US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will deliver a major policy speech in Cairo today outlining America’s role in the Middle East.
Mr Pompeo’s vision is expected to diverge sharply from that of President Obama’s—which was also delivered in a Cairo speech in 2009. Then, Mr Obama pushed for engaging with Iran, pressuring Israel to recognize Palestinian statehood, and actions to protect human rights across the region.
In contrast, Pompeo is likely to strongly condemn Iran as a state-sponsor of terrorism and supporter of dictatorships. The speech will likely question Iran’s commitment to not obtaining nuclear weapons, in line with the administration’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions last November.
After a bruising rebuff of the US’ approach to Syria by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday, Mr Pompeo is unlikely to make any pledges on the US withdrawal from Syria. Instead, he will likely reaffirm support for key regional allies, especially Israel.
Expect a mixed reaction to the speech from US allies. Regional allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel will likely receive the speech well for its anti-Iran sentiments. On the other hand, US European allies might challenge the US thinking about leaving Syria as immature.
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Nick is the Director of the Daily Brief and a contributing Senior Analyst to it. An attorney, his areas of expertise include international law, international and domestic criminal law, security affairs in Europe and the Middle East, and human rights.