Pompeo: Trump Admin Will Leverage Aid To Syria To Remove Iranian Troops by the Forward

Pompeo: Trump Admin Will Leverage Aid To Syria To Remove Iranian Troops

Image by NPR.org

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration’s goal is to remove Iran and its proxies from Syria, and it will use assistance to Syria as an incentive to do so.

That formula is likely to disappoint Israel, where security and government officials have held out for a more forceful U.S. role in evicting Iran and Hezbollah, its allied Lebanese militia, from Syria after seven years of civil war. Iran and Hezbollah backed the Assad regime in repressing the uprising, costing as many as 500,000 lives and creating millions of refugees.

Pompeo told the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs at its annual conference on Wednesday that a Trump administration goal was a “peaceful resolution to the Syria conflict and a removal of all Iranian and Iranian backed forces in Syria.”

“If Syria does not ensure the total withdrawal of Iranian troops it will not receive one single dollar for reconstruction,” he said.

Syria’s government has not received any money from the United States for years if not decades, instead relying for assistance on Iran and Russia, so it’s not clear what leverage U.S. assistance would provide.

Pompeo’s statement suggests that the Trump administration has eschewed for now a military effort to oust Iran’s forces, or even exerting pressure on Russia, the preeminent power in Syria, to force out Iran and Hezbollah. Russia has indicated that it will go no further than keeping Iranian troops 60 miles from Syria’s southwest border with Israel. Israel has said that a continued Iranian presence in Syria is unacceptable.

Pompeo said the United States would defend Israel’s right to act in Syria to contain Iran. “We’ll stand up for its right to target Iranian backed targets in Syria,” he said.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

Author

Pompeo: Trump Admin Will Assist Syria To Remove Iran

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Pompeo: Trump Admin Will Leverage Aid To Syria To Remove Iranian Troops

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close