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Pompeo makes unannounced visit to Iraq

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced visit to Baghdad, Iraq. CNN's Arwa Damon has more.

Posted: Jan 10, 2019 5:04 AM
Updated: Jan 10, 2019 5:35 AM

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Iraq Wednesday as part of his tour to reassure regional allies of the US' commitment to security and stability in the Middle East amid a shifting Syria strategy.

Pompeo traveled first to Baghdad, where he met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul al-Mahdi, President Barham Salih, Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali al-Hakim and Speaker of the Council of Representatives Mohamed al-Halbousi. He then traveled to Erbil, where he met with members of the Iraqi Kurdistan government.

In Baghdad, according to State Department readouts of his meeting with the Prime Minister and President, Pompeo spoke with leaders about how the US could support Iraqi Security Forces "to ensure ISIS' lasting defeat." Pompeo told the traveling press in Erbil that he had spoken to the leaders there about President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.

Despite a blistering critique from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the conditions of that withdrawal -- specifically the protection of Kurdish fighters in Syria -- Pompeo offered a vote of confidence.

"We're having conversations with them even as we speak about how we will effectuate this in a way that protects our forces, make sure that the Americans as we withdraw are safe and we will complete the mission of taking down the last elements of the caliphate before we depart," Pompeo told the traveling press before departing Erbil.

"What I said last week is that these are folks that have fought with us and that it's important that we do everything we can to make sure that those folks that fought with us are protected and Erdogan has made commitments, he understands that — I think he uses the language that he has no beef with the Kurds — we want to make sure that that's the case," he continued.

Pompeo's visit was not previously announced by the State Department, but White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in December that Pompeo would make a stop in Iraq. It comes just weeks after Trump's trip to the country, during which the President did not meet with Iraqi elected officials. That visit was denounced by parliament members, major Iraqi political parties and key players in the current Iraqi government.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 263023

Reported Deaths: 5752
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17675191
Hinds16813331
Harrison14224204
Rankin11167219
Jackson10839190
Lee9050144
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Jones6668114
Forrest6177124
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Holmes171768
Clay165837
Tallahatchie156235
Stone151425
Clarke147262
Calhoun140822
Smith129226
Yalobusha122034
Walthall114337
Greene113529
Noxubee112926
Montgomery111636
Carroll106622
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Perry104531
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Benton85623
Humphreys84624
Kemper80520
Quitman7089
Franklin69917
Choctaw63213
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45117
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 439442

Reported Deaths: 6657
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson644371007
Mobile31435569
Madison28158217
Tuscaloosa21492275
Montgomery19873332
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Baldwin17128189
Lee13137107
Morgan12594142
Etowah12070181
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Houston8988164
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Lauderdale7847107
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Walker6028183
Jackson599145
Colbert548694
Blount546286
Autauga535862
Coffee460764
Dale409685
Franklin374150
Russell354215
Chilton344373
Covington338580
Escambia334544
Tallapoosa3143109
Dallas312996
Chambers303470
Clarke298036
Pike262431
Lawrence253355
Marion253161
Winston233342
Bibb222348
Geneva210247
Marengo208231
Pickens199531
Hale184944
Barbour180538
Fayette177829
Butler173160
Cherokee165131
Henry159525
Monroe152021
Randolph145536
Washington141727
Clay129746
Crenshaw123745
Macon121937
Cleburne121525
Lamar119922
Lowndes114836
Wilcox107922
Bullock103328
Perry99918
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Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63418
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