For IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 10, 2019
Contact: Jessica Sarstedt jessica@fp4america.org +1.202.802.1835

Statement by Andrew Albertson, Executive Director of FP4A on Secretary of State Pompeo’s Address in Cairo, Egypt

“Secretary Pompeo’s speech was remarkable for its disconnection from reality. It marked another missed opportunity to lay out a serious diplomatic strategy to secure our interests in the Middle East. Pompeo further damaged his credibility by insisting that the Trump Administration has united the Gulf Cooperation Council, when all evidence points to the opposite, and somehow strengthened its hand by swapping out the multilateral JCPOA for unilateral sanctions. By completely ignoring human rights issues in Egypt, he did a disservice to Americans, who expect more from our chief diplomat. 

“Even as the federal government – including the State Department – remains shut down over the manufactured border wall crisis, Secretary Pompeo seems bent on sparking a new crisis in the Middle East with his reckless, politically-driven rhetoric about Iran.”

Prominent members of the diplomatic community also responded to the speech:

Lawrence Wilkerson, retired United States Army Colonel, former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell and Foreign Policy for America advisory board member:

"Secretary Pompeo's Cairo speech struck me as more of the same pablum the U.S. pours out to host states it considers momentarily important that I've heard for the past twenty-plus years – with several glaring exceptions. First, in the lack of real emphasis on human rights, of which Egypt in particular needs powerful reminding. And second in the exhortation of U.S. policy consistency. Pompeo must think himself a circus ringmaster. Between John Bolton and Trump, mixed in with a little Erdogan, Assad and Abdul-Mahdi, U.S. regional policy is all over the map. And third, the most glaring exception of them all, his remarks on Iran. If Pompeo, in all his lamentations about the evils of Iran had simply substituted in place of Iran, Saudi Arabia, he would have gained stature and billing for finally speaking the truth. But, alas, the lies continue. And, sadly, with Cairo's current leadership these lies fell on receptive ears."  

Uzra Zeya, Senior Fellow at Georgetown University Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and former Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor:

“Pompeo’s claims of reinvigorated American leadership in the region fell flat. Most of the countries he mentioned – Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar, Libya, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Morocco – have no U.S. Ambassador in place, with the Trump administration hitting the two-year mark.

“Pompeo’s emphasis on his evangelical Christian background, ‘radical Islamism’ and criticism of the prior Administration’s Muslim engagement suggests continued animus towards Muslims writ large. His assertion that ‘we are all sons of Abraham’ ignores the diversity of a region that includes Yazidis, Baha’i, Zoroastrians and other religious minorities under grave threat.”