US Troop Withdrawal From Syria Will Happen, Says Mike Pompeo

Clay Curtis
January 10, 2019

He told you 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East.

Pompeo has the task of explaining U.S. policy in the region after Trump's announcement of the withdrawal of all 2,000 United States troops from Syria, which rattled allies and came as a shock to top USA officials.

And moving former fighters to the United States poses some of the same challenges the US has faced with men detained at the military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including whether it's feasible to prosecute militants captured on the battlefields of northern Syria, according to experts.

Pompeo rebuked former US President Barack Obama administration's "misguided" and "wishful" thinking that has diminished America's role in the region and emboldened its main foe: Iran.

Mr Pompeo's address, which made reference to the now-famous one made by Mr Obama in the Egyptian capital at the beginning of his presidency in 2009, claimed he was too naive and "timid" when confronted with challenges posed by revolts that rocked the region.

The source also said Bolton had inquired about the state of negotiations between Turkey and Russian Federation over the post-US withdrawal.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to meet with USA national security adviser John Bolton on Tuesday, while telegraphing a widening rift between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies that leaves the Trump administration's plans to withdraw troops from Syria in limbo.In a speech to parliament, Erdogan said that Bolton had made "serious mistake" in calling for a new condition for the US exit from Syria.

"He's an ally, he represents a friendly country", said Abdul Mahdi.

Many politicians from the ruling coalition of mainly Shi'ite parties called Trump's visit a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and demanded the United States withdraw troops.

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He added that the USA was a "force for good" in the Middle East, adding: "Where America retreats, chaos follows". "Last year alone 40,000 people were killed in Afghanistan, a war that has gone on now for 17, 18 years", Bishara said.

He went on to list a sequence of crises in the Middle East - some of which have roots that predate the Obama administration - citing the explosive growth of ISIS, Syria's killing of its own citizens, Iran's moves to expand its influence, and Hezbollah's stockpiling of rockets. He is also scheduled to deliver a speech at the American University of Cairo on the topic of U.S. involvement in the Middle East and Iran's destabilising role in the region.

"He is going to give a set of remarks", Pompeo said of the president.

"If the (pullout) is put off with ridiculous excuses like Turks are massacring Kurds, which do not reflect the reality, we will implement this decision", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told NTV television.

While Obama administration made the landmark nuclear deal with Iran a priority, the Trump administration is taking the opposite approach, Al Jazeera's Bishara said. What to do with them has become a critical and growing problem for the Trump administration as it prepares to pull troops out of the country.

Why did Pompeo mention Iran?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the planned U.S. pullout will not deter Israel from continuing to carry out airstrikes against Iranian military interests in Syria.

Sustaining a regional coalition to counter Iran, the main enemy of U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Israel, is a major focus of Pompeo's tour of eight Arab capitals in as many days.

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