Pompeo Faults Iran as ‘Common Villain’ in All Mideast Protests

Pompeo tries to make electricity protests in Lebanon an Iran issue

In comments Monday at the University of Louisville, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed protests in the Middle East, and as with most things Pompeo addresses related to the Middle East, he was quick to blame Iran, calling them the “common villain” in all of them.

Pompeo singled out Iran in the protests in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, declaring brief protests over a gas price increase in Iran to be the Iranians “fed up” with the theocracy.

In Iraq, Pompeo claimed the resignation of Adil Abdul-Mahdi was “due in large part to Iranian influence.” Iran had been backing the Abdul-Mahdi government, and protesters burned an Iranian consulate in the protests.

But while it’s fair to say Iran is involved in the Iran protests, if not the way Pompeo presents it, and tangentially involved in Iraq, opposing the protesters, Pompeo’s attempt to tie Iran to the Lebanon protests is plainly untrue.

Lebanon’s protest of the past month has seen protesters faulting the government for its inability to handle economic struggles, and chiefly the government’s inability to reliably provide electricity across the country.

Pompeo said Lebanese protesters “want Hezbollah and Iran out of their country,” which is simply not true. Indeed, the only politician that suffered from the protest movement was Prime Minister Hariri, a long-time political rival of Hezbollah.

In all three countries, the protests have been non-sectarian in nature, and despite Pompeo’s claims to the contrary, none of them have presented their protests are at all about removing the Ayatollahs from power.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.