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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.
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.”
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.”
GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.
Worries about a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane at the entrance to the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents.
Tehran denies responsibility but the attacks, and similar ones in May, have further soured relations that have plummeted since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
Trump has restored and extended U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That has forced countries around the world to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
But in an interview with Time magazine, Trump, striking a different tone from some Republican lawmakers who have urged a military approach to Iran, said last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman had only a "very minor" impact so far.
Asked if he would consider military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or to ensure the free flow of oil through the Gulf, Trump said: "I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark."
Minnesota Democratic Party staffer under fire for calling USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul a 'murder boat'
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he is appalled by a state DFL Party staff member's tweet referring to the recently-launched USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a "murder boat."
"Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale," said Walz, who served in the Army National Guard.
William Davis, who has been the DFL Party's research director and deputy communications director, made the controversial comment in response to a tweet about the launch of a new Navy combat ship in Wisconsin: "But actually, I think it's gross they're using the name of our fine cities for a murder boat," Davis wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
'We are there to deter aggression' — Pompeo addressed CENTCOM on Iran mere moments before Shanahan announced his departure
TAMPA — Minutes before the Acting Secretary of Defense withdrew Tuesday from his confirmation process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at MacDill Air Force Base about the need to coordinate "diplomatic and defense efforts'' to address rising tensions with Iran.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."
Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.