Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Urges Policy of Strategic Reengagement in Middle East
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Urges Policy of Strategic Reengagement in Middle East

Washington, D.C. — As the Biden administration tries to define its role in the Middle East at a time of overwhelming pressures at home and competing interests worldwide, a new report from the Center for American Progress urges the United States to continue its role of steady engagement in the region.

The report argues that reducing America’s role in the Middle East or severing ties with flawed but long-standing regional security partners in the region is a recipe for greater instability and will not serve American interests or values in the long run.

The United States should move from the current model of being the unrivaled regional security guarantor in a hub-and-spoke set of bilateral relationships to one of being a regional integrator on a range of issues, including security, economic, and energy concerns, the report says.

“A U.S. policy discussion dominated by the false choice between staying in or leaving the region, with a narrow focus on military footprints and tactics, fails to see the opportunities available to help the people of the Middle East achieve the greater freedom and prosperity they desire,” said Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at CAP and vice president of Policy at the Middle East Institute.

The report suggests that the United States can safeguard its interests in the Middle East and meet the opportunities the region presents by building five pillars of strategic reengagement over the next decade:

  • Launch joint initiatives on human security challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, economic security, human rights, and climate change.
  • Put diplomacy first in efforts to end conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Libya.
  • Contain and engage Iran with diplomacy backed by a balanced regional security strategy.
  • Create conditions for progress and greater regional integration with renewed and inclusive diplomacy on the Arab-Israeli front.
  • Advance a more balanced regional security policy with greater focus on emerging challenges.

Read the report: “Strategic Reengagement in the Middle East: Toward a More Balanced and Long-Term Approach for U.S. Policy” by Brian Katulis and Peter Juul

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org.