Ideas. Action. Impact. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy The Washington Institute: Improving the Quality of U.S. Middle East Policy

Other Pages

Policy Analysis

Articles & Op-Eds

Eight Days in Middle East Puts Pompeo’s Diplomacy to the Test

Simon Henderson

Also available in العربية

The Hill

January 7, 2019

The whirlwind tour could yield some surprises, but substantial positive outcomes will be hard to come by without clear, unified messaging from the administration.

What’s up with Secretary Pompeo’s extended tour of the Middle East? The short answer is that he is trying to sell/explain President Trump’s “we are leaving Syria” policy to America’s friends. None of these countries’ primary concern is Syria, as such. They are all much more interested in Iran’s influence and military activities there. The main elements of the trip were clearly being planned in advance of President Trump’s decision. There is a speech planned for Cairo, an annual bilateral strategic dialogue with Qatar, and another with Kuwait. But the fact that there now are eight stops in eight days probably reflects the amount of explaining that needs to be done...

Read the full article on the Hill website.