UPDATED 6:36 AM PT — Monday, January 7, 2019
America’s top diplomat is set to begin a Middle East tour to clarify President Trump’s agenda in the region. Over the next week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is making at least eight stops, including in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and most of the Persian Gulf.
Other cabinet officials also traveled to the region after President Trump announced the United States’ historic disengagement from Syria. National Security Advisor John Bolton toured Israel, and even President Trump spent a few hours near Baghdad after Christmas.
Ever since the president announced he was pulling troops out of Syria, Secretary Pompeo has been assuring U.S. allies the United States is still committed to its allies in the region.
“The decision president made in Syria in no way changes anything that this administration is working on alongside Israel,” he stated. “The counter-ISIS campaign continues, our efforts to counter Iranian aggression continue and our commitment to Middle East stability and the protection of Israel continues in the same way it did before that decision was made.”
The U.S. is also continuing to push for countries to cut off Iran and limit the country’s influence in the Middle East. Bolton emphasized the Trump administration’s continued pressure on Iran during his visit to Israel.
“We’ve got the continuing threat of Iran’s quest for deliverable nuclear weapons and despite getting out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, despite the sanctions we have little doubt that Iran’s leadership is still strategically committed to achieving deliverable nuclear weapons,” stated Bolton.
The national security advisor has also explained the U.S. is not withdrawing out of Syria quickly, but instead slowly and carefully.
In the meantime, Pompeo’s key policy speech will be in Egypt on the United States’ commitment to peace, prosperity, stability and security in the Middle East.
Pompeo is calling for a united Gulf Country Coalition against Iran. Though, that’s complicated as other states have a blockade against Qatar, which has been in place since June 2017. Pompeo will be visiting all countries involved in the ongoing dispute.
Additionally, his trip to Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also key stops as opposition in Washington is growing about the United States’ involvement in their coalition in Yemen.