The transformations underway across the Middle East present both an opportunity and a challenge for U.S. policy in the region. Many new actors are entering the political stage and their positions, goals, and political weight are still difficult to judge, making the formulation of a new U.S. policy difficult. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School co-hosted a half-day conference about the forces shaping the region and the options for the United States.
Some leaders have introduced limited concessions in an effort to retain power and cope with popular demands for reform even as a broad spectrum of new political forces is developing across the Arab world.
Washington’s response to the Arab Spring was crafted in the context of competing priorities: the challenge of managing simultaneous land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an increasingly assertive Iranian regime, international terrorism, climate change, and an economic recession.
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