Pompeo rallies the Middle East to fight Iranian aggression

Washington Free Beacon:
In a speech aimed at reshaping the course of the Middle East under President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rallied Arab nations across the region to galvanize against the Iranian regime and play a greater role in annihilating terrorist forces.

Pompeo, speaking at American University in Cairo on Thursday, touted the Trump administration's tough line on terrorism, but also implored Arab allies across the region to stop relying solely on the United States for security and protection. In tone and message, the speech was meant to show Middle Eastern leaders that President Donald Trump is charging in a wildly different direction from that of the Obama administration.

Pompeo's remarks—described by senior U.S. officials as a wide-ranging rebuke of former President Obama's vision for the region—signal that while the Trump administration is not wholly removing America's presence from the region, it is applying greater pressure on Arab allies to contribute their fair share to the fight, particularly against the Iranian regime.

"We ask every peace-loving nation of the Middle East to shoulder new responsibilities for defeating Islamist extremism," Pompeo said, conveying Trump's vision for a Middle East less reliant on American money, troops, and armaments.

Pompeo delivered his speech shortly after meeting with Egyptian Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, where he emphasized many of the same themes in both public and private meetings.

While Pompeo was clear that America is not abandoning its allies—a concern raised multiple times during his weeklong jaunt through the region amid the administration's surprise decision to withdraw from Syria—the secretary of state made clear that allies must step up to the plate in ways more substantial than just offering anti-extremist rhetoric.

We are looking to our partners to do more in this effort going forward," Pompeo said, echoing sentiments expressed by Trump.

However, this effort will still take place in lock step with the United States.

"Let me be clear: America will not retreat until the terror fight is over," Pompeo vowed. We will labor tirelessly alongside you to defeat ISIS, al Qaeda, and other jihadists that threaten our security and yours."

Turning his attention to Iran, Pompeo urged U.S. allies to comprehend that the Islamic Republic endangers the entire regional balance.

"The nations of the Middle East will never enjoy security, achieve economic stability, or advance the dreams of its peoples if Iran's revolutionary regime persists on its current course," Pompeo said in his prepared remarks, while vowing that the Trump administration will do all it can through sanctions and other routes to combat Tehran's march across the region.

But Arab allies will also have to play their part in this campaign to thwart Iran's pursuit of regional domination.

"Countries increasingly know we must confront the Ayatollahs, not coddle them," he said. "Nations are rallying to our side to confront the regime like never before. Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, and Jordan have all been instrumental in thwarting Iran's efforts to evade sanctions.

The United States will not send a single cent toward the reconstruction effort in Syria until Iran fully removes its forces from the country, Pompeo said, a promise that could roil some regional forces.
There is more.

Pompeo also noted that the US military has been a liberating force and not an occupying one.  He made clear that the same could not be said about Iran's current regime.  Freeing the Iranian people from this evil theocracy should be an objective of the rest of the world.


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