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Mohammed bin Salman and Our Illegal War in Syria

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (U.S. Department of State)

Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) generously volunteered our military to stay in Syria for the foreseeable future:

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants the U.S. military to maintain a presence in Syria, despite President Donald Trump’s declaration that American forces will be pulled from the war-torn country in the near future.

“We believe American troops should stay for at least the mid-term, if not the long-term,” he told TIME Thursday in a wide-ranging interview.

No doubt this is just one of several open-ended missions that the Saudi government would like U.S. troops to have in the region, but there is no reason for the U.S. to do as Riyadh wishes. The U.S. has no vital interests to safeguard that require a continued military presence in Syria. That military presence has been and continues to be illegal, and the longer that it drags the more Americans will be put at risk unnecessarily. American soldiers should not be put in harm’s way to satisfy the ambitions of a reckless Saudi despot, and they shouldn’t used as pawns in Riyadh’s destructive rivalry with Iran. The Saudis under Mohammed bin Salman’s poor leadership have become a regional menace and their interests increasingly diverge from ours, so it should be taken as a given that if he believes the U.S. should do something it is probably in our best interest to do the opposite. If he thinks that our forces should remain in Syria for a long while, that is just one more reason why we should bring them all home as quickly as possible.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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