United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Iraq. This was a bit of a surprise – and a very important surprise. The big decision of President Trump to pull troops out of Syria has major implications for the region. Will this bring Iran into the north and eastern Syria regions in a major way? Will it lead the Turks into the northern Kurdish filled areas of Syria? The answer is probably yes. However, the Secretary of State is probably telling them that the decision to move the troops out is not a decision to walk away from the region entirely. It just means that President Trump prefers to not have boots on the ground at this point. He prefers precision bombs in tactical raids. This will probably be very popular among the domestic US electorate.
The Kurds are probably the group that may be in the most precarious situation. If the Turkish leadership decides to invade the Kurds, this will be a major test of the resolve of the United States to stay in a leadership position in the region. If the Kurds are left to fend for themselves, that’s a negative sign. Then there is a good chance that there will be more chaos in the region. But if the United States steps up and makes sure that the status quo stays in the region with some surgical but heavy bombing, then things will probably be rather stable.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel
The main US game plan that Mike Pompeo seems to be positioning for is a moderate Arab and Israeli coalition that keeps the radical Muslim countries in check without US boots on the ground. If this is accomplished, it will be considered a major accomplishment. The main goal ought not to be peace, but relative stability.
Let’s watch and see how things play out.