Pompeo Meets Top Iraqi Officials During Unannounced Visit to Baghdad

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During his speech at the American University in Cairo, Pompeo declared that "American will not retreat until the terror fight is over", but acknowledged that President Donald Trump "has made the decision to bring our troops home from Syria".

The top US military officer rebuffed demands from Turkey Wednesday to remove a series of American military observatory sites in northern Syria, which many see as a bulwark protecting Washington-backed Kurdish forces from a Turkish attack after USA troops leave.

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.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday slammed the Obama administration's Mideast policies, which were outlined in a similar venue nearly a decade ago, and touted their reversal under U.S. President Donald Trump, saying that "America is a force for good in the Middle East".

The program has identified more than 70 adults - mostly US citizens or legal residents - who traveled from the U.S.to Iraq or Syria to join jihadi groups since 2011.

In Israel on Sunday, Bolton said that the US troops would remain in Syria until ISIS is defeated and not able to revive.

Inhofe otherwise praised Trump's withdrawal plans as conditions-based and, "in spite of some rhetoric to the contrary", not a reversal.

Another message he conveyed was that the Turkish Armed Forces has accomplished its preparations for an offensive into Syria to eliminate ISIL and that the operation was imminent.

"The US is not withdrawing from the base at al-Tanf at this time", the Turkish official was quoted saying.

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A senior State Department official insisted ahead of the trip the U.S. will "not leave the Middle East". He said that no offensive action would be taken in Syria while United States forces remained but that Turkey was fully within its rights to attack the Kurdish "terrorists".

Pompeo aims to rally Arab states to counter Iran's growing influence in the Middle East, namely in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. This person said that "there will definitely be a fight" between Turkey and the Kurdish forces once the Americans leave Syria.

The comments drew the ire of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who called the comments "a serious mistake" on Tuesday.

His visits are taking place at the same time as others by US National Security Adviser John Bolton to Israel, earlier in the week, and then Turkey. Turkey has used the instability caused by the Syrian civil war to launch incursions against Kurdish positions in Syria, pulling Kurdish fighters from helping the us fight ISIS so that they can defend their own territory.

US officials had said the two were expected to have consultations on Tuesday about the fate of Kurds allied with the U.S.in Syria as part of discussions about Trump's troop draw-down.

"With the United Nations and human rights organisations repeatedly condemning the tragedy in Yemen, the U.S. should be looking at wrapping up the war", Bishara said.

"A military victory against the terrorist group is a mere first step", he said in the New York Times, warning against premature declarations of victory.

"It's one thing for the government to be very confident that an individual joined or tried to join ISIS", Joshua Geltzer, a senior counterterrorism official in the Obama administration, told the Associated Press this week.

He also said some officials in the USA administration had sought to deter Trump from the pullout plan and create "excuses" like Turkey is massacring Kurds, in reference to Pompeo's comments. Today the most meaningful diplomatic action involving Syria is the Astana process involving Iran, Russia, and Turkey.

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