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Pompeo Rebukes Obama Mid-East Policy; Reiterates Importance of Confronting Iran

Pompeo Rebukes Obama Mid-East Policy; Reiterates Importance of Confronting Iran

By INU Staff

INU- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rebuked former President Barack Obama's policies in the Middle East and outlined the new US vision for the region, during a speech at the American University in Cairo on Thursday.

Pompeo said that “America is a force for good in the Middle East” - something that Donald Trump had reasserted during his two years in office - and that the "misguided" policies of the previous administration are over. He said that Obama’s “wishful” thinking has diminished the US’s role in the regime and emboldened the Iranian Regime.

Now, he said, the US has “learned from [its] mistakes", especially the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement that the US withdrew from last May, and "confronted the ugly reality of radical Islamism". This, he advised, is a new beginning.

Of course, Iran was quick to mock Pompeo’s speech, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeting that US interference causes “chaos, repression and resentment”. However, this comment could more readily apply to Iranian interference in the Middle East, which has caused several wars and emboldened terrorist groups.

Iran Regime’s malign behaviour

Also, during his speech at the American University, Pompeo thanked US allies in the Middle East for their effort to constrain the “malign activity" of the Iranian Regime. However, Pompeo wanted to stress that Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria was not a change in mission, but rather a push for US partners in the region to do more to confront radical Islamism.

This speech was welcomed by United Arab Emirates minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, among others, as an important message for stability in the region that highlighted the "importance of alliances and support of friends".

Earlier on Thursday, following a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Pompeo said: "We discussed the need to counter the greatest threat of all in the Middle East, the Iranian regime and its campaigns of terrorism and destruction."

There, Pompeo vowed, that the US would “use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria in order to " bring peace and stability to the long-suffering Syrian people".

On an unannounced visit to Irbil, Iraq, on Wednesday, Pompeo said: “The fight to counter Iran is real and important."

Pompeo is on a week-long trip to the Middle East, where he is urging governments there to put pressure on Iran to change it destabilising behaviour, as well as end its support for rebels in Yemen, anti-Israel groups and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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