Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump. AFP photo
During a talk about the failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15 US presidential candidate Donald Trump said he is a “big fan of the Kurds” and expressed hope that the Turks and Kurds could work together against the Islamic State (ISIS).
Speaking to two New York Times journalists, who pointed out that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not a “fan of the Kurds”, Trump said, “it would be ideal if we could get them [Turkey and the Kurds] together.”
“And that would be a possibility,” he added. “I’m a big fan of the Kurdish forces. At the same time, I think we have a potentially – we could have a potentially very successful relations with Turkey. And it would be really wonderful if we could put them somehow both together.”
In both Iraq and Syria Kurdish forces have spearheaded offensives against ISIS and prevented that group from expanding its territory.
Trump also expressed sympathy for the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein recently, arguing that while he might have been a “bad guy” he at least “killed terrorists.” He also lamented the fact that people “went crazy” when Hussein threw around “a little gas.”
That was a clear reference to Hussein’s use of poison gas during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980’s and on the Kurds throughout the Anfal campaign of the same decade. During that campaign Hussein’s regime killed at least 180,000 Kurds, which included the infamous killing of 5,000 with chemical bombs in Halabja in 1988.
In a September 2015 radio interview with Hugh Hewitt Trump confused the Kurds for the Quds Force, the extraterritorial branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, after Hewitt asked him what he thought of that branches leader, Qassem Soleimani.
Not knowing who Soleimani was Trump asked for elaboration and then mistook ‘Quds’ for ‘Kurds’, adding that he sympathized with the Kurds who he said “have been horribly mistreated.”