Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says Trump's Syria Decision Is About 'Financial Conflicts of Interest,' Not Withdrawing Military

Newsweek 1 month ago

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused President Donald Trump of making the decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria based on his personal "financial conflicts of interests."

"Trump decision isn't about drawing down US military involvement at all," the progressive Democrat who represents New York's 14th District wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. She also shared a link to a Washington Post article reporting that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had announced a military offensive into the Syrian region after Trump had ordered U.S. forces to fall back.

"Remember that earlier this year, Trump VETOED Congress' attempt to end US involvement in the Yemen War," Ocasio-Cortez pointed out. "He has significant personal financial conflicts of interest in this situation, among other concerns," she said.

The president's decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria has drawn significant criticism from Republicans and Democrats in Washington. Even prominent allies of the president, such as GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, have strongly condemned Trump's decision. Critics argue that the U.S. is abandoning Kurdish fighters, who lead the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF). The U.S. military has been backing the Kurds in the fight against the extremist group the Islamic State (or ISIS).

Turkey, which has backed other rebel groups in Syria, is allied with the U.S. through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). At the same time, Ankara has long had conflict with the Kurds. Trump's critics and many analysts believe that Turkey will target the Kurds when the U.S. withdraws. Many have also warned that the move will allow ISIS to regroup while emboldening American foes Russia and Iran, which are also involved in the Syrian conflict.

Trump Towers Istanbul
Trump Towers, Istanbul are seen overlooking a residential area of Sisli District on November 29, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey

Ocasio-Cortez is not the first to suggest that Trump's decision is based on his own personal financial interests. The Trump Organization, which the president is still the sole owner of, despite having transferred the day-to-day management to his children, has numerous business interests in Turkey, including Trump Towers in Istanbul.

The president's business has described the development as "a landmark in the historic city of Istanbul." When the building opened in 2012, Erdogan attended the event. Trump's daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, even tweeted her personal thanks to Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time.

"Thank you Prime Minister Erdogan for joining us yesterday to celebrate the launch of #TrumpTowers Istanbul!" she tweeted.

Trump has insisted that his military decision will not negatively impact the Kurds, touting the close historic ties between Washington and Ankara. "So many people conveniently forget that Turkey is a big trading partner of the United States," he tweeted on Tuesday.

But the SDF has stated that it will fight back against the Turkish advance. "We will clash against the Turks to not allow them to cross the border. We will use all our possibilities against Turkish aggression," SDF's official Twitter account quoted Mustafa Bali, the head of the group's press office, as saying on Wednesday.

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