- The Trump administration is reportedly lobbying for an Arab army to replace US troops in Syria.
- Officials are said to have spoken to Egypt, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia about it.
- President Trump has asked several Gulf states to pay up to stabilise the region in the wake of ISIS’s defeat.
- In April, the US reportedly began drafting plans to increase its military presence in Syria.
- This is despite President Trump pledging that the US would “be coming out of Syria like very soon.”
The Trump administration reportedly wants to build an Arab army to replace US troops in Syria.
US officials told the Wall Street Journal that the Arab personnel will help stabilise the northeastern parts of Syria once Islamic State militants are defeated.
According to the Journal, administration officials have spoken to Egypt about the plan, and have considered involving Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Officials told the Journal the president’s new national security advisor, John Bolton, recently called his Egyptian counterpart to see whether Egypt would back the initiative.
A spokesman for the National Security Council declined to comment on reports of the call, according to the report.
However other officials told the Journal that “Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE have all been approached with respect to financial support and more broadly to contribute.”
Last month, President Trump reportedly called Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to ask for $US4 billion to help rebuild and maintain order in parts of Syria recently freed from Islamic State control.
According to the Washington Post, the US’s goal is to prevent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies from creeping into newly-liberated areas and establishing control while the US continues to battle the remaining dissidents.
The US announced in February that it had pledged $US200 million to stabilise the region.
President Trump has previously criticised the amount US allies were prepared to spend on regional security efforts.
He previously said he was prepared to walk away from supporting the conflict in Syria if countries like Japan, Saudi Arabia and Germany don’t increase their financial contribution.
The request follows US-led “precision strikes” on Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma earlier this month.
President Trump hinted at global efforts in Syria in his Friday announcement, saying: “We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing larger amounts of money.”
In April, CNN reported that the US was drafting plans to increase its military units in Syria, despite President Trump pledging that the US would “be coming out of Syria like very soon.”
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