In comments on Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to downplay the US withdrawal from Syria, saying it was merely a “tactical change” that would neither deter the US war on ISIS not hurt US interests in the region.
These comments come amid Pompeo’s tour of the Middle East, during which he is both explaining the Syria withdrawal and pushing the idea of US hostility toward Iran in visits to the GCC member nations.
With the Pentagon’s narrative on Syria long presenting the US presence as a big part of picking fights with Iran, the pullout has raised concerns among hawks, and has left Pompeo and others to explain the policy abroad.
Much of the resistance to the US pullout from anywhere the military is entrenched centers on the fear it would threaten the status quo. That’s why Pompeo’s message is to downplay it, reflecting last week’s speeches in which he emphasized that US interventionism in the Middle East remains a go-to tactic.
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