Pompeo cuts short Mid East tour. No headway in selling Trump’s post-Syria drive against Iran

In the face of Arab rulers’ skepticism, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo broke off his tour of region on Monday, Jan. 14. None of his hosts bought his assurance that the Trump campaign against Iran would persist with the same resolve after the US troop withdrawal from Syria. The State Department explained his abrupt return to Washington by a family funeral that required his attendance. This was seen by official sources in Gulf capitals as a convenient diplomatic excuse for him to give up on a quest that was running out of steam as the US pullout from Syria began on Saturday. Pompeo’s pledge in Cairo “to expel every last Iranian boot from Syria,” was of no avail. Neither did the Arab presidents and rulers he visited buy President Donald Trump Twitter of early Monday with the high points of his plans: “Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20-mile safe zone.”

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the “existing nearby base” was a reference to the K-1 Kaiwan Air Base which the Americans have begun building in the northern Iraqi oil town of Kirkuk. From there, air strikes can be mounted over the northern and central sections of the Iraqi-Syrian border. In addition, US National Security Adviser John Bolton, when he visited Israel earlier this month, mentioned two more US bases in Iraq from which, if called for, air strikes could be launched into Syria. They are the Tallil Air Base in the south near Nasiriya and the Ayn al-Asad airbase in the western province of Anbar. Pompeo’s assurance that the three air bases supported the American undertaking to preserve a US air presence over Syrian skies did not convince the Arab rulers. They countered that, only two weeks ago, Baghdad won carte blanche from Syrian President Bashar Assad to send the Iraqi air force against ISIS targets in Syria without asking for permission. They noted that at any moment, Baghdad could decide to respect Syrian or Iranian demands to ban the use of American bases on its soil for hitting targets in Syria – or even demand their evacuation.

Their response was equally cool to the US Secretary’s proposal to call an international conference in Warsaw on Feb. 13-14 to discuss Middle East stability in the light of malign Iranian activity. Arab sources commented that the last thing needed for an effective challenge to Iran was another international conference. As one high-ranking source in Riyadh put it: “The time for talking is over; now we need action.”

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12 thoughts on “Pompeo cuts short Mid East tour. No headway in selling Trump’s post-Syria drive against Iran

  • Jan 14, 2019 @ 18:07 at 18:07


    • Jan 14, 2019 @ 18:32 at 18:32

      Premises are: The time for talking is over, now we need action.

      But we know that: action needs people and weapons, these people and weapons cost an awful amount of money and all big money are in Riyadh bank accounts.

      It follow that: the Arabic expression “time for talking is over” is equivalent to “time for big money bank accounts is over” in plain English.

      • Jan 15, 2019 @ 1:51 at 1:51

        Arabs have money due to oil but they can’t fight and not worth a shi’ite.

    • Jan 15, 2019 @ 16:16 at 16:16

      Not true. Islam has proven that taking a life costs almost nothing. For 1,300+ years. PS. If there are 57 Islamic nations, but only 1 Jewish nation, who us the occupying power?

  • Jan 14, 2019 @ 18:57 at 18:57

    Talking won’t accomplish much since Mr. Trump’s policy is unpredictable. Trump will hit Iran hard but only if Iranians make a stupid move. So it’s up to the Arabs and Jews to challenge Iran or make peace with the Mullahs.

  • Jan 15, 2019 @ 1:49 at 1:49

    Boy, now the jews are REALLY gonna hate the Donald.

  • Jan 15, 2019 @ 1:53 at 1:53

    ALL of secular Israel will be destroyed. Tel Aviv and Haifa will be nuked. All messianic jews will survive this Ez. 38-39 war, but no seculars will. Perhaps some others who the Lord Jesus knows will turn to Him at the end. Built that temple for your antichrist! Hurry up, already.

    • Jan 15, 2019 @ 1:55 at 1:55

      Yep, you can’t have “gay pride” parades in Jerusalem and survive. Not one chance.

  • Jan 15, 2019 @ 2:18 at 2:18

    Trump, just leave! Let the Arabs and the Jews deal with the Iranians and Shiites. Otherwise, they will drag the U.S. into W.W. III.

  • Jan 15, 2019 @ 4:48 at 4:48

    The deal of the century Trump is going drop you all.

  • Jan 15, 2019 @ 5:47 at 5:47

    Trump has no policies just like a ship without a rudder. The only allegiance he has is to himself and will screw anyone by design or by ignorance.

  • Jan 17, 2019 @ 23:07 at 23:07

    Time for Trump, Rouhani & Kim Jong Un to have some tea and biscuits at the whitehouse.

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