Fox News Foreign Correspondent Benjamin Hall indicated that the Kurds could follow a broader trend of Middle Eastern nations teaming up with the U.S.’s geopolitical rivals after President Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria.
“People here are frankly upset about the way that this has all played out. They are disappointed with President Trump for his decision,” Hall said on Thursday’s “Hemmer Time.”
“They feel that not only has he ceded ground to Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the Syrian government. But he’s also perhaps left a message that it’s harder to trust the U.S. when it comes to working with them in this part of the world.”
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Hall went on to claim that Arab countries had an easier time allying with Russia and Iran since they provided aid without the types of strings that the U.S. typically attached.
“The fact is that countries like Russia, even perhaps China, are often easier allies becasue they don’t demand things like Democratic change and they’re happy to send you weapons no matter what,” he told Fox News host Bill Hemmer.
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“And we’re already seeing a shift in the whole region, frankly, you know Saudi, Qatar, UAE, who are developing closer ties with China and Russia because there are no questions asked of them and they’re happy to let them carry on as they like. So, there’s a real shift happening in the region. There’s no doubt.”
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Hall regularly enters Syria and was speaking from Erbil, a city in the autonomous Kurdish region that the U.S. supported after the Iraq war.
Hall also commented on former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death, noting that the terrorist leader was living in an area controlled by Al Qaeda affiliates — indicating that al-Baghdadi was trying to reunite with the terrorist group.
“In the early days of the Syrian war, ISIS split off from Al Qaeda and they had a vicious fight between the two of them. Technically this part of Syria would be considered an enemy territory for ISIS. So, it was as if he moved from the city heartland … after the fall of the Caliphate, up hiding among his enemies. And what people think is that he was up there to perhaps reconcile the two,” he said.
According to Hall, Kurdish forces received intelligence on Baghdadi from a courier who turned on ISIS. “First of all, it is unheard of to have an informer inside ISIS — as close to the heart of ISIS as they did.”
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As early as May, the Syrian Democratic Forces told the U.S. about Al-Baghdadi’s location. “It is quite remarkable how much time then passed until the raid,” Hall said.
Listen to the full interview on the latest episode of “Hemmer Time” here, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.