarily to begin with.

Its' not about that they 'start killing each other', its that the US has purposely left a people defenseless against a know aggressor. The USA has once again enabled genocide. Of their allies this time.

It's not "each other", it's the US supporting Erdogan in attacking former allies against ISIS.



Please don't take HN threads further into nationalistic flamewar. Obviously we're here for something better than this.


Just wow. To paraphrase

"I don't care about other peoples suffering." "I do care about oil. This doesn't really effect oil tho."


"So I don't need to care about any of this, and I don't"


You might be a person who literally only cares about things that directly effect them. You might want to have that looked into.

Please don't reply to a bad comment with another bad comment. This is in the site guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.

Here's what to do instead: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html#cflag.


Verbs and nouns matter.

If I had a dollar for every time somebody called me a psychopath for not being a bleeding heart, I'd have... oh, a few dollars.

Sometimes it's just time to cut bait.

pennaMan 9 days ago [flagged]

How about breeding a brand new generation of people who have good reason to deeply hate the US? Does that directly affect you?

I didn't call you a psychopath, but seems like it's something on your mind. Lack of empathy is a defining trait.

If you find yourself on occasion wondering if you are, or other people pointing out that you might be, that certainly doesn't mean that you are. More likely you've post hoc created a narrative and justification of 'don't care'.

That doesn't make it better - arguably worse. The psychopath has an excuse.

'Bleeding heart' - yeah nice one. That must be it.

Every time there is a libertarian socialist experiment, they are almost immediately surrounded by millions of armed fascists. Happened in Catalonia, happens every time.

I just hope that there are not mass rapes, ethnic cleansing, and so forth as has happened in the past.

War is always terrible but this one we are directly responsible for which is very painful.

Why did this comment get downvoted? It's not falsifying the situation, or what's going to happen.

Probably because most of us think that Turkey is going after the Kurds in Syria not because the Kurds tried to implement socialism, but because the existence of their separate space in Syria encourages the Kurds in Turkey to also want a separate, independent space (or state).

Right but everything I said and everything you said about Erdogan’s motivations can be true at the same time.

Look: in rojava you have Kurds, yazidis, Arabs, all living together without conflict. In turkey you have the suppression of the Kurdish language and ongoing ethnic strife. The two motivations go together.

I’m pretty sure it’s because I used the word “socialism” which provoked a negative emotional response among a certain set of people.

Another great success for Trump...

But everybody since the independence war should know that being a US ally is not something you can really count on.

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