America’s military presence in the Middle East is tied to the region’s wealth of oil, President Donald Trump suggested during a recent interview with The Washington Post.
In a lengthy interview with the newspaper, Trump indicated the continued presence of US troops in the Middle East would depend on movement in the price of oil.
"Now, are we going to stay in that part of the world," Trump asked. "One reason to is Israel. 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 added.
This is not the first time Trump has linked the U.S. military to Middle East oil, according to reports.
At the end of a phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi last year, Trump mentioned the country’s oil in relation to U.S. military efforts in the country, according to numerous sources.
"It was a very run-of-the-mill, low-key, meeting in general," a source familiar with the call said in an Axios report. "And then right at the end, Trump says something to the effect of, he gets a little smirk on his face and he says, 'So what are we going to do about the oil.'"
"What do you mean," al-Abadi asked, according to Axios' source.
"And Trump's like, 'Well, we did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil," the source added.