In Middle East, Pompeo Aims to Reassure U.S. Partners

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in Jordan for the first leg of an eight-country tour of the Middle East (State Dept.). During the one-week trip, he is expected to assure U.S. partners in the region following the announcement of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria, as well as seek to ramp up international pressure on Iran.

Pompeo will make a keynote address in Cairo on Thursday emphasizing that the United States does not plan to leave the Middle East (AFP), according to the State Department. Pompeo has said the United States will continue to protect allied Kurdish militias in Syria (ABC) and maintain pressure on Iran despite the announced pullout. U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton is in Ankara today to discuss the troop withdrawal (Al Jazeera). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced a remark by Bolton (Anadolu) that Turkey “targets Kurds” in Syria.


“The actor who perhaps benefits above all others from the administration’s back and forth on Syria is Iran. An American withdrawal would provide the Iranians with the operational space to expand their growing network of Shiite foreign fighters,” Colin P. Clarke and Ariane M. Tabatabai write in Foreign Affairs.

“In his speech, to be given in Cairo, Pompeo plans to repudiate the Middle East vision of former President Barack Obama, who famously delivered an address to the broader Muslim world while in Egypt in 2009,” Nahal Toosi writes for Politico.

CFR’s Steven A. Cook lays out what Turkey wants in Syria.