Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

USA to expel every last Iranian boot from Syria - Pompeo

Trump Backtracks on Syria Withdrawal For the Sake of the Kurds: New at Reason - Hit & Run : Reason.com Turkish leader blasts US on bid to shield Syrian Kurds
Pablo Mccormick | 10 January, 2019, 21:25

"America is a force for good in the Middle East", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday in Cairo, in an expansive speech in which the top USA diplomat repudiated the Obama administration's Middle East policies and accused it of making crucial errors that worsened a string of crises in the region.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced visit Wednesday to Iraq where he met with Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and other officials.

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.

Pompeo also met with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to discuss security and economic objectives.

"Despite the fact that we reached a clear agreement with Mr. Trump, different voices have been raised from different echelons of the USA administration", Erdogan said during a speech on Tuesday, adding that he could soon hold another phone call with the American president.

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Bolton's opening stop was in Israel, where he told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exactly what the Israeli leader wanted to hear - Trump really won't be engaging in the quick and immediate withdrawal of all United States troops from Syria that he'd pledged last month.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has called for joint control with Russian Federation and Iran of United States troops' withdrawal from Syria, saying Washington is facing "certain difficulties" with the planned exit.

"A risk averse president who makes new policy by tweet or phone call surrounded by risk-ready advisers who run cleanup, don´t respect deliberation and have objectives that aren´t clear or attainable equals USA policy (or lack of it) in Syria". The US State Department did not immediately comment on reports of Pompeo's visit to Iraq.

"If we have to, we will strike Syria", Pompeo said. "I reaffirmed our commitment under President Trump to working with King Abdullah's government on many of our shared priorities".

"We're also building partnerships for future shared prosperity". We're having conversations with them even as we speak about how we will effectuate this in a way that protects our forces.

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According to Bishara, Pompeo's approach was set at a low bar, with scant mention of Yemen - just half a line - despite the war in Yemen being a key issue in the Middle East.

Mr Bolton said on Sunday he would be seeking assurances from Ankara they would not attack the YPG as a condition to a United States withdrawal - which Mr Trump had failed to address during a December phone call with Mr Erdoğan - in a bid to salvage relations with the Kurds. "Can you say the same of the Iranian regime?"

"It's a bipartisan failure", said Mark Dubowitz, the chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a hawkish Washington-based think tank.

"International law regarding the Golan Heights is clear", Safadi said. "We believe the sooner they leave Syria the better for the people of this country", he told reporters on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue, a multilateral conference held annually in New Delhi.

Pompeo also traveled to Erbil, where he was received by Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

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