Syria: US in Talks over Arab Force to Replace American Troops

(From The Guardian)

The Trump administration is renewing an effort to replace US troops in Syria with an Arab force, but the proposal faces substantial obstacles and could potentially exacerbate the conflict.

The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said his government was talking to Washington about raising such a force, confirming a report in the Wall Street Journal that said the new US national security adviser, John Bolton, had called the Egyptian intelligence chief, Abbas Kamel, to ask Cairo to play a part in building one.

The idea of an Arab coalition force playing a role in Syria to combat extremist groups and contain Iranian influence has surfaced several times since 2015, but faces severe problems. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are bogged down in a brutal war in Yemen, and have little manpower and few military resources to spare.

They are also locked in a dispute with Qatar, another potential contributor to a force, while Egypt is much closer to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria than its would-be Gulf partners.

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