By Sohaila Barghash
After his meeting with Egyptian President, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech in the AUC during which he invoked Obama’s speech in Cairo a decade ago, offering an assessment of the two administrations in the region.
Furthermore, Pompeo accused the Former President of laying out “fundamental misunderstandings” in his 2009 speech, as he referred to Obama’s administration as “the age of self-inflicted shame.”
Secretary of State proceeded by assuring his audience that the United States will take a far more active role in the region, outlining the Trump Administration’s Middle East policy, while describing the US as a “force for good” in the Middle East.
Pompeo also discussed a policy of controlling Iran’s power, asking allies in the region to isolate the country.
He blamed the previous Obama administration for the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and for Iran’s increasing forceful actions, which he said was the result of the sanctions relief granted to Iran under the 2015 nuclear deal.
With this statement, Pompeo vowed to “expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria, however, he presented no plan to achieve that goal.
At a time when American troops are scheduled to leave based on Trump statement, Pompeo strived to explain to Arab authorities that the new strategy for combating terrorism may not take troops on the ground to influence events.
In efforts to emphasize the crucial role of the US in the region, Pompeo added, “We learned that when America retreats, chaos often follows. When we neglect our friends, resentment builds. And when we partner with enemies, they advance.”
And to conclude, Mr. Pompeo offered his own reset, based on “unquestioned American leadership” and an alliance of Arab nations to counter Iran. Yet, the Secretary of state did not speak of human rights issues in the region, or the crisis and potential deterioration facing parts of the Middle East countries, like Yemen.