Apr 17, 2018

Report: U.S. wants Arab force to replace American troops in Syria

Syrian Army soldiers in the eastern outskirts of Douma. Photo: Stringer/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration is reportedly looking to assemble an Arab force in Syria that would replace U.S. military troops and help bring stability to the region after the eradication of ISIS, the WSJ reports citing U.S. officials.

Why it matters: President Trump has been eager to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, and has said he believes other countries should take greater responsibility for restoring the northeastern part of the country. However, after the recent chemical attacks on Syrian civilians, it's been unclear what the administration will decide next.

Details: According to the WSJ, Trump's new national security adviser, John Bolton, called Egypt's acting intelligence chief to probe whether the country would help stabilize the region. The administration has also reportedly asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates to contribute large amounts of money to the effort.

Yes, but: Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, said the goal of creating an Arab force would be difficult "because Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. are involved militarily in Yemen, and Egypt would be reluctant to defend territory that wasn’t controlled by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad," per the WSJ. "Nor, he said, would Arab states be eager to send forces to Syria if the U.S. military didn’t agree to keep some troops there."

Go deeper

Clyburn: Sanders' "socialist" label will be "extra burden" in House races

Clyburn with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Sen. Bernie Sanders' identification as a democratic socialist may be an "extra burden" in down-ballot House races if he were to win the Democratic nomination.

Why it matters: Clyburn's comments echo fears from many establishment Democrats, who worry the House majority they won in 2018 by taking moderate seats carried by President Trump could be at risk with Sanders at the top of the ticket.

O'Brien rejects intelligence report of Russia effort to re-elect Trump

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. Photo: Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected on ABC's "This Week" an assessment from a congressional briefing led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected.

Why it matters: The report put the Trump administration under fresh scrutiny in regard to steps it has been taking to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. encountered in 2016.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health