America Isn’t Abandoning the Fight Against Iran
Fight Against Iran
One of the most common arguments against President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria is that it will strengthen Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who leaves tomorrow for a weeklong tour of the Middle East, makes an interesting case for why that isn’t so.
Trump himself gave his critics ammunition at a Cabinet meeting last week, when he observed that Iran already “can do what they want” in Syria. But his comment was merely descriptive, not a prediction of what will happen when the U.S. leaves. And in an interview two days after that meeting, Pompeo stressed that the U.S. remains committed to kicking Iran and its proxies out of Syria — and to a broader strategy of countering Iran across the region.
“That campaign hasn’t changed one lick,” he told me. “A component of that is being altered, the reduction of the forces in Syria is being changed, but the mission set hasn’t changed a bit.” The U.S., he said, will continue to work to reduce Iranian influence in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
Two weeks ago, Pompeo’s comments would have seemed naive. But it turns out the U.S. withdrawal from Syria is not as dramatic as it first appeared. The Wall Street Journal now reports that Turkey is requesting that the U.S. continue providing logistical support, transport and air strikes as its army prepares to move into Syria.
The secretary’s tour of the region will take him to Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait. One important goal of the trip will be to reassure these allies that the U.S. remains committed to stopping Iran’s predations.
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