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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

The Fed isn't the only problem investors are worried about

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Federal Reserve will be raising rates, just as the economy is slowing. The markets hate that.

Why it matters: The ugly start to the stock trading year doesn't just reflect Fed-induced agita — investors are also worried about a growth slowdown.

2 hours ago - Health

White House says Obamacare sign-ups hit record

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra speaking in the White House in December 2021. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The White House said Thursday that a record 14.5 million Americans have signed up for health insurance through Obamacare marketplaces since Nov. 1, including more than 10 million enrollments through HealthCare.gov.

Why it matters: Last year's stimulus bill contained substantial investments in the program, including increased subsidies for people who don't receive health insurance from an employer or through Medicare or Medicaid.

3 hours ago - World

Kremlin says U.S. written responses ignored Russia's main NATO demand

Sergey Lavrov. Photo: Dimitar DilkoffI/AFP via Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that the United States' written answers to Russia's security demands do not contain a "positive response" to the Kremlin's top priority, which is a freeze on NATO expansion, according to Russian state media.

Why it matters: A spokesperson for the Kremlin stressed that no conclusions will be drawn until Russian President Vladimir Putin has time to analyze the papers, but a lack of movement on Russia's core concerns means the crisis over Ukraine is unlikely to de-escalate.