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President Barack Obama and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, at the White House, May 13, 2015 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

Why the U.S. Should Prioritize Iraq and UAE Ties Over Egypt and Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series inviting authors to identify the biggest priority—whether a threat, risk, opportunity or challenge—facing the international order and U.S. foreign policy today.

President Barack Obama’s second term has illuminated the dysfunctional nature of many of the United States’ closest relationships in the Arab world and the need to rebalance its commitments. Some of this dysfunction is a product of policy differences, such as the strains between the U.S. and the Gulf states on both Syria and the Iran nuclear deal. But the roots of other facets go back further, to the destabilizing effects of the Iraq war, which upended the regional order, encouraged regional polarization along sectarian lines, created unprecedented space for Iranian power projection, and sowed doubts about American competence. ...

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