Saudi Arabia will host 'train-and-equip' program against Islamic State

Monarchy to fund training, consider contributing military aid to broad, US-led coalition.

September 11, 2014 06:37

Clouds move over the Riyadh skyline. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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WASHINGTON -- Saudi Arabia will host a train-and-equip program for moderate Syrian fighters to combat Islamic State, Riyadh has promised in consultations with the White House.

The Saudi kingdom will also fund the training, and will consider contributing military aid to the broad, US-led coalition against the Islamist group.

"Today, the president spoke to King Abdullah," one senior administration official said on Wednesday. "The Saudis made very clear that they support this mission."

"We now have the commitment from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be a full partner in this effort," the official said, "the train-and-equip program, to host that program."

"Importantly," the official continued, "we’ve got a Sunni base and buy-in on this program and it would not involve – let me underscore that – not involve US personnel in Syria. This would take place in Saudi Arabia."

Al-Qaida's founders were motivated against the US, in part, by the Saudi kingdom's decision in 1990 to host American troops on its soil. Most US personnel withdrew in 2003.

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