Amid Mideast tensions, Pompeo on his way to Israel
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Israel this week to reassure its ally that America’s military pullout from Syria hasn’t endangered Israel.
Pompeo is heading to Israel after a visit to Turkey with Vice President Mike Pence, the State department announced late Wednesday. The secretary of state will meet with Israeli officials to discuss recent developments in Syria and the need to counter Iran’s “destabilizing behavior in the region,” according to a statement.
U.S. President Donald Trump has faced criticism over America’s immediate pullout from Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately filled the vacuum and launched an operation against the Kurds — a move condemned by Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Turkey’s military operation and voiced support for the Kurds, but he stopped short of criticizing Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops.
The move sparked fears of a reemergence of Islamic State and Iranian attempts to establish its own presence in Syria. Even Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said the pullout could “ensure Iran’s domination of Syria” and “become a nightmare for Israel.”
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to condemn Trump’s decision to withdraw: 354 for the non-binding resolution and 60 against.
“Lindsay Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years, with thousands of soldiers fighting other people’s wars,” Trump said. “I want to get out of the Middle East. I am not going to lose potentially thousands and tens of thousands of American soldiers fighting a war between Turkey and Syria.”
But the truth is, a small number of US troops in Northern Syria kept Turkey from attacking the Syrian Kurds who fought with the US against ISIS. It is an absolute betrayal and stunning. And now Russia is filing the void, by brokering a deal with the corrupt, murderous Syrian regime and the Kurds.