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Pompeo Seeks to Soothe Strains With Surprise Visit to Iraq

Pompeo Seeks to Soothe Strains With Surprise Visit to Iraq”

"The United States [has] been facing certain difficulties with the process of the troops' withdrawal from Syria".

The withdrawal of USA forces in Syria strengthens the hand both of Turkey and of the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, which is backed by Russian Federation and Iran.

Martin Griffiths met with the Yemeni authorities after seeing Houthi militant leaders in Sanaa on a tour aimed at ensuring both sides make good on a ceasefire deal agreed in Sweden last month. Erdogan was particularly irate over Bolton's comment that U.S. forces would not be leaving without some assurances of protection for the Kurds, whom Erdogan has branded as terrorists and threatened to snuff out.

He mulled bilateral talks between Turkey and Iran but gave no framework.

Concerns about the withdrawal of American troops was higher among Jewish Israelis, with 61% saying the move was a negative development for the Jewish state, as opposed to some 41% of Arab Israelis. Any rollback of Trump's message of a precipitous withdrawal from Syria will be well-received if believed by Jordan's astute leader, King Abdullah II, for whom Islamic State, the Syrian civil war and especially the 666,000 Syrian refugees who have poured across his border pose an existential threat to his country. For Trump and his minions to achieve more, they must provide some clarity of goal, especially consistency at the outset.

While IS fighters have been ousted from the major towns and cities they once held, fighting between US-backed forces and IS militants has continued in the Middle Euphrates River Valley with the USA continuing to launch regular air strikes in support of allied forces.

US President Donald Trump speaks to members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018.

The US originally announced the decision to withdraw forces within 30 days.

But the U.S. delegation instead delivered what Turkish officials described as a "non-paper", an unofficial diplomatic note listing a country's position on certain matters which is open for discussion.

"It feels a little bit as if the approach is to 'talk loudly and carry a small stick, '" said Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

The two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are at loggerheads over the Syria conflict, including the withdrawal of American forces from the Arab country. Erdogan refused to meet Bolton and called the national security advisor's comments a "serious mistake".

National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said US officials were told Erdogan cited local election season and a speech to parliament for not meeting with Bolton. Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting for independence from Turkey, particularly in the eastern part of the country, for decades. The YPG is its Syrian wing.

Turkey said it would carry out a strike against the Kurds in northern Syria regardless of whether the United States pulled its troops, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu pledged during a television interview. Either we will never withdraw from "northeastern Syria", or we will stand by and watch our anti-ISIS allies get massacred as Turkey reneges on any security pledge they make. He also met with USA troops based in the country. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of destroying Daesh.



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