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9 Jul, 2019 20:31

Britain and France will send forces to Syria ...but Americans will pay for it, report suggests

Britain and France will send forces to Syria ...but Americans will pay for it, report suggests

With US President Donald Trump hungry for a withdrawal from Syria, a new report claims Britain and France will send their own forces to pick up the slack, along with other allies. But the swap will cost Washington.

Between 1,000 and 2,000 American troops are presently stationed in northeastern Syria, supporting anti-government Kurdish fighters. However, as the US looks to wind down its presence in Syria, the Trump administration has looked to its allies to pick up the slack. Germany rebuffed a request for ground troops on Monday, citing “well known” German policy.

Britain and France, on the other hand, are willing to heed Washignton’s call, according to a new report from Foreign Policy. Both countries have a limited number of special forces on the ground in Syria, and will commit to a troop increase of between 10 and 15 percent to allow the US to withdraw.

Also on rt.com Germany rebuffs US call to send ground troops to Syria

President Trump is no fan of outsourcing American jobs to foreigners, so why have Britain and France to do America’s dirty work? Well, for one thing, it’ll silence saber-rattlers like John Bolton.

Trump announced the US’ complete withdrawal from Syria in December, a country that he said at the time was “sand and death.” The move was seen as a return to the non-interventionist platform he touted during his election campaign, when he mused “why aren’t we letting ISIS go and fight Assad and then we pick up the remnants?”

The withdrawal was met with howls of protest from Washington war-hawks, and spurred then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to resign. A longtime advocate of regime change in Syria, National Security Advisor John Bolton came out to reassure the war-hungry suits that American forces would in fact remain in Syria until the last micro-pockets of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) were defeated and Iranian influence in the country contained, a pair of conditions that could take months, or even years to meet.

Also on rt.com ‘Banished to Mongolia’? Bolton’s absence from Trump-Kim meeting fuels firing rumors... again

Days later, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo embarked on a whistlestop tour of the Middle East to reassure allies that Washington had not, in fact, lost its appetite for destruction, and would take military action in Syria again if necessary. “When America retreats, chaos follows,” Pompeo said. “America will not retreat until the terror fight is over.”

Swapping American troops for foreign ones allows Trump to placate the John Boltons and Mike Pompeos in his cabinet, as well as pro-intervention lawmakers from both parties in Congress. At the same time it lets the president turn to his base and say “see, I brought our boys home,” just months before his re-election campaign begins in earnest.

So what’s the catch? Simply put, the price tag. Britain and France won’t provide enough troops to completely cover the US withdrawal. To that end, additional troops will likely be drawn from Italy, as well as a number from Balkan and Baltic states. The US, however, will have to pay for these reinforcements, Foreign Policy’s source said.

The president who promised to “build a wall and have Mexico pay for it” will outsource fighting to allies and pay them to do it. Don’t expect this fact to be mentioned in Trump’s triumphant speech announcing the news.

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