Tags: Donald Trump | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | Syria | Trump Administration | War on Terrorism | mike pompeo

Pompeo: Trump 'Fully Prepared' for Military Force in Middle East

(CNBC's "Closing Bell")

By    |   Monday, 21 October 2019 06:43 PM

President Donald Trump is "fully prepared" to "use all the power that we have," including military force if necessary, to protect U.S. interests, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday, in response to a question about Turkey's invasion of Syria. 

"Where we see American interests at stake or fundamental norms around the world that need to be enforced, we'll use all the powers that we have," Pompeo told CNBC's "Closing Bell" host Wilfred Frost in a prerecorded interview. "We prefer peace to war. But in the event that kinetic action or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action."

Trump is under criticism at home and abroad for deciding to pull U.S. troops from northern Syria and abandoning the Kurdish soldiers who had led the ground war against ISIS to the Turkish military, which invaded the border zone earlier this month. According to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the border zone incursion has resulted in the deaths of more than 120 civilians. 

Meanwhile, Pompeo would not say what would prompt a military response from the United States, as he does not want to "get out in front of the president's decision about whether to take the awesome undertaking of using America's might."

Trump told reporters attending a Cabinet meeting Monday the United States had never "agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives."

Last week, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Turkey, and Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced Turkey had agreed to a five-day ceasefire while Kurdish fighters withdrew from the region. 

The agreement was criticized by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, but Pompeo defended it, saying he is convinced the agreement saved "not only the lives of the [Syrian Democratic Forces] fighters," but also those of the Kurds.

"Our allies see it the same way," Pompeo said. "We got real commitments to protect ethnic minorities throughout the region from the Turks in the course of negotiating that statement."

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In response to a question about Turkey's invasion of Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Donald Trump is "fully prepared" to "use all the power that we have," including military force, to protect U.S. interests.
mike pompeo, turkey, military, force, kurds, terrorism
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2019-43-21
Monday, 21 October 2019 06:43 PM
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