Pompeo rips Obama-era Mideast policies during Cairo speech

Pompeo rips Obama-era Mideast policies during Cairo speech
© Stefani Reynolds

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Putin orders response to US missile test The Hill's Morning Report: How will Trump be received at G-7? MORE on Thursday ripped into former President Obama's policies in the Middle East, calling President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE's predecessor "timid" during a speech in Egypt.

Pompeo, speaking at the American University in Cairo, did not mention Obama by name, but said the "results of these misjudgments have been dire" in reference to Obama's policies.

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“Remember: It was here, here in this very city, another American stood before you. He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from ideology. He told you 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East. He told you that the United States and the Muslim world needed ‘a new beginning.’ The results of these misjudgments have been dire," Pompeo said, according to The Associated Press.

“In falsely seeing ourselves as a force for what ails the Middle East, we were timid about asserting ourselves when the times — and our partners — demanded it,” Pompeo added.

Pompeo's remarks during a tour of the Middle East come amid uncertainty over the Trump administration's policies in Syria.

The president last month announced that the U.S. would withdraw its roughly 2,000 troops from Syria, though national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday that the withdrawal won't happen until the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is fully defeated in the region.

Pompeo also said during his speech on Thursday that Trump is a "force for good" in the region.

“The good news is this: The age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering,” he said. “Now comes the real ‘new beginning.’ In just 24 months, actually less than two years, the United States under President Trump has reasserted its traditional role as a force for good in this region, because we’ve learned from our mistakes.”

Allies of Obama blasted Pompeo's speech. National Security Action group, a nonprofit group composed of former Obama officials, told the AP that the speech was evidence of a "lack of a strategic vision" in the Middle East.

“That this administration feels the need, nearly a decade later, to take potshots at an effort to identify common ground between the Arab world and the West speaks not only to the Trump administration’s pettiness but also to its lack of a strategic vision for America’s role in the region and its abdication of America’s values,” the group said in a statement.