On Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a forceful speech in Cairo, Egypt, during which he acknowledged that the Trump administration had realized from the errors of the Obama administration and has reasserted the normal U.S. function as a “pressure for good” within the Center East and a dependable ally for Arab states threatened by Iran or Islamist terrorists.
With out mentioning former President Barack Obama by identify, Pompeo referred to Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech: “It was right here, right here on this metropolis, that one other American stood earlier than you. He instructed you that radical Islamist terrorism doesn’t stem from an ideology. He instructed you that 9/11 led by nation to desert its beliefs, significantly within the Center East. He instructed you that the USA and the Muslim world wanted, quote, ‘a brand new starting,’ finish of quote.”
Pompeo noticed that “the outcomes of those misjudgments had been dire” and paved the way in which for the rise of ISIS and the emboldening of Iran: “In falsely seeing ourselves as a pressure for what ails the Center East, we have been timid in asserting ourselves when the instances — and our companions — demanded it.”
He promised: “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 pointless struggling. Now comes the true new starting.”
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Pompeo thanked Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi for selling non secular freedom and denouncing the “twisted ideology” of Islamist extremism. He referred to as on different regional allies to spice up their very own efforts to defeat Islamist extremism.
Pompeo additionally targeted on the regional risk posed by Iran and its Shia militia surrogates in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.
To roll again Iran’s affect, Pompeo promoted the institution of a Center East Strategic Alliance that may coordinate the efforts of the U.S., Egypt, Jordan, and the six international locations of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
After the speech, Pompeo introduced that the USA would convene a world summit convention in Poland on Feb. 13 that may deal with pushing again towards Iran’s hostile insurance policies.
Pompeo is more likely to develop upon these initiatives for constructing a stronger anti-Iran coalition in the course of the remaining stops of his Center East tour in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait.
The U.S. effort to determine a Center East Strategic Alliance, a NATO-style collective safety group, is more likely to be an uphill wrestle. Many Arab leaders mistrust one another and are divided by regional rivalries.
A significant downside is more likely to be persistent tensions between Qatar and different Arab states as a consequence of Qatar’s help for the Muslim Brotherhood and its perceived closeness to Iran.
Since 2017, Qatar has been sanctioned and blockaded by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt, who additionally broke diplomatic ties with Qatar.
Earlier this week, Anthony Zinni, a retired common serving because the Trump administration’s particular envoy for resolving the Qatar dispute, resigned because of the unwillingness of regional leaders to just accept his mediation effort.
Zinni’s resignation is an indication that the Trump administration’s efforts to arrange an “Arab NATO” are unlikely to succeed anytime quickly. Though Iran poses a serious risk to the area, inter-Arab rivalries stay a formidable stumbling block.
James Phillips is the senior analysis fellow for Center Japanese affairs on the Douglas and Sarah Allison Middle for International Coverage Research at The Heritage Basis. He has written extensively on Center Japanese points and worldwide terrorism since 1978.
This Op-Ed initially appeared on The Day by day Sign.
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