The Trump administration is hoping to secure a commitment from a handful of Middle Eastern states to assemble what is effectively an Arab army for a permanent military “stabilizing force” in Syria that would replace the U.S. military deployment in Syria and overthrow Assad prevent ISIS from regaining lost territory in Syria’s battle-ravaged east.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump’s new neocon National Security Advisor John Bolton, only in his second week on the job, has discussed the possibility of contributing troops with Egypt’s top intelligence official – allegedly one of the most influential figures in Egypt’s military-led regime.
And while full-scale commitments from Egypt and a handful of Gulf states remain elusive, should Trump succeed, he’d be able to tout a victory in an area where President Obama failed. Indeed, the Obama administration sought similar troop contributions from Syria’s neighbors but came up empty handed.
The Trump administration is seeking to assemble an Arab force to replace the U.S. military contingent in Syria and help stabilize the northeastern part of the country after the defeat of Islamic State, U.S. officials said.
John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, recently called Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief, to see if Cairo would contribute to the effort, officials said.
The initiative comes as the administration has asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to contribute billions of dollars to help restore northern Syria. It wants Arab nations to send troops as well, officials said.
Details about the initiative, which haven’t been previously disclosed, have emerged in the days since the U.S.-led strikes on sites associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical-weapons capabilities.
The security force would have two goals: stop ISIS from reestablishing a presence in Syria, while also stopping Iran or Iranian-backed sources from doing the same (though Israel already has the latter pretty well under control).
While on Monday the White House refuted claims by French President Emmanuel Macron that he “convinced” Trump to agree to an extended US presence in Syria, it has been forced to concede that the US has no immediate plans to pull US troops from Syria, as President Trump recently promised. Raising an army of troops from regional neighbors would allow the Trump administration the best of both worlds: It could safely pull some or all of its troops while ensuring that the region remains protected.
Trump first alluded to his push to recruit regional partners on …read more