Pompeo repudiates Obama Mideast policy

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CAIRO — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a scathing rebuke of the Obama administration’s Mideast insurance policies on Thursday, accusing the previous president of “misguided” and “wishful” pondering that diminished America’s position within the area, harmed its longtime pals and emboldened its essential foe: Iran.

In a speech to the American College in Cairo, Pompeo unloaded on President Donald Trump’s predecessor, saying he was naive and timid when confronted with challenges posed by the revolts that convulsed the Center East, together with Egypt, starting in 2011.

Pompeo laid the blame notably on a imaginative and prescient outlined by President Barack Obama in a speech he gave in Cairo in 2009 by which he spoke of “a brand new starting” for U.S. relations with international locations within the Arab and Muslim world.

“Keep in mind: It was right here, right here on this very metropolis, one other American stood earlier than you,” Pompeo instructed an invited viewers of Egyptian officers, international diplomats and college students. “He instructed you that radical Islamist terrorism doesn’t stem from ideology. He instructed you 9/11 led my nation to desert its beliefs, notably within the Center East. He instructed you that america and the Muslim world wanted ‘a brand new starting.’ The outcomes of those misjudgements have been dire.”

“In falsely seeing ourselves as a drive for what ails the Center East, we had been timid about asserting ourselves when the occasions — and our companions — demanded it,” Pompeo stated, with out mentioning the previous president by title.

Pompeo’s speech got here on the third leg of a nine-nation Mideast tour aimed toward reassuring America’s Arab companions that the Trump administration shouldn’t be strolling away from the area amid confusion and concern over plans to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria.

Former Obama administration officers rejected Pompeo’s assertions as petty, political and weak. They stated the speech pandered to authoritarian leaders and ignored rights violations that Obama had known as out.

“That this administration feels the necessity, almost a decade later, to take potshots at an effort to establish widespread floor between the Arab world and the West speaks not solely to the Trump administration’s pettiness but in addition to its lack of a strategic imaginative and prescient for America’s position within the area and its abdication of America’s values,” Nationwide Safety Motion group, a gaggle of former officers, stated in an announcement.

Rob Malley, who was Obama’s nationwide safety council director for the Center East and is now on the Worldwide Disaster Group, stated listening to Pompeo’s speech was like “like listening to somebody from a parallel universe” by which the area’s shortcomings had been ignored.

“In that parallel universe, the Arab public most likely will obtain it enthusiastically,” he stated. “Again on planet earth, they may see it for what it’s: a self-congratulatory, delusional depiction of the Trump administration’s Center East coverage.”

Pompeo blamed the earlier administration’s strategy to the Mideast for the ills that eat it now, notably the rise of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and Iran’s rising assertiveness, which he stated was a direct results of sanctions reduction, since rescinded by the Trump administration, granted to it beneath the 2015 nuclear deal.

He stated Obama ignored the expansion of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah motion in Lebanon to the detriment of Israel’s safety and never doing sufficient to push again on Iran-supported rebels in Yemen.

Since Trump’s election, nonetheless, Pompeo stated this was all altering.

“The excellent news is that this: The age of self-inflicted American disgrace is over, and so are the insurance policies that produced a lot useless struggling,” he stated. “Now comes the true ‘new starting.’ In simply 24 months, truly lower than two years, america beneath President Trump has reasserted its conventional position as a drive for good on this area, as a result of we have realized from our errors.”

Within the speech entitled “A Power for Good: America’s Reinvigorated Position within the Center East,” Pompeo extolled the Trump administration’s actions throughout the area cementing ties with conventional, albeit authoritarian, pleasant governments, taking up the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and imposing powerful new sanctions on Iran.

“President Trump has reversed our willful blindness to the hazard of the regime and withdrew from the failed nuclear deal, with its false guarantees,” Pompeo stated.

Since withdrawing from the nuclear deal final 12 months, the administration has steadily ratcheted up strain on Tehran and routinely accuses the nation of being probably the most destabilizing affect within the area. It has vowed to extend the strain till Iran halts what U.S. officers describe as its “malign actions” all through the Mideast and elsewhere, together with assist for rebels in Yemen, anti-Israel teams and Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“The nations of the Center East won’t ever take pleasure in safety, obtain financial stability, or advance the desires of its peoples if Iran’s revolutionary regime persists on its present course,” Pompeo stated.

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