Russia, ISIS oil collaboration will fail, Pompeo says
Mike Pompeo on Syria: Confident we will make sure that ISIS doesn’t have access to those oil fields
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, concerns Russia may attempt to get a foothold in the Middle East.
President Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria will not be a lucrative opportunity for ISIS to regain a hold on oil in that region, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“I am confident we will make sure that ISIS doesn’t have access to those oil fields,” Pompeo told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday.
US-backed Syrian forces seized a number of oil fields and gas plants from ISIS in 2017, including the Conoco natural gas facility, an important source of revenue for terrorists, and the al-Omar oil field, the country’s largest and most profitable.
Unlike his predecessor, Pompeo added, Trump has taken proactive measures to “take down the caliphate” and reduce the risk from ISIS and Russia, the important players there, and is determined to allow the millions of displaced Syrians to return home in addition to reducing violence to help rebuild the country.
The U.S. also intends to maintain its presence in the Syrian airspace. According to Pompeo, the U.S. is currently in “conversations” with allies in the region, namely the Turks, Israelis, Jordanians and Kurds in Syria. President Trump also intends to address the 70 country coalition to defeat ISIS today at the State Department, he said.
“It would be a great opportunity for him to reinforce his message from the speech last night,” said Pompeo. “But importantly remind the world that America has led this effort and we are going to continue to keep Americans safe by leading.”
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies backed by a formal partnership with a Russian-led group are pursuing an effort to manage the global oil market, according to The Wall Street Journal. However, Pompeo was not concerned that Russia’s tactical strategies and efforts to continue a foothold in the region would replace the U.S. as the most important country outside of the Middle East.
“Our relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the United Arab Emirates, the work we are doing with Egypt with Jordan, with Israel – all of these countries form an important bulwark for the United States to continue to protect Americans from threats that emanate from the Middle East,” he said.
“I am very confident that Vladimir Putin’s efforts will fail.”