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Pompeo Seeks to Soothe Strains With Surprise Visit to Iraq

11 January 2019
Pompeo Seeks to Soothe Strains With Surprise Visit to Iraq

Speaking in Israel, Bolton stated that two conditions must be met before a withdrawal of US troops, and the conditions amount to a recipe for indefinitely prolonging the deployment.

Nina Shea, a leading advocate for persecuted Christians and the director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., told the Register that she was very anxious about the likely impact of Trump's pivot on Syria. Erdogan has pledged to launch an attack against the YPG forces despite USA support for them. The men also discussed efforts to "ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS in the region".

"A risk averse president who makes new policy by tweet or phone call surrounded by risk-ready advisers who run cleanup, don't respect deliberation and have objectives that aren't clear or attainable equals USA policy [or lack of it] in Syria".

Mr Pompeo, who has been seeking to reassure allies following Mr Trump's surprise announcement, said: "America will not retreat until the terror fight is over". Turkey has demanded that the observation posts be removed. They have also paved the way for the formation of a constitutional committee.

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 has long criticized the US for working with the terrorist PYD/YPG to fight Daesh in Syria, saying that using one terror group to fight another makes no sense. The U.S. supports the Kurds, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is attempting to stop them from forming an independent state.

Speaking in Israel over the weekend before visiting Turkey, Trump's national security advisor John Bolton said the US would not pull out until ISIS was defeated and not without a pledge from Turkey that it would not attack the Kurds.

The U.S. and Turkey are allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

There, the SDF has forged a social contract that largely respects the religious freedom and identity of Christians, and the Kurds' supporters claim that this work will be endangered if the USA leaves and Turkish forces consequently are emboldened to launch an attack.

Mike Pompeo also dismissed comparisons to the US withdrawal from Iraq under the Obama administration in 2011, which ultimately led to the rise of ISIS.

Pompeo met Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi as well as Iraq's foreign minister, parliament speaker and President Barham Salih, who said his country still needs USA support in the fight against Islamic State militants.

The United States withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2011 eight years after an invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, but sent thousands back after Islamic State fighters swept into the north of the country in 2014.

"There are different voices within the administration", Cavusoglu said in remarks to a parliamentary committee, according to Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper. The White House's constant unpredictability sends shockwaves worldwide with Trump's tweets from December about the USA military withdrawing from Syria being a salient example. "It must be hard to leave after having been so intertwined with the terrorist organization", Cavusoglu said.

It also comes weeks after President Donald Trump's abrupt announcement that he will pull all 2,000 United States troops from Syria, which caused alarm among U.S. allies in the region.

A much-anticipated contact between senior Turkish and American officials took place in Ankara on January 8 in which Washington's abrupt decision to withdraw troops from Syria and its potential aftereffects have been discussed.