An Eye on the East

January 8, 2019
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While the debate rages about security at America’s Southern Border, our Sec. of State heads on a week-long tour of the Middle East to reassure allies of America’s priorities.

But what are they?


Why Is He Going?

Sec. Pompeo’s 2 declared priorities:

  • U.S. will continue to battle ISIS, but change tactics (withdraw troops from Syria, though he sets no timeline. Nat’l Sec. Advisor Bolton echoed this sentiment in Israel over the wknd).
  • U.S. will continue to work to thwart Iran & its “dangerous” activities in the Middle East.

Why Now?

"This is the reality setting in that you’ve got to plan this out.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), responding to a question about whether the President's declaration that 2,000 U.S. troops will withdraw from Syria was a mistake. A day after Pres. Trump's announcement, fmr. Sec. of Def Mattis resigned & emphasized the importance of America's allies. NS Advisor John Bolton & Sec. Pompeo are now meeting with key regional Mideast allies.

"One day he (President Trump) is saying we are in Syria for the long term to fight Iran. The next day Trump says we’re leaving in 30 days and Iran can do whatever it wants in Syria. It’s impossible to be effective in this environment.”

Ilan Goldenberg, fmr. Obama official, now w/the bipartisan nonprofit Center for a New American Security. Sec. Pompeo plans to speak about America's Middle East policy while in Cairo – the same city Pres. Obama delivered a speech on the same topic.


  • ISIS: Last week, two Americans were reportedly captured fighting with ISIS in Syria – a reminder of the terrorist group’s powerful ideology despite loss of territory.
  • Iran: Funds terrorist organizations, wants to expand anti-American influence in region and is suspected of pursuing nuclear weapons.

Also on Agenda: Yemen

  • Yemen, site of a major civil war & humanitarian crisis.
  • Home to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a dangerous branch that plots against U.S & plays a role in the terrorist group’s global leadership.
  • On Jan. 1, a U.S. airstrike killed a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist.
  • Ally support makes these drone strikes possible.

Sec. Pompeo's trip follows NS Advisor, John Bolton's trip to Israel & Turkey (2 countries Sec. Pompeo is not scheduled to visit). Though he *may* reportedly stop in Israel or Iraq). The current itinerary: Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman & Kuwait

by Jenna Lee,