RELEASE: Biden administration sought new balance for US Middle East policy
Washington, DC – In its first six months, the Biden administration attempted to change US policy in the Middle East by prioritizing diplomacy and making modest changes on the military front, but key challenges human security issues are on the horizon.
As with its recent measures in Afghanistan, the Biden administration has decided to scale back its military engagement in the wider Middle East, according to a new briefing note from the Center for American Progress. The brief describes the administration’s actions in the Middle East and North Africa on five key fronts: human security, conflict resolution, Iran, Arab-Israeli affairs, and the US military position and commitment. In the region. It offers an assessment of where the administration has been successful so far and where it has failed.
“The Biden team has so far sought to limit direct U.S. involvement in the region in an effort to limit the costs of U.S. engagement,” said Brian Katulis, senior member of the CAP and co-author of the thesis. “But this carries the risk of placing the United States in a reactive position – beholden to events – instead of seeking to proactively shape trends through diplomacy and other forms of engagement.”
Over the next six months and beyond, the United States is likely to face challenges on two main fronts. First, diplomacy with Iran on relaunching the nuclear deal has yet to produce a breakthrough. Second, tensions between Israel and some of its neighbors, including Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah in Lebanon and a range of groups operating from Syrian territory, could escalate into a larger conflict.
Chronic human security challenges also prevail, including the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread electricity shortages, the climate crisis and the suppression of human rights in parts of the Middle East and Africa. North. The conditions that produced popular uprisings in key regions of the Middle East and North Africa in 2011 remain, representing an opportunity for the United States to recast its global engagement in the region.
Read the briefing note: “Finding a New Balance for US Middle East Policy: A Look at the First 6 Months of the Biden Administration” by Brian Katulis and Peter Juul
For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at g r o. s s e r o r r n a c i r e m a @ l e n a n a h s.