According to a new report from NBC, France is pleading with President Trump to not cut off U.S. military support to French forces fighting Islamist militants in Africa.
Trump administration officials have expressed skepticism on the effectiveness of French counterterrorism efforts.
French President Macron has repeatedly clashed with President Trump on topics including NATO spending and the U.S. decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord.
Macron has also been plagued with low favorability ratings in his country and mass protests.
NBC reports France is appealing to President Donald Trump not to cut off U.S. military support to French forces fighting Islamist militants in Africa, warning that it could undermine efforts to counter a growing terrorist threat in the Sahel region.
Trump administration officials, however, are skeptical of the French counterterrorism mission’s value and have refused so far to promise continued logistical and intelligence support that French forces rely on in their fight against al Qaeda and ISIS-linked groups, according to one current and one former U.S. official.
“We’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a French force that has not been able to turn the tide,” said a senior administration official, who was not authorized to speak on the record.
“It’s not even a case of whack a mole. For all that we’re spending, we’re not getting much out of it,” the official told NBC News.
The U.S. provides French forces with plane refueling and intelligence from drones at a relatively modest cost out of the Pentagon’s vast budget. The administration has been reviewing its options, including possibly requiring France to reimburse the U.S. for the drone flights and refueling services, the official said.”The United States and France have an enduring partnership that spans many efforts globally,” a Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement. “We maintain an open dialogue about future requirements and resourcing in Africa and other regions.”
The White House and the State Department declined to comment.