Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed that the US would continue to fight against the ISIS terrorist organization despite its withdrawal from Syria.
Speaking in the American University Cairo on Thursday, Pompeo said that “there’s no contradiction whatsoever” in the Trump Administration’s policy on Syria and its policies against ISIS and Iran, according to an INN report.
“This is a story made up by the media. That’s fine, you all write what you like, but the President’s been very clear, and National Security Adviser John Bolton and I have been very clear about this too, that the threat from radical Islamic terrorism is real,” Pompeo said. “ISIS continues — we fight them in many regions around the country. Our commitment to prevent Daesh’s growth, ISIS’ growth, is real. It’s important. We will continue at that.”
“The United States’ decision, President Trump’s decision, to withdraw our troops has been made. We will do that,” he clarified, while stating that the president would be willing to carry out further military action in Syria even after the withdrawal is carried out.
“The Trump Administration didn’t stand idly by when Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his people. President Trump unleashed the fury of the U.S. military not once, but twice, and with allied support. And he is willing to do it again, although we hope we won’t have to.”
“Remember: It was here, here in this very city, another American stood before you, He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from ideology. He told you 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East. He told you that the United States and the Muslim world needed ‘a new beginning.’ The results of these misjudgments have been dire,” Pompeo said.
“In falsely seeing ourselves as a force for what ails the Middle East, we were timid about asserting ourselves when the times — and our partners — demanded it,” he added, according to the INN report.
He continued: “The good news is this: The age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering,” he said. “Now comes the real ‘new beginning.’ In just 24 months, actually less than two years, the United States under President Trump has reasserted its traditional role as a force for good in this region, because we’ve learned from our mistakes. We have rediscovered our voice. We have rebuilt our relationships. We have rejected false overtures from enemies.”
He also said that the US would continue to work to ensure that all Iranian military forces leave Syrian territory and that the US would work with its allies to counter Iran’s aggression in the Middle East and around the world.
Pompeo’s speech was titled “A Force for Good: America’s Reinvigorated Role in the Middle East.”
According to a report on the Washington Free Beacon web site, Pompeo’s remarks—described by senior U.S. officials as a wide-ranging rebuke of former President Obama’s vision for the region—signal that while the Trump administration is not wholly removing America’s presence from the region, it is applying greater pressure on Arab allies to contribute their fair share to the fight, particularly against the Iranian regime.
“We ask every peace-loving nation of the Middle East to shoulder new responsibilities for defeating Islamist extremism,” Pompeo said, conveying Trump’s vision for a Middle East less reliant on American money, troops, and armaments.
Turning his attention to Iran, Pompeo urged U.S. allies to comprehend that the Islamic Republic endangers the entire regional balance.
“The nations of the Middle East will never enjoy security, achieve economic stability, or advance the dreams of its peoples if Iran’s revolutionary regime persists on its current course,” Pompeo said in his prepared remarks, while vowing that the Trump administration will do all it can through sanctions and other routes to combat Tehran’s march across the region.
But Arab allies will also have to play their part in this campaign to thwart Iran’s pursuit of regional domination.
“Countries increasingly know we must confront the Ayatollahs, not coddle them,” he said. “Nations are rallying to our side to confront the regime like never before. Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, and Jordan have all been instrumental in thwarting Iran’s efforts to evade sanctions.
The United States will not send a single cent toward the reconstruction effort in Syria until Iran fully removes its forces from the country, Pompeo said, a promise that could roil some regional forces.
Pompeo also argued for President Trump’s vision of America finally ending its decades-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the United States has often been portrayed as an occupying power.
“For those who fret about the use of American power, remember: America has always been a liberating force, not an occupying power, in the Middle East,” he said. “We’ve never dreamed of domination. Can you say the same of the Iranian regime?” (INN & WFB)
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