Pompeo to head to Middle East for talks on Yemen, Syria, Iran

Pompeo to visit Qatar on Mideast trip focus on need for GCC unity

Senior US official: Saudi version of Khashoggi murder 'not credible'

The official also said that the USA has no plans right now to facilitate Arab forces going into Syria.

While in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, the USA secretary of state is expected to deliver a speech about America's "commitment to peace, prosperity, stability, and security in the Middle East", according to the state department, cited by Time.com.

Announced on Friday, the hastily-organized tour follows deep uncertainty among United States allies in the region after a sudden Trump avowal for a swift military troop withdrawal from Syria was followed by another conflicting declaration by the president that the process would be "slow" and "careful".

Pompeo will also visit Israel and Turkey, following in the footsteps of Trump national security adviser John Bolton, who will arrive in the area Friday.

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Speculation intensified about the king's future this week when the country's Islamic royals reportedly held a special meeting. There had been a question mark over the reign of the king since his leave of absence "for medical treatment" in November.

The CIA has assessed that the killing was ordered by the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, a conclusion endorsed by the US Senate, but Trump and his senior officials, including Pompeo, have continued to insist the evidence against the prince, a key partner in the administration's Middle East policy, is conclusive.

The withdrawal of USA troops from Syria was initially expected to be completed within weeks, but has been slowed as Trump has acceded to requests from aides, allies and U.S. politicians for a more orderly pullout. The State Department said Pompeo will visit eight countries in the region, starting with Jordan and ending in Kuwait.

Mr Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October a year ago.

It is also seeking a solution to the three-year-old war in Yemen in which a Saudi-led, US-supported coalition has battled with Iran-supported Huthi rebels over control of the country.

Egypt to inaugurate Coptic cathedral after bomb blast
Egypt's president is inaugurating Nativity of Christ Cathedral for Coptic Christians and one of the region's largest mosques. IS claimed an assault in early November in which six Copts and one Anglican died in the central province of Minya.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia's prosecutor announced that the trials of 11 Saudis accused of being involved in Khashoggi's murder had begun in the Gulf kingdom.

"It blows my mind that it took the killing of a Washington Post journalist for everyone to go, 'Oh, I guess he's not really a reformer", Minhaj observed of 33-year-old bin Salman, who's accused by the U.S. Senate and the Central Intelligence Agency of orchestrating the gruesome killing.

Pompeo will seek an update on the investigation into Khashoggi's death, as well as hold discussions on other regional subjects, the State Department said.

US Confirms Death Of Militant Involved In USS Cole Bombing
Since then the Federal Bureau of Investigation has offered a $5 million reward for information that would lead to al-Badawi. Damage sustained on the USS Cole after a terrorist bomb exploded during a refuelling operation in the port of Aden, Yemen.

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