President Trump met with Nechirvan Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan, on Wednesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Trump thinks all Kurds are Mr Kurd.— Hassan Hassan (@hxhassan) January 22, 2020
Here he speaks at length about Syria to Iraq’s Kurdish region president as though it was Mazloum Abdo of the Syrian YPG.
‘Thank you for keeping the zone safe.’
And to add insult to injury: “We’re keeping the oil’ pic.twitter.com/06vbWF4J7O
Barzani’s Iraqi Kurdish regional government has not been involved in plans for a safe zone along the Syria-Turkey border in areas claimed by Syria’s Kurds. The Kurds of Syria are geographically and politically distinct from the Kurds of Iraq. Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria are all home to Kurdish populations.
Trump’s also appeared to refer to his decision to pull U.S. troops from northeastern Syria in October, a move that paved the way for a Turkish invasion of the area and threatened Syria’s Kurds, who were key U.S. partners in the fight against the Islamic State.
In his brief remarks, Trump thanked the Kurds for holding thousands of Islamic State prisoners and fighting in the coalition that ousted the extremist group from its strongholds in Iraq and Syria. While Kurds in both countries were instrumental in those efforts, Syria’s Kurds have borne the brunt of securing tens of thousands of captured alleged fighters and their families.
Trump has come under fire before for his characterizations of the Kurds. During a news conference in 2018, he referred to Kurdish journalist Rahim Rashidi as “Mr. Kurd.”
Rashidi at the time said he actually appreciated the nickname because it asserted his Kurdish identity. A year later, however, after the U.S. troop withdrawal from northeastern Syria, he told the Associated Press that Trump had abandoned his people.
Earlier Wednesday, the White House’s official YouTube channel initially listed Trump as having met with the president of Iran at Davos, when in fact it was Iraqi President Barham Salih. The caption has since been corrected.
The United States and Iran almost went to war this month after Washington killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who was viewed by Washington as a terrorist and was held responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers. The two countries have no formal diplomatic relations.