Trump says US military to stay in Middle East for Israel, not oil

Trump says US military to stay in Middle East for Israel, not oil
US President Donald Trump says oil production is becoming less of a reason for US troops to remain in the Middle East.
2 min read
28 November, 2018
The Trump administration has a hardline pro-Israel stance. [Getty]

US President Donald Trump said in an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday that US troops would remain in the Middle East to protect Israel.

"Now, are we going to stay in that part of the world? One reason to is Israel," Trump told the Washington Post in an exclusive interview.

"Oil is becoming less and less of a reason because we're producing more oil now than we've ever produced. So, you know, all of a sudden it gets to a point where you don't have to stay there."

Trump made the comments during a section of the interview discussing whether he would reduce the US military presence in the region.

Last week, US President Donald Trump thanked Washington ally Saudi Arabia for lower oil prices, one day after he pledged to remain a "steadfast partner" of Riyadh despite mounting international outrage over the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi last month.

Trump has dismissed a CIA assessment that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the brutal killing of Khashoggi, vowing to maintain relations with the kingdom.

The controversial US president later said that America's alliance with Saudi Arabia was crucial to Israeli interests in the region, saying Israel would be in "big trouble without Saudi Arabia".

The Trump administration has embraced Israel's strategic interests, ripping up the 2015 Iran deal, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, and cutting aid to Palestinian refugees.

Trump's son-in-law and Middle East advisor Jared Kushner is a close family friend of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the US administration is stacked with pro-Israel officials.

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