Pompeo Egypt

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to students at the American University Cairo, in the eastern suburb of New Cairo, Egypt, east of the capital, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool Photo via AP)

CAIRO — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a scathing rebuke of the Obama administration’s Mideast policies on Thursday, accusing the former president of “misguided” thinking that diminished America’s role in the region while harming its longtime friends and emboldening Iran.

In a speech to the American University in Cairo, Pompeo unloaded on President Donald Trump’s predecessor, saying he was naive and timid when confronted with challenges posed by the revolts that convulsed the Middle East, including Egypt, beginning in 2011.

Pompeo denounced the vision outlined by President Barack Obama in a speech he gave in Cairo in 2009 in which he spoke of “a new beginning” for U.S. relations with countries in the Arab and Muslim world.

“Remember: It was here, here in this very city, another American stood before you,” Pompeo told an invited audience of Egyptian officials, foreign diplomats and students. “He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from ideology. He told you 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East. He told you that the United States and the Muslim world needed ‘a new beginning.’ The results of these misjudgments have been dire.”

Pompeo said that the U.S. was “timid” about “asserting ourselves when the times — and our partners — demanded it.”

The secretary did not mention Obama by name but the remarks still struck listeners in the U.S. as unusually partisan.

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