Since the end of the Cold War, a new strategic landscape has appeared in the Middle East. No longer dominated by a U.S.-Soviet rivalry, this new landscape is dominated by U.S.-Iranian confrontation. In this struggle, the United States’ most important Arab ally, Saudi Arabia, plays a key role. As the Obama administration policies allow Iran to run out the clock on getting a nuclear weapon, it would appear from its recent policy moves that it believes Riyadh is primarily concerned with the Arab-Israeli conflict. While this is a concern in Saudi Arabia, it is far and away not the primary one. Indeed, there is no doubt that in its foreign policy Riyadh is much more worried about Iran’s rise as a key regional actor.
This article reviews Israel’s value as an American ally since 1967. It highlights the actions taken by Israel on behalf of the United States, including accommodating U.S. national interests at the expense of Israeli interests. The article explores the myth of Holocaust guilt as the primary reason for Israel’s creation and contrasts the actions of other regional U.S. allies with those of Israel. The steadily declining tangible support for U.S. policies by American allies in the twenty-first century has served to magnify Israel’s importance to the United States.
The study examines how the United States has come to deal with Afghanistan-Pakistan, a key foreign policy challenge for the Obama administration. It focuses on President Obama’s new policy known as AfPak, the Kerry-Lugar Act, and other U.S. initiatives adopted since 2009 in order to help stabilize the situation in South Asia. The author concludes by arguing that the new initiatives will not substantially improve the situation in Pakistan, because they fail to address the country’s core problem: lack of strong democratic institutions.
On June 8-9, 2009, the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung jointly held a conference in Jerusalem entitled, “Israel and the Arab States: Parallel Interests, Relations, and Strategies.” Brief biographies of the participants can be found at the end of the article.
On March 24, 2009, the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, the U.S. Department of State’s International Information Programs in Washington D.C., and the Public Affairs Office at the U.S. Embassy in Israel jointly held an international videoconference seminar focusing on reform and democracy in the Gulf States.
Brief biographies of the participants can be found at the end of the article. This seminar is part of the GLORIA Center’s Experts Forum series.
The Obama administration faces an enormous number of challenges in the Middle East each of which has its separate roots and requirements. Yet throughout these conflicts runs a single theme: the battle between an Iran-led coalition and other states, along with the overlapping battles of Islamists versus nationalists, and sometimes of Sunni versus Shi’a. This article is a brief analysis of these issues and the options possessed by the administration in dealing with them.