What’s Pompeo been up to?

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While Donnie has been dominating the country’s attention the Waddler has been very busy chewing at the wiring and setting up booby traps for the incoming administration. Here’s some comment on what he’s been up to.

Mr. Pompeo has not been idle. Over the past week, he unleashed a series of actions whose only real purpose appears to be to make life as difficult as possible for his successor at the State Department. He put Cuba back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, he plans to designate the Houthi rebels in Yemen as a foreign terrorist organization, he eased restrictions on contacts between American diplomats and Taiwan officials and he claimed that Iran is a “home base” for Al Qaeda.

All the while, Mr. Pompeo has been hyperactive on social media, issuing scores of tweets since the start of the year touting the administration’s “accomplishments” abroad. Most of these are regarded by American allies and many State Department professionals as terrible, like withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Paris agreement on climate change and the Iran nuclear deal.

Some of the actions Mr. Pompeo took over the past week might be defensible, were they taken in the context of a coherent foreign policy. But coming days before a change in administration, their sole identifiable purpose is to maliciously plant obstacles — some commentators have called them time bombs or booby traps — before the incoming administration and President-elect Joe Biden’s choice for Mr. Pompeo’s successor at State, Antony Blinken, are in place.

NYTimes

Yemen

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, designated the Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah (Supporters of God), as a foreign terrorist organisation on Sunday, causing protests among NGOs worried that this would make it impossible for them to send food and other aid into Yemen.

The US designation of the Houthi movement in Yemen as a terrorist organisation is likely to lead to a famine on a scale not seen for 40 years, the UN’s most senior humanitarian official has said.

Mark Lowcock, the director general of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, called for the decision to be reversed, saying the cost of food was likely to rise by as much as 400%, way beyond the reach of many aid agencies.

The Guardian

Iran

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has claimed, without providing evidence, that al-Qaida leaders have established a new “home base” in the Iran, in what appeared to be his latest effort to raise the political cost of the next administration reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

Speaking with just eight days left in office, Pompeo alleged that Iran was “the new Afghanistan”, telling a news conference in Washington: “Unlike in Afghanistan, when al-Qaida was hiding in the mountains, al-Qaida today is operating under the hard shell of the Iranian regime’s protection.”

In remarks to the National Press Club, after which he did not take questions, the outgoing secretary of state also confirmed press reports that a senior al-Qaida figure, Abu Mohammed al-Masri, was assassinated last August in Tehran, where he was said to be living under a false identity.

The Guardian

Cuba

The controversial step was announced by secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Monday, at the start of Trump’s final full-week in office, and places Cuba alongside Iran, North Korea and Syria.Cubans lose access to vital dollar remittances after latest US sanctionsRead more

Pompeo justified the move – which reverses Barack Obama’s 2015 decision to remove Cuba from the list after more than three decades – by accusing Havana of “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbour to terrorists”.

“These are trumped up charges,” said Christopher Sabatini, a senior fellow for Latin America at Chatham House. “Terrorism as an international definition is committing acts of violence against unarmed civilians intended to frighten the population. Cuba doesn’t do that. Yes, it represses its own people – but so does Saudi Arabia.”

The Guardian

Taiwan

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo is lifting restrictions on contacts between US officials and their Taiwanese counterparts, a move welcomed by Taiwan but labelled by some observers a publicity stunt likely designed to anger China.

The announcement came late on Saturday, just 11 days before the departure of President Donald Trump, whose foreign relations have been defined by increased hostilities with Beijing.

In a statement, Pompeo said the US state department had imposed the complex internal restrictions on itself “in an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing”, and he was now lifting them all.

The Guardian

And, of course, let’s not forget the Waddler fully supports ethnic cleansing, as long as its Muslims.

“Well, that’s settled, then. . .”