Former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton revealed in his controversial book that President Donald Trump asked Arab countries to pay 125% of the cost of the presence of US forces in Syria and Iraq, and then returned and raised the ratio to 150%.
Trump also adopted the goal of withdrawing his country's forces "from the endless American wars," and he tirelessly attacked the strategies of Republican and Democratic administrations to engage in Middle East conflicts without clear goals and without appropriate timing for withdrawal.
And one of the pillars of Trump's foreign policy, which has led to frequent clashes with his administration’s chiefs, particularly former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and John Bolton, has been the goal of withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
Trump's decision to withdraw US forces from northern Syria was not surprising to many in Washington. He tweeted, proudly, of defeating ISIS in Syria, noting that "that goal was the only justification that made him keep American forces there."
However, the Pentagon had a different opinion expressed by Minister Mattis at the time by announcing that the American army would monitor the northern borders of Syria, to avoid tension between Turkey and the Kurds of Syria, allies of the international coalition against the Islamic State.
Does not care nor accommodate
Bolton said in his book that Trump, as a businessman and president, does not care and does not understand the complexities of foreign policy and the consequences of its decisions on Washington's relations with its international and regional opponents, and believes that the countries of the region exploit American military power and drain their resources without adequate compensation.
Bolton talked about the last days and hours before Trump made the decision to bomb targets inside Syria on April 14, 2018 with the participation of France and Britain.
Trump stressed that the attacks came to punish the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, who is accused of carrying out a chemical attack against civilians, and he expressed in a speech to the American people that his country "does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria under any circumstances."
Bolton recalls in his book that Trump "sought to withdraw all American forces from Syria, provided Arab states were persuaded to send armed forces to replace them. Trump also wanted Arab countries to pay money in exchange for some of the American forces staying within those countries."
In a statement to reporters after Trump announced his decision in December 2018, a senior White House official said that the president is the one making the decision, adding, "I can assure you that what the president said today is 100% consistent with the position of the president since the election campaign until today."
Bolton accused President Trump of "not realizing that withdrawing American forces from Syria and Iraq and replacing them with Arab forces represents a major strategic change, and he saw the matter from the perspective of the situation inside Washington and increasing criticism of his sharp call to withdraw American forces from Syria."
Bolton, according to his account, spoke to several leaders of Arab official officials about their willingness to send joint Arab armed forces, as a substitute for US forces in Syria and Iraq.
Bolton says, "Trump envisioned that in addition to sending Arab countries armed forces to Iraq and Syria, they must also pay the cost of remaining the remaining American forces in the region, in addition to 25% of the total cost, then Trump returned to raise the percentage to 50%."
In other words, Trump requested that the Arab countries pay 125% of the cost of the presence of the American forces in Syria and Iraq, and then returned and raised the percentage to 150%, according to Bolton's testimony.
Faster than everyone imagines
Bolton stressed that he "expected the reaction of the Arab countries, and it was clear to him that without the Arab countries offering anything to Trump, Trump will withdraw the remaining American forces from Syria faster than everyone imagines."
Bolton spoke about his phone calls with the Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, the Emirati National Security Adviser Tahnoun bin Zayed and the Director of Egyptian General Intelligence Abbas Kamel; He made clear to them that the idea of sending Arab forces came directly from President Trump, and everyone pledged to take the matter seriously.
Bolton pointed out that Trump's desire to obtain 150% of the cost of American forces in Syria and Iraq resembled a similar model for the arrangements related to the presence of US forces in South Korea.
Bolton says Trump believed that 150 percent of the cost of US forces in Syria was a fair proportion, given what Washington was getting from South Korea at $ 5 billion annually.