Trump's decision on Syria is 'very clear': Pompeo

10 January, 2019, 23:31 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House Wednesday Jan. 2 2019 in Washington

Pompeo's address came one day after his surprise visit to Iraq and in the midst of a whirlwind tour of the Middle East in which he is reassuring partners of America's presence in the region following Trump's decision three weeks ago to withdrawal 2,000 USA troops from Syria.

The Turkish leader's comments were a "big time put down", said Timothy Ash, senior emerging markets strategist and Turkey expert at BlueBay Asset Management.

He said U.S. sanctions against Iran were "the strongest in history and will keep getting tougher".

The furious response in Ankara was the latest setback for the White House's troubled effort to extricate 2000 American troops from Syria - a withdrawal Mr Trump announced suddenly last month without a detailed plan to implement it. "And so are the policies that produce so much needless suffering", Pompeo said.

Many Kurds are concerned that a U.S. pullout will make them vulnerable to assaults from Turkey and the remaining members of ISIS still in the region.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo, Egypt, January 10, 2019.

The "decision to withdraw our troops has been made".

In addition to talks with the Iraqi prime minister in Baghdad, Pompeo also met with President Barham Salih and Foreign Minister Mohamed Alhakim, as well as USA military personnel.

In a speech to the American University in Cairo, Pompeo unloaded on President Donald Trump's predecessor, saying he was naive and timid when confronted with challenges posed by the revolts that convulsed the Middle East, including Egypt, beginning in 2011. He told you that radical Islamist terrorism doesn't stem from an ideology.

Rob Malley, who was Obama's national security council director for the Middle East and is now at the International Crisis Group, said hearing Pompeo's speech was like "like listening to someone from a parallel universe" in which the region's shortcomings were ignored.

Casting Iran as a "cancerous influence", Pompeo said the USA had "reimposed sanctions that should never have been lifted".

Even though IS - also known as ISIS - has been largely eradicated from Iraq, after capturing a vast swathe of territory in 2014, it still controls a few pockets in war-torn Syria.

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They are meant to clarify Washington's policies in the Middle East with its regional allies and further strategic objectives that focus on the war against militant groups and the isolation of Iran.

"Remember: It was here, here in this very city, another American stood before you", Pompeo told an invited audience of Egyptian officials, foreign diplomats and students.

"International law regarding the Golan Heights is clear", Safadi said.

Pompeo told a news conference in Amman on Tuesday that the fight to defeat Islamic State and Iran remained the most pressing issues in the region.

It is also an ally of Israel and Saudi Arabia, two of Iran's foes. Though orders have been given to the United States military to begin preparing for withdrawal, troops will carry out operations against the militant group as they leave. A long-promised Trump plan for a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians has so far failed to materialize.

The Trump administration encountered similar pushback elsewhere on Tuesday, as United States allies pressed their own priorities.

Over the past week, Bolton has acknowledged that ISIS is not yet vanquished and still has the capacity for "reviving" itself; U.S. allies in the region still require our protection; and that the withdrawal is limited to "northeastern Syria".

What is the US's approach to Syria?

As part of this, American forces have worked closely with the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, seen by Ankara as a "terrorist offshoot" of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

"We don't think the Turks ought to undertake military action that's not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States at a minimum, so they don't endanger our troops", Bolton said Sunday in Israel.

On Thursday, Turkey renewed its threat to launch an offensive against Kurds.

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