By: Faizan Haq, Editor-in-chief
Almost all presidents of the United States since World War II visit the Middle East. At least one of the US allies such as; Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Israel is a destination on their itinerary. These trips frequently appear to initiate new policies, doctrines and diplomatic trends. American policy in the Middle East often remains consistent with preserving the status quo, securing energy resources and keeping the balance among regional powers. The demise of Saddam’s regime in Iraq, Gadhafi’s in Libya, the Egyptian army’s coup against el-Morsi’s government lead by el-Sisi, along with the civil wars in Syria and Yemen have shattered the status quo. These have introduced unpredictable non-state actors disguising proxy wars supported by regional rivals exerting their influence and control. Militarily we have stayed involved, although the intensity of the involvement has wavered over time from full-fledged warfare to supplying arms and training to the interested parties.
At this time, U.S. assisted militias are advancing towards Raqqa, the stronghold of extremists in Syria; the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and Saudi Arabia are reaching new heights, and the tug of war between Iran and Saudi Arabia intensifies. America remains a core player in the thick of these events. President Obama’s efforts to reach a difficult agreement with Iran backfired by emboldening Iran to expand its reach in the Middle East at the cost of Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, Iran’s persistent backing of Bashar al-Assad has resulted in wiping out U.S. supported rebels making room for ISIS to grow stronger in Syria.
As Americans, we must know where, why, how and since when are we involved in the world. President Trump’s trip to the Middle East seems to be reversing President Obama’s policies but has created new challenges of security for the region. So far, we have few hundred billion dollars of defense contracts from Arab countries, but the long term strategic interests of the United States remain vulnerable. The first step that we must take to stabilize the Middle East is the de-escalation of the conflict. As the conflicts in its intensity tends to hurt everyone involved and we have been involved for a long time.