Saturday, November 16, 2019 | ePaper

Pompeo seeks to reassure Israel amid Syria turmoil

  • Print


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stand during statements to the press during a meeting at the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem on Friday.

AP, Jerusalem :
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Israel's prime minister on Friday to reaffirm the countries' close ties at a time when many in Israel fear the Trump administration intends to cut and run from the Middle East.
The meeting came a day after a U.S. delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence and Pompeo reached an agreement with Turkey to halt its week-old offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria. Turkey invaded after the U.S. moved its troops aside, abandoning the Syrian Kurdish fighters America had partnered with against the Islamic State group. Turkey views the Kurdish fighters as terrorists because of their links to an insurgency inside its borders.
Israel has strongly condemned the offensive, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning of "ethnic cleansing." Others have expressed fear that President Donald Trump's stated desire to get out of "stupid endless wars" in the Middle East makes him an unreliable ally as Israel confronts threats from Iran.
In brief remarks after their meeting, Pompeo said "the remarkable, close relationship between our two countries is as strong as it has ever been." He said they discussed ways to push back against Iran, and "efforts to jointly combat all the challenges that the world confronts here in the Middle East."
Netanyahu thanked America for its "consistent support" and said they discussed ways of making the alliance "even stronger."
When asked about the agreement to halt the fighting in northern Syria, Netanyahu said "we hope things will turn out for the best," without elaborating. Pompeo declined to comment.
Netanyahu has portrayed his close relationship with Trump as a godsend for Israel, pointing to the American president's decisions to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal and to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
But Israelis have expressed alarm over a series of recent decisions, culminating in the Syria pullout, that they fear portend an American withdrawal from the region. Trump's expressed willingness to open negotiations with Iran, which nearly resulted in talks with President Hassan Rouhani, raised fears that the U.S. would back away from tough sanctions on the Islamic republic. Trump's refusal so far to retaliate for an attack on Saudi oil facilities, which the U.S. blamed on Iran , sparked further concern.
"The United States' abandonment of the Kurds has raised great concern in Israel: Trump abandons allies without blinking and Israel is liable to be next," the popular daily Yediot Ahronot newspaper said in an article earlier this week. "The entire balance of power in the Middle East is built on a very delicate web of supports, pressures, understandings and agreements_and Trump is unraveling that web." Rapid advances by Turkish forces this week forced the Kurds to turn to Syrian President Bashar Assad for protection, and Syrian and Russian forces have already fanned out across the vast swathes of northeastern Syria held by the Kurds.

More News For this Category

North Korea rejects US offer of December talks

North Korea rejects US offer of December talks

Reuters, Seoul :  North Korea said on Thursday it had turned down a U.S. offer for fresh talks, saying it was not interested in more talks merely aimed at

Venice faces more floods as state of emergency declared

Venice faces more floods as state of emergency declared

AFP, Venice :Italy on Thursday declared a state of emergency for Venice after an exceptional tide surged through churches, shops and homes, causing millions of euros worth of damage

North Korea calls Biden 'rabid dog' that 'must be beaten to death'

North Korea calls Biden 'rabid dog' that 'must be beaten to death'

AFP, Seoul :North Korea has launched a visceral diatribe against US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, calling the former vice-president a "rabid dog" - while also borrowing the terminology

US presses European countries to take Islamic State fighters

US presses European countries to take Islamic State fighters

AP, Washington :European and other members of the international coalition fighting the Islamic State group must take back and prosecute their nationals detained in Iraq and Syria to help

News In Brief

Trump visits Russia for Victory Day in MayAP, BrasiliaRussian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he hoped his U.S counterpart Donald Trump would come to Russia to mark Victory

Evo Morales wants UN mediation in Bolivia

Evo Morales wants UN mediation in Bolivia

AP, Mexico City :Bolivia's Evo Morales called for the United Nations, and possibly Pope Francis, to mediate in the Andean nation's political crisis following his ouster as president in

Buttigieg rises in Iowa to lead Democratic WH pack: Poll

Buttigieg rises in Iowa to lead Democratic WH pack: Poll

Reuters, Washington :Pete Buttigieg has pulled to the top of the pack of Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa for the first time after drawing increased support from nearly every demographic

Imran Khan's ex-wife Reham Khan wins defamation case in UK High Court

Imran Khan's ex-wife Reham Khan wins defamation case in UK High Court

PTI, London :Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's former wife, Reham Khan, has won "substantial" damages and received an apology from a Pakistani news channel over defamatory allegations by a government

Ex-Tory minister advises public to vote against party

Ex-Tory minister advises public to vote against party

AP, London :A former Conservative Party Cabinet minister said Wednesday that giving the party a majority in next month's election would be "disastrous" for the U.K., in the latest example

Italy's Venice flooded by highest tide in 50 years

Italy's Venice flooded by highest tide in 50 years

AP, Manila :Venice was hit by the highest tide in more than 50 years late on Tuesday, with tourists wading through flooded streets to seek shelter as a fierce wind