With the United States and coalition forces mission to eradicate the Islamic State caliphate in Syria coming to a close, the Trump administration is looking to fill the void with neighboring forces should coalition troops pull out. Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, addressed the topic during a press conference in Riyadh held at the United Nations counter terrorism center. Jubeir said, “We have been in talks with the United States since the onset of the crisis. Concerning sending forces to Syria, we gave the Obama administration a suggestion that if the United States sends forces, then the KSA will also contemplate sending troops within that coalition alongside other countries. This is not a new idea.” He added that, “Concerning what is happening currently, there are discussions related to the type of forces that should be in Eastern Syria and where they will come from. These things are still under discussion.” Jubeir pointed out that Saudi Arabia has always followed through on their “financial obligations.” Last year in May the Saudi government entered a $350 billion deal with the United States for military arms, the largest deal of its kind to date.
President Donald Trump has made it very clear that the United States need to pull out of Syria. In March he said, “We’ll be coming out of Syria, like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.” The other people he is referring to are the surrounding middle eastern allies to the United States, who trump hopes will take up the slack and provide regional security efforts after the U.S. is gone. While French President Macron claims he has convinced Trump to maintain a presence in Syria, it is likely it has only prolonged the departure process. Following his earlier statement, Trump declared that, “I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home.”
After Trumps brash remarks about withdrawal, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed his belief that the United States should not be so hasty for risk of creating instability. Last week the Summit of the League of Arab States was held between the various Foreign Ministers, Special Envoy for Syria from the United Nations, Staffan de Mistura, was in attendance. There, he conversed with the various regional representatives. A statement released by Mistura’s office read that the discussions hold, “the aim of proactively ascertaining the options for a meaningful re-launch of the UN-facilitated political process as called for in Security Council resolution 2254 (2015).” Mistura is scheduled to attend similar meetings in Tehran and Moscow in the following weeks, at the end of April he will consult the United States based on the proceedings.
Featured Image Courtesy of the White House from Washington, DC (Foreign Leader Visits) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons