Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and retired Gen. Jack Keane went to the White House to ask President Donald Trump to change his mind about giving Turkey the green light to invade Syria.
Keane, a Fox News analyst, showed the president on Oct. 8 a map of Syria, Turkey and Iraq and pointed out all the oil fields that the U.S. and its Kurdish allies had controlled, reported NBC News.
Two sources familiar with the discussion said Keane explained that oil would fall under Iranian control if Trump withdrew all U.S. troops stationed in northern Syria.
Keane went back to the White House Oct. 14 with Graham to explain to the president that nearly three-quarters of Syria’s oil fields were in areas where American troops were deployed, according to four sources familiar with the meeting.
They told Trump that Iran was ready to move on the oil fields and seize the air space above if he pulled troops from the region.
A person who was present at the meeting told NBC News that Trump seemed “resigned” to leaving a small number of troops behind to keep control of the oil.
Trump suddenly announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria, essentially abandoning Kurdish allies to possible ethnic cleansing, after speaking Oct. 6 to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by phone.
Republicans and administration officials have been trying to pressure Trump to reverse his decision to completely withdraw U.S. troops from the region.
The president has said he doesn’t want to keep troops stationed there in an “endless war,” and has said he doesn’t think their presence is necessary to secure the region’s oil.