As an important cabinet member of the Trump administration, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo also seems to follow Trump’s ability to “impromptuly govern”. With the outcome of the presidential election and the turmoil in the United States, Pompeo embarked on a 10-day trip to the Middle East in Europe on the 14th of this month.
Some media called the visit a “farewell”, while others said that it was Pompeo’s “premium” for his participation in the 2024 presidential election. But in fact, there are signs that no matter how Pompeo plays his own “small abacus”, the outcome is doomed to failure.
Although the local media have ruthlessly pointed out that Pompeo’s arrival is very “embarrasssment” on the first stop of the trip, in the Middle East, Pompeo has faced far more than embarrassment.
Pompeo, who was “specially treated” by various countries
Turkey’s standing in Pompeo’s seven-nation trip is not unique. He neither went to Ankara, the capital of Turkey, nor met with dignitaries.
Pompeo arrived in Istanbul on the 16th local time and met with Orthodox leaders on the 17th. Then he left Turkey later.
During his stay in Turkey, Pompeo did not meet with President Erdoğan or Foreign Minister Chavushoğlu. The United States and Turkey also disagree on why the two sides did not meet.
The Associated Press quoted senior officials of the U.S. State Department as saying that Pompeo did not meet with Turkish officials because the itinerary was short and difficult to coordinate arrangements.
Despite the request of the United States for a meeting, Turkish officials were unable to rush to Istanbul from the capital Ankara. Turkish media said that the Turkish government responded coldly to Pompeo’s visit and refused to leave Ankara to meet with him in Istanbul.
The Qatari side also showed unusual “careful” about Pompeo’s visit. On the 21st local time, Pompeo held separate meetings with Tamim, Emir of Qatar, and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed in the capital Doha, but the details revealed at this meeting are enough to explain many problems.
First of all, regarding the venue of the meeting, Tamim did not arrange for the “Emir Palace” that normally receives foreign dignitaries, but chose the “Pearl Palace” on the artificial island of the capital Doha. In addition, compared with previous visits, the handling of the news in Qatar’s official media is also extremely brief.
The official press release only has two brief sentences: “This morning (21st), Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Pearl Palace.”
During the meeting, the two sides discussed bilateral strategic relations between the two friendly countries and exchanged views on regional hot issues and the latest international situation.
What’s more, there is only one news picture released by the party of the country, neither with the national flags of the two countries nor the Emir showing his face. It looks more like the two sides “talking casually” in the outdoor garden.
Compared with being publicly “smacked in the face” by the Turkish government, Pompeo’s trip to the United Arab Emirates is calm. On November 20, Pompeo arrived in Abu Dhabi for a short day’s trip.
The reception of the United Arab Emirates was normal. After Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed met with Pompeo, the official news agency of the United Arab Emirates, AA News Agency, issued a long and unintentional press release.
This is exactly an attitude. After all, the United Arab Emirates has congratulated Biden on his election, so one of the main contents of the talks is to review the US-Arab Strategic Dialogue in October 2019. I have to say that in the United Arab Emirates, the level of “embarrassment” between the two sides is really not low.
Pompeo’s last stop on the “farewell trip” was also neglected. Reporting on Pompeo’s meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi State News Agency only said that “the talks also reviewed the areas of friendly relations and bilateral cooperation between the two countries and how to enhance their relations in addition to discussing the development of the situation and efforts made
Middle East”, while the Saudi State Home TV station even made no mention of its visit. Compared with Pompeo’s previous visit, as one of the most important partners of the United States in the Gulf and the Middle East, the reception of the host Saudi Arabia can only be said to be very low-key.
Pompeo’s embarrassment does not stop there. In Saudi Arabia, he was also robbed of a lot of attention by another “ally”.
Israeli media reported that on the same day of Pompeo’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, accompanied by the director of the intelligence agency Mossad, secretly arrived in the New Future City in northwest Saudi Arabia and met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed, while Pompeo only appeared as a supporting role.
As soon as the news came out, it occupied the headlines of most media in the Middle East, and only the Saudi domestic media kept it secret. If the news is true, this will be a meeting with the highest-level officials of the two countries so far, but the Saudi Foreign Minister has published an article on social media denying that the existence of the meeting has once again become Rashomon.
Pompeo’s itinerary triggered many protests
From the 18th to the 20th of this month, Pompeo visited Israel and visited the Posaga Winery and the Golan Heights in the West Bank, which have been the focus of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, pointedly pointed out that Palestine would formally complain to the United Nations about Pompeo’s violation of international law.
She said that the visit to the West Bank was “the last struggle of the outgoing U.S. government” and Pompeo was paving the way for his political ambitions. The whole world needs to recover from the “Trump legacy” and the chaos it has created, and Palestine looks forward to working with responsible countries.
Pompeo’s move also aroused strong dissatisfaction from the Syrian side. Syrian official media pointed out that Pompeo’s behavior was full of provocation and was a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty.
Look at Turkey again. As early as July this year, Turkish President Erdoğan signed a presidential decree to convert the Hagia Sophia Museum back to the mosque, a move that was publicly opposed and criticized by Pompeo.
In this meeting with the Turkish Orthodox leaders, Pompeo expressed his firm position on “religious freedom” and discussed the religious issue of Turkey.
Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement condemning and retorted this itinerary. The statement stressed that the itinerary was “extremely inappropriate” and suggested that the United States “look in the mirror first” and maintain “necessary sensitivity” to human rights violations in its own country, such as racism, Islamophobia, hate crimes, etc.
In addition, dozens of Turkish people held demonstrations in Istanbul to protest against Pompeo’s visit, and even shouted slogans such as “Down with American imperialism” and “Americans go home”.
Under the Twitter news of Pompeo’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, netizens’ comments are as follows:
Netizen NewGeneration_Advocate: The Worst Secretary of State of All Time.
(Arab netizen) Fakhar Yousafzai: This is not for regional stability. Your policy destroys the world and makes it unstable.
Netizen Sandy Anderson: I’m glad he has to leave in 60 days.
Why Pompeo “cold” in the Middle East
Everything has a cause and has a result. The Middle East policy and diplomatic strategy pursued by Trump since he took office have doomed Pompeo’s situation today.
Turkey, as a big country in the Middle East and a member of NATO, was originally the “target of the United States”. Since the attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016, Turkey has believed that the coup was planned by the Turkish religious figure Gu Lun, but Turkey has repeatedly encountered a wall on the extradition of Gulun from the United States, causing estrangement.
Since then, the two countries have been “diverning away” while their differences and disputes have gradually increased on a series of issues such as the Syrian battlefield, Kurdish armed forces and the purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems.
On the Palestinian-Israeli issue, the United States, on the one hand, threw out the so-called “Agreement of the Century” to support Israel’s capital Jerusalem and recognize its “sovereignty” in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
This seemingly peace-provocacy agreement is actually the Trump administration’s abandonment of the interests of the Palestinian people in order to win the support of Jewish groups in Israel and the United States.
This move not only attracted large-scale demonstrations in many countries in the Middle East, but also aroused widespread condemnation and dissatisfaction in the Arab world.
In addition, in recent years, the United States has tried to create a “new pattern in the Middle East”, that is, to unite Israel and Arab allies against Iran. Not to mention that there are still deep scruples about each other due to many reasons such as history, and it is difficult for the two sides to reach agreement on key concerns.
Even the United States is trying to form the so-called “Persian Gulf Escort Union” in the region, which is very few respondent. In contrast, Iran, the extreme pressure and severe sanctions imposed by the United States have not hurt the fundamentals. Iran has won the support of the international community, including Middle Eastern countries, on many regional issues.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel by the two Gulf countries of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, although current senior U.S.
officials have been advocating that Saudi Arabia will establish diplomatic relations with Israel in a short period of time, just a few days before Pompeo’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan once again stressed that Saudi Arabia will continue to adhere to the majority.
The consistent position of the Arab countries that no relations with Israel will be established until the conflict between Israel and Palestine is resolved and the state of Palestine is formally established, which directly refutes the statement of the United States.
Unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement and exerting pressure on Iran, increasing arms sales in the Middle East year by year, while announcing withdrawal plans from Iraq and Afghanistan, especially the blatant assassination of Suleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Al-Quds Brigade, in Iraq early this year, directly led to the Middle East to brink of war and also let the United States in the middle.
Many of the proud “allies” in the Eastern Region are in danger. The United States, which frequently undermines international norms, is not considering peace and stability in the Middle East, but for its own self-interest, trying to tear and break the existing pattern in the Middle East and turn it into a “firepowder barrel” again.
In fact, it is the Trump administration’s policy of initiating geopolitical disputes and flouting diplomatic consensus that have caused chaos in the Middle East in recent years, and even behind the diplomatic crisis in Qatar, there is a mess of the United States. The fundamental purpose of the extreme policies pursued by Trump, Pompeo and other American politicians is to exacerbate regional contradictions and benefit from them.
As Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said recently: “Trump’s foreign policy is one of the most failed foreign policies in American history. As a powerful country, the United States has adopted a way that forces many people to adopt its opinions out of fear.
There is no doubt that Mr. Pompeo will also be recognized as the worst Secretary of State in American history. The title of an article published by the Financial Times more intuitively explains why Pompeo’s “farewell journey” seems so sad – “The whole world will pay the price for Trump’s Middle East policy”.