IT’S not often I agree with supporters of US President Donald Trump, but Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, hit the nail on the head this week.

“A disaster in the making,” was how this otherwise Trump ally described the president’s decision to abandon the Kurds to the all-out offensive by Turkish forces that is currently underway.

Senator Graham is also right in his assessment that the president’s latest ludicrous decision leaves the way open for a comeback by the jihadists of Daesh, whom the Kurds have so courageously and effectively battled into a position of retreat.

The National: Donald Trump speaking to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish president (right)Donald Trump speaking to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish president (right)

One can only wonder at Trump’s thinking. Not that anything should come as a surprise from the White House these days. Perhaps that’s the most concerning thing about all of this, the way in which Trump has managed to normalise the maddest of moves.

Let’s be absolutely clear here, this will augur badly for the United States, the West and the Middle East as a whole.

Trump’s apparent green light to Ankara, despite opposition from the Pentagon, State Department and much of Congress, marks an astonishing abandonment of the Kurdish-led Syrian Defence Forces (SDF), which it has said lost more than 11,000 fighters taking their at times heroic fight to Daesh in Syria.

As for the Kurds themselves it represents yet another shameful betrayal by the US or, as one Syrian Kurdish official put it yesterday, “a stab in the back”. Not that the Kurds doubted for a moment that, given the chance, Turkey would bring its full military might to bear down upon them.

The National: Kurdish fighters were crucial to the defeat of Daesh but the US has now abandoned themKurdish fighters were crucial to the defeat of Daesh but the US has now abandoned them

That much has been clear, not least since Turkey’s military offensive against the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin early last year. Back then, while I was in Syria, Kurdish officials were at pains to warn that this was only the start of Turkey’s efforts to crush the remarkable democratic experiment they have created in Rojava.

Struggling as many people are to comprehend Trump’s real motives in allowing Turkey to attack the Kurds, perhaps the answer is not as elusive as some might think. To begin with, Trump and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan are cast from the same authoritarian template.

Frankly, it’s not in the interests of either men to see Rojava succeed, for it represents something positive in the Middle East alien to both men’s idea of how society should be governed and run.

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Time and again in this column and elsewhere I’ve made the case that Rojava is a threat of a good example for the region and beyond.

As I’ve witnessed for myself, it’s a place where those who live within its experience are organising themselves in grassroots people’s assemblies and co-operatives and working towards real democracy. A place which at its heart lies an egalitarian, pluralist engagement that involves a careful ethnic and religious balance within its political structures – one which involves Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Christians and many others in the decision-making process.

Rojava is a place, too, where gender equality and religious freedom are enshrined in its guiding principles. Already we have seen Turkey and the Islamist militias it backs reverse these gains in Afrin and they will do so again now.

Can anyone seriously expect the likes of Trump or Erdogan, for whom such concepts are anathema, to allow the threat of a good example to thrive elsewhere in Rojava? Put on the spot both presidents would, of course, give other reasons for their actions. Erdogan would insist that Rojava is home to Kurdish “terrorists”, in the shape of the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK), a Marxist guerilla movement that since the 1970s has been engaged in a long war with the Turkish state. And, yes, there is some element of truth in the threat the PKK represent.

The National: Turkish soldiers shortly after an attack by the PKK killed several of their membersTurkish soldiers shortly after an attack by the PKK killed several of their members

But Erdogan is hell-bent on more than tackling the PKK. In reality he’s determined not only to end this specific Kurdish administration of Rojava but to quash the Kurds’ potential to play a decisive role in the affairs of northern Syria in perpetuity.

TO understand what this really means, again look no further than the way Turkey conducted its offensive against Afrin last year, where it seized Kurdish lands and drove Kurds from their homes, which at times showed all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing.

All this provided an ominous portent of the potential fate the rest of Rojava may now face in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile Trump, for his part, will explain away his actions in the usual way, insisting that he owes the Kurds nothing and that it’s all about America first. But again this could not be further from the truth.

Aside from Trump’s hard-headed calculation, these latest moves will not remotely serve US interests in the region in the medium to long-term. Over and above this, the US simply owes the Kurds its loyalty.

Oh, and before anyone begins to think that the UK is squeaky clean in all of this with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s expressions of “deep concern” and “unhappiness” with Trump’s announcement of leaving the Kurds to their fate at Turkish hands, pause and consider a few simple facts.

To begin with, Britain since 2014 has licensed £1.1 billion worth of weapons to be sold to Turkey. As the UK-based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has warned, the Turkish invasion of northern Syria “could have devastating consequences”.

“By arming the Turkish military, the British Government is making itself complicit in how those weapons are used, says Andrew Smith, a spokesman for CAAT.

“The UK must stop aiding Turkey’s human rights abuses with arms sales and political support.”

He has a point. Make no mistake about it, Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria threatens not only the future of the Kurds but also the basic stability of the entire country.

It marks a watershed in the notion that the US can be trusted as a partner and will once again allow the barbarians of Daesh to breath and possibly even thrive.

The National: Daesh may see a resurgence in the power-vacuum Daesh may see a resurgence in the power-vacuum

The UK right now needs to distance itself from Washington’s foreign policy madness and Ankara’s antipathy toward the Kurds.

But that’s simply not going to happen, not least given this current shambles of a government.

What a travesty this whole episode is and, above all, what a tragedy for the Kurds.