Secretary of State Pompeo Kicks Off 8-Nation Middle East Tour

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo begins a weeklong tour of eight Arab nations in the Middle East through Jan. 15, including a visit to Saudi Arabia.

The Secretary’s schedule will take him to Amman, Cairo, Manama, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Muscat, and Kuwait City.

Pompeo will give a major speech about America’s role in the region and privately reassure Arab allies that the U.S. remains committed to them, according to reports. Sources told Politico that Pompeo will slam Obama’s engagement with Iran, while asserting that President Donald Trump has the region’s best interests at heart.

Pompeo will meet Saudi leaders in Riyadh to discuss Yemen, Iran and Syria. They will discuss boosting the work of UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths and discuss the future of Yemen, according to reports. The Secretary will also ask for an update on the investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

In an interview with CNBC before kicking off his tour, Pompeo asserted that oil prices did not and will not influence the Trump administration’s response to the killing of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, despite Trump’s claims that they were connected, as CNBC notes.

“Saudi Arabia, if we broke with them, I think your oil prices would go through the roof. I’ve kept them down. They’ve helped me keep them down,” Trump told reporters after issuing a statement spelling out his support for the Saudi government.