Pom­peo takes anti-Iran mes­sage to gulf states

San Francisco Chronicle - - WORLD - By Matthew Lee

CAIRO — Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo brought the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s anti-Iran mes­sage to Per­sian Gulf Arab states on Fri­day, ar­riv­ing in Bahrain to con­tinue a nine-na­tion tour of the Mid­dle East aimed at re­as­sur­ing Amer­ica’s part­ners that with­draw­ing troops from Syria does not mean Wash­ing­ton is aban­don­ing the re­gion.

In Bahrain and the United Arab Emi­rates, Pom­peo will call for in­creas­ing pres­sure on Iran and push for unity among Gulf neigh­bors still em­broiled in a fes­ter­ing dis­pute with Qatar. He’ll also be pro­mot­ing a U.S.backed ini­tia­tive to form what some have termed an “Arab NATO” that would bring the re­gion to­gether in a mil­i­tary al­liance to counter threats from Iran.

In Bahrain, the UAE and later Qatar, Saudi Ara­bia, Oman and Kuwait, Pom­peo also will be mak­ing the case as he did in Jor­dan, Iraq and Egypt that Pres­i­dent Trump’s de­ci­sion to pull U.S. troops from Syria is not a sign Wash­ing­ton is re­treat­ing from the fight against the Is­lamic State.

U.S. part­ner­ships with the mem­bers of the Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil “are crit­i­cal to achiev­ing shared re­gional ob­jec­tives: de­feat­ing ISIS, coun­ter­ing rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter­ror­ism, pro­tect­ing global en­ergy sup­plies, and rolling back Ira­nian ag­gres­sion,” the State Depart­ment said in a state­ment re­leased as Pom­peo de­parted Egypt for Bahrain, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

At each of his stops in the Gulf, Pom­peo will be urg­ing progress on cre­at­ing the Mid­dle East Strate­gic Al­liance, which would join GCC mil­i­taries with those of Egypt and Jor­dan to serve as a counter-bal­ance to Iran, which they all ac­cuse of fo­ment­ing un­rest and re­bel­lion through­out the re­gion

Pom­peo told Fox News that there would be an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence on Iran and the Mid­dle East in Poland on Feb. 13-14.

Matthew Lee is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

An­drew Ca­ballero-Reynolds / AFP / Getty Im­ages

Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo (cen­ter) is greeted by Bahraini of­fi­cials upon ar­rival in Manama.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.