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Saudi soldiers on the Yemeni border in 2015. Photo: Cihan / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Foreign policy analyst Max Boot sums up the skepticism of many Middle East experts regarding reports that President Trump wants to replace U.S. troops in Syria with an Arab military force, tweeting: “Saudi/UAE forces are bogged down in Yemen, Egyptian forces in Sinai. Somehow I doubt they are the solution in Syria.”

Between the lines: Egyptians have their hands full dealing with terrorists in the Sinai and the Libyan instability on their western border. It seems unlikely they’ll substantially extend themselves further by deploying in Syria. And the Gulf countries are unlikely to want to make further financial commitments beyond those they already have in Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan. From their perspective, they’re already picking up plenty of the tab for the problems in their neighborhood.

More emailed analysis from Elliott Abrams, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations and former deputy national security adviser under President George W. Bush:

“Egypt has resisted sending troops to Yemen despite significant Saudi pressure (and the promise of rewards) in recent years. This is likely because the generals know their troops are not well prepared for such duty and could suffer casualties that would be highly unpopular at home. For the same reasons I don’t think they will send their troops to Syria. More generally, any useful Arab force would have to be led by the United States and our soldiers, not be a substitute for us. They could at best be force multipliers.”

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
13 mins ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.