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

Syrian Army soldiers advance in an area on the eastern outskirts of Douma
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."

Alayna Treene 3 hours ago
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Photos: Mike Pompeo poses with Kim Jong-un

Hours after Mike Pompeo was confirmed as the 70th secretary of state, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders sent out a congratulatory tweet with new photos of him shaking hands with Kim Jong-un from their Easter weekend meeting.

Timing: The photos were released ahead of an anticipated summit between the president and the North Korean leader, who Trump said has been "very open" and "very honorable" to potential talks.

Khorri Atkinson 4 hours ago
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Armenia to choose new leader after protests forced out PM

Armenia's former president Serzh Sarkisian at a session of parliament in Yerevan.
Armenia's former president Serzh Sarkisian, who resigned this week, at a session of parliament in Yerevan. Photo: Karen Minasyan/AFP/Getty Images

Just three days after protests forced Serzh Sarksyan to resign as Armenia’s prime minister, the country’s parliament said Thursday it will hold a special session to choose a new leader on May 1, The Guardian reports.

Why it matters: This is a major victory for the opposition party, and opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan appears to be the favorite. But the ruling Republican party holds a majority of seats under acting prime minister Karen Karapetyan. Sargsyan, who served for more than a decade as the country’s president, sparked a wave of demonstrations after taking on the role of prime minister.