Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Pompeo Seeks to Soothe Strains With Surprise Visit to Iraq

Pompeo Seeks to Soothe Strains With Surprise Visit to Iraq

But there are no easy answers.

"If they are terrorists, we will do what is necessary no matter where they come from", he fired back at the American official. At its height in 2015, the Islamic State, from its capital at Raqqa, controlled almost half of Syria and a significant part of northern Iraq, including the regional capital of Mosul.

"It's one thing for the government to be very confident that an individual joined or tried to join ISIS".

"Gen. Dunford did not say this during his meetings [Tuesday] with Turkish defense officials", a Joint Staff statement said. The US, which has supplied arms to the Kurds, has repeatedly praised the units in their fight against the Islamic State.

It's the latest stop in his nine-nation tour of America's Arab allies in the Middle East.

On Monday, John Bolton declared that the Trump administration's plan to pull USA forces out of Syria is conditioned on protecting the Kurdish warriors who bore the brunt of our fight to defeat ISIS.

There are fears that the U.S. withdrawal will leave a door open for Turkey to assault the US-allied SDF fighters. Turkey sees the YPG as a terrorist organisation and part of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party.

Most American forces were withdrawn from Iraq in 2011, after years of political squabbling following the USA invasion in 2003.

"We also look forward to working continually to counter Tehran's malign influence in the region", Pompeo said.

Turkish officials attending the talks were led by Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesperson for the Turkish presidency.

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Pompeo stressed the pullout would go ahead, despite comments in recent weeks appearing to walk back Trump's decision, but that the U.S. would remain engaged.

Pompeo has the task of explaining USA policy in the region after Trump's announcement of the withdrawal of all 2,000 United States troops from Syria, which rattled allies and came as a shock to top U.S. officials.

Mr Pompeo, who has been seeking to reassure allies following Mr Trump's surprise announcement, said: "America will not retreat until the terror fight is over". His abrupt decision led to the resignations of Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat IS. Part of the problem for the ISIS fighters' home countries are the legal ramifications of holding citizens who were picked up on the battlefield - and how to prosecute them.

The United States and Egypt enjoy warm ties under the Trump administration.

On the other side of the ledger is America's honor, its level of trustworthiness and respect in the world, its ability to enlist allies in future fights against terrorism, and its ability to make sure ISIS is well and truly crushed in Syria.

On Sunday, the Kurdish group announced the capture of five fighters, including two USA citizens, one of whom has been identified as a former school teacher from Houston.

The program has identified more than 73 Americans, by their legal names, who are known to have joined jihadist groups.

"Teaching has given me the opportunity to work with people from diverse cultural backgrounds and learning capabilities".

In a letter to IS that was obtained by the researchers, Clark submitted a resume noting that he had a bachelor's degree from the University of Houston, had worked as a substitute teacher at the Fort Bend Independent School District in Sugar Land, Texas, and had done teaching stints in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

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