Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee as Secretary of State, said that defeating ISIS would be the highest US priority in the Middle East. He spoke at the Senate hearing Wednesday for his confirmation, adding that the US would also combat other radical Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. In another part of his address, Tillerson stressed that the US would not tolerate friends and allies who break trust and fail to honor their commitments, but would favor those who kept their commitments “like Israel.” He started out by declaring that “American leadership must be asserted, not just renewed.”

The incoming official faces tough questions about his interests, in view of his global career as CEO of the Exxon-Mobile oil giant and wide network of international contacts, especially in Moscow.