Trump Wants Another Country To Pay For US Forces In Syria (And It Ain’t Mexico)


If U.S. troops are going to stay in Syria, President Donald Trump thinks that Saudi Arabia should pay for it. You heard that right.

During a Tuesday news conference, the president said the United States and its regional allies will soon decide how much longer U.S. troops should remain in Syria.

“Saudi Arabia is very interested in our decision,” Trump said. “I said: ‘Well, you want us to stay, maybe you’re going to have to pay.’”

It’s likely that Trump’s statements are the kind of very public negotiation with allies, similar to what he has pursued with NATO, that many other administrations have made less publicly and forcefully. The National Security Council did not immediately respond to a question from Task & Purpose about whether the United States has asked the Saudis to throw in some cash for U.S. troops in Syria.

Related: Delta Force Soldier Killed In Syria Was On A Raid Against ISIS »

The White House has released a statement of the president’s conversation Monday with Saudi King Salman, which did not include any reference to Trump hitting up  the Saudis for money.

“On Syria, the President and the King discussed joint efforts to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS and counter Iranian efforts to exploit the Syrian conflict to pursue its destabilizing regional ambitions,” the statement says.

Trump has said publicly that the U.S. military will leave Syria soon. The United States’ mission to defeat the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria is nearly completed, he told reporters on Tuesday.

“I want to get out; I want to bring our troops back home; I want to start rebuilding our nation,” Trump said at the news conference. “We will have as of three months ago [spent] $7 trillion in the Middle East over the last 17 years. We have nothing – nothing – except death and destruction. It’s a horrible thing.”

The president also criticized past administrations for not taking over the Iraqi oil industry and using it as a revenue source, while ISIS smuggled and sold  Iraqi oil on the black market to fund its activities.

“We should have kept the oil then,” Trump said. “We didn’t keep the oil.”

Related: The US Has Nearly Defeated ISIS in Syria, But It May Be Stumbling Into A Bigger War With Russia And Iran »

As Trump was speaking, the head of U.S. Central Command was at a separate event in Washington, at which he said the fight against ISIS in Syria is not yet finished.

Speaking at the United States Institute for Peace, Army Gen. Joseph Votel indicated that U.S. troops should remain in Syria for the immediate future.

“The hard part, I think, is in front of us, and that is stabilizing these areas, consolidating our gains, getting people back into their homes,” Reuters quoted Votel as saying. “There is a military role in this. Certainly in the stabilization phase.”

However, Trump left no doubt Tuesday that he wants U.S. troops to return from Syria at the earliest opportunity.

“It’s a time,” Trump said. “We were very successful against ISIS. We will be successful against anybody militarily, but sometimes it’s time to come back home and we’re thinking about that very seriously.”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.

After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.

But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.

Read More Show Less

That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.

After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.

Read More Show Less

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transformed into the Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files" on Tuesday when explaining why UFO enthusiasts should avoid storming the mythical Area 51 installation in Nevada.

"All joking aside, we're taking it very seriously," Goldfein told reporters during the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. "Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected. The people deserve to have our nation's secrets protected."

Read More Show Less
Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego-based Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in a closely watched war crimes trial this summer has filed a lawsuit against two of his former attorneys and a military legal defense nonprofit, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Texas on Friday.

Read More Show Less

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The Air Force is reviewing whether some airmen's valor awards deserve to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said on Tuesday.

Goldfein revealed that several airmen are being considered for the nation's highest military award during a press conference at the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. He declined to say exactly who could receive the Medal of Honor, pending the outcome of the review process.

Read More Show Less