White House plan for Syria comprises raising Arab force

A Trump administration plan under consideration to withdraw U.S. servicemen from Syria consists of assembling a detachment of ground troops from multiple Arab nations into an occupying force in Syria.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the White House has reportedly contacted officials in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to finance a rebuilding effort in northern Syria.

“Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the U.A.E. have all been approached with respect to financial support and more broadly to contribute,” an unnamed administration official said.

As outlined in the plan, those Arab nations have been asked to commit ground troops to the region and build alliances with anti-Assad groups and Kurdish fighters.

New National Security Adviser John Bolton has reportedly approached Egypt to gauge Cairo’s interest in contributing to the effort.

A National Security Council spokesperson declined to comment on the Journal‘s story.

Weeks ago during a speech in Ohio, President Trump expressed his desire to see a complete withdraw of all U.S. forces from Syria, but did not refer to a contingency strategy.

Part of a Middle East strategy to thwart Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad and both Russia and Iran, the aim of the plan is believed to revolve around preventing the regime from re-entering regions recently freed from ISIS or Syrian opposition control.

Although details of the plan were not made public, Middle East experts say the plan could achieve success, but does face hurdles.

Among the biggest obstacles in raising a force is both Egypt and Saudi Arabia are currently occupied with internal or regional conflicts.  Cairo is in the midst of fighting ISIS cells inside Egypt and Saudi Arabia is absorbed with a civil war in Yemen.

Moreover, questions persist over any role the U.S. may play, particularly providing critical air support for any Arab force raised in the absence of American troops on the ground in Syria.

 

[Photo courtesy ABC News]