Pompeo visit fails to reassure Israel on Syria, Iran

Al-Monitor | : Such a climate of gloom in Jerusalem ahead of a visit by a senior US official is unheard of. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the right-hand man of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s best friend President Donald Trump, announced his intention to arrive in Israel for a lightning stopover in the morning hours of Oct. 18, right after his dramatic visit to Turkey. Pompeo was supposed to try to publicly assuage Israeli phobias that have soared since it turned out that Trump was speedily pulling out of Syria and leaving the arena to Turkey, Russia and Iran.

“It is clear that he will sit with Netanyahu and explain what a tremendous achievement Trump has scored with the Turks on the cease-fire,” a senior Israeli diplomatic source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity on the eve of the planned meeting. “The problem is that no one in the room will believe him.”

Jerusalem is in the depths of a painful hangover that will last a long time. The greater the expectations, the tougher the disappointment. Sobering up from the Trump euphoria that has gripped Israel for almost three years is particularly painful, given that at stake is not only a prime strategic asset but also a political asset Netanyahu rode all the way to the ballot box. The collapse of Trump’s Middle East policy and Israel feeling abandoned and left alone to face the entrenching Shiite axis and the troubling Ankara-Moscow-Tehran connection are generating severe headaches across Israel’s chaotic political board. For the first time in ages, the heads of Israel’s security and intelligence agencies are finding themselves bothered more by developments in the top US echelons than by what is happening between Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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