Pompeo Seeks to Soothe Strains With Surprise Visit to Iraq

10 January, 2019, 23:30 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
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During his speech at the American University in Cairo, Pompeo declared that "American will not retreat until the terror fight is over", but acknowledged that President Donald Trump "has made the decision to bring our troops home from Syria".

The top USA military officer rebuffed demands from Turkey Wednesday to remove a series of American military observatory sites in northern Syria, which many see as a bulwark protecting Washington-backed Kurdish forces from a Turkish attack after US troops leave.

"If the USA pulled out of Iraq, it would hand the keys of Nineveh" to anti-Christian forces, said the source, referencing the Nineveh region of Iraq that is an ancestral Christian homeland. The men also discussed efforts to "ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS in the region".

Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for the Joint Staff, said the presence of USA observation posts in Syria was not discussed during the meeting. Turkey has demanded that the observation posts be removed. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorised to disclose the information publicly.

Mattis' order followed on Turkish artillery strikes against the SDF in northern Syria, which led those forces to call a temporary halt to the offensive against ISIS near the Iraqi border.

Ankara considers the Kurdish forces in Syria who have been trained by and are assisting U.S. troops in the fight against Islamic State militants to be linked to groups trying to create instability inside Turkey.

Cavusoglu's remarks followed a visit to Ankara by Trump's national security advisor John Bolton and other USA officials who met with at best an unwelcoming treatment by the Turks, including Erdogan who refused to receive them.

Pompeo and the USA national security adviser, John Bolton, have attempted to walk back Trump's December announcement and observers considered the announcement of continuing United States airstrikes to be a further move to reassure allies, particularly Kurdish proxies, that they would not be abandoned. When ISIS exploded onto the scene in 2014, Washington and its coalition partners began a campaign of airstrikes against the terrorist organization, and the USA footprint in Syria grew to 2,000 soldiers by 2017. At the time, Trump declared that we had beaten ISIS and there was no need for us to stick around, later softening the first part to say that Turkey and Syria could mop up the rest of ISIS.

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"That this administration feels the need, almost a decade later, to take potshots at an effort to identify common ground between the Arab world and the West speaks not only to the Trump administration's pettiness but also to its lack of a strategic vision for America's role in the region and its abdication of America's values", National Security Action group, a group of former officials, said in a statement. America's top diplomat also discussed ways of supporting Iraq's energy independence, an issue tied to the US effort to wean allies off Iranian energy sources. Erdogan has pledged to launch an attack against the YPG forces despite USA support for them.

"There are different voices within the administration", Cavusoglu said in remarks to a parliamentary committee, according to Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper. When he made his surprise announcement of the withdrawal three weeks ago, Trump said he wanted to complete it quickly.

"After being so intertwined and engaged with a terrorist organization, it is not that easy to leave that terrorist organization", he added, referring to the YPG.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed Thursday the United States and its allies would work diplomatically to expel all Iranian troops from Syria, urging Middle East nations to forge a common stand against Tehran.

"This morning, HTS and the NLF signed an agreement to put an end to ongoing fighting. and establish the control of the salvation government in all areas", Ebaa said.

The Trump administration has learned from the "mistakes" of its predecessor, the secretary of state said, and would seek to drive "every last Iranian boot" from Syria.

Pompeo said that under Obama, the USA abandoned its allies and was "timid" about asserting itself, that the U.S.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We do not comment on special forces".


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