In Cairo, Pompeo delivers Trump's vision: Confrontation with Iran

Pompeo Visits Middle East to Increase Pressure on Iran

Pentagon officials visited Capitol Hill on Thursday to reassure lawmakers amid confusion over plans to implement President Donald Trump's order for US troops to withdraw from Syria - but some Democrats and Republicans were left unsatisfied.

National Security Advisor John Bolton said that the withdrawal would only occur after the USA had drawn up a contingency plan with its allies in the region to protect Kurdish fighters in Syria from Turkish forces, and to contain Iranian influence in the war-stricken country.

Bolton's other condition is to obtain some sort of guarantee from Turkey not to attack the Kurdish forces in northeast Syria that have functioned as clients of the United States but that Ankara sees as auxiliaries of an anti-Turkish terrorist group.

It was Erdoğan who gave the first impressions over the talks between Bolton and Kalın in his weekly address to his Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group.

Fortunately, we need not take this statement literally.

Pompeo is touring the region to explain US strategy after Trump's surprise announcement of an abrupt withdrawal of all 2,000 US troops from Syria, which rattled allies and shocked top US officials, prompting US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to resign.

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Nicholas Heras, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security, said Ankara would need so much support from Washington to completely eradicate IS, that it would be "to the point where the USA military would essentially still be inside Syria".

Unquestionably, as Turkey intends to coordinate closely with Washington vis-a-vis Syria amid the planned USA military withdrawal, confusing messages from the White House will continue to unsettle Ankara.

President Donald Trump´s "decision to withdraw our troops has been made". Trump has not contradicted Bolton, and in fact, is now pretending that was always the plan.

There was no immediate response to the Middle East Eye report from USA officials.

The attack came at a time when Turkish officials are negotiating with their American counterparts over the fate of the weapons supplied to the terrorist group by the USA -backed coalition in the pretext of fighting Daesh terrorists after the US pullout from Syria.

Meanwhile, according to the same Egyptian source, some Arab capitals are set to share their concerns with Pompeo over Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria that seemed to be giving a green light to Ankara. Just last September, Bolton pledged that the US would stay in the war-torn country as long as adversary Iran remains active there.

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After visiting Erbil, the center of Iraq's Kurdish population, Pompeo said Erdogan understands that the U.S.

Speaking from Ramallah earlier this week, a PA source said that nothing had changed on this matter.

"We will be ready", he said.

After Bolton's stop in Israel, he was suddenly uninvited to meet with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan - apparently a result of Bolton's demand that Turkey not attack pro-US Kurdish fighters in Syria. One is that the United States must "make sure ISIS is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again"-an objective that is impossible for the two thousand USA troops in Syria to achieve".

Pompeo's visit to Iraq comes less than two weeks after Trump's surprise visit to U.S. troops at al-Asad Air Base outside of Baghdad which sparked many criticisms inside the country. For his part, Erdogan said this week Turkey would do "what's necessary" to fight terrorism and warned a Turkish offensive could come "at any moment".

One objective, of course, is the comprehensive defeat of ISIS in Syria.

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Meanwhile, Russia, which has backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the seven-year war, may seek to exploit the confusion created by the bickering between Turkey and the United States.

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