Trump calls for NATO to deploy in Middle East conflicts as 'NATOME'

Trump calls for NATO to deploy in Middle East conflicts as 'NATOME'
The US president said expanded NATO operations could replace the US military presence in Iraq.
2 min read
10 January, 2020
Trump has said the burden of fighting IS has been on the US [Getty]
US President Donald Trump has called for NATO to expand to the Middle East, even offering up a new acronym for the alliance: NATOME.

"I actually had a name: NATO, right, and then you have ME -- Middle East. NATOME. I said, what a beautiful name," Trump told reporters on Thursday in extensive comments on the issue.

"NATO plus ME," he said.

He said he had proposed the acronym during a call to the alliance's secretary general Jens Soltenberg on Wednesday to demand that other NATO members do more in the Middle East.

"I think he was actually excited by it," Trump said.

The president's demand for his NATO allies to increase their role in "preventing conflict and preserving peace in the Middle East" comes amid increasing tensions in the region, as Tehran and Washington face off over the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani last week.

Some member states have announced partial troop withdrawals from Iraq amid the conflict, while NATO said it would temporarily withdraw some troops and suspend its training mission in the country.

"NATOME", Trump said, could replace US troops in Iraq or even other Middle Eastern conflict zones.

"We can come home, or largely come home, and use NATO," he said, without providing any details on how the alliance, which largely relies upon American leadership and firepower, could be reorganised.

"We caught ISIS. We did Europe a big favor," Trump added. "I think the scope of NATO should be increased. And they should be looking for ISIS... We will help. But right now the burden is on us, and that has not been fair."

Describing his new acronym as a "beautiful name", Trump mused asked reporters: "I'm good at names, right?" 

He then recounted his pride over the new US-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement, known as USMCA, which replaces the former version dubbed NAFTA.

"USMCA, like the song YMCA," Trump said, referring to the 1978 disco hit by the group Village People.

"Nobody could remember USMCA. I said, 'Think of the song YMCA' and now everybody says it."

Agencies contributed to this report

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