U.S. Priorities in the Middle East

(Hoover Institution) Tony Badran - Progress on a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians is as low a priority for America in the Middle East as you can get. The real interest for the U.S. lies elsewhere. In the 1990s, U.S. policymakers convinced themselves the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was the central dynamic preoccupying and driving the behavior of regional states. It became a self-evident truth that everything depended on resolving this conflict and on giving the Palestinians their own state. This linkage grossly inflated the importance not just of the Palestinians, but also of the fractured Levant. Moreover, linkage made U.S. policy hostage to the maximalist demands of the most radical elements of the region. The path forward for the U.S. is to continue to strengthen Israel's position as a security pillar in the region while shoring up the U.S.-allied Arab states and fostering closer cooperation between them and the Israelis against Iran. What matters for the U.S. in the region is to consolidate its state alliance system to contain Iran and its assets. Progress in peace talks with the Palestinians is a matter of far less concern. The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

2019-09-27 00:00:00

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