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Political Change in the Middle East and North AfricaAfter the Arab Spring$
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Inmaculada Szmolka

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474415286

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474415286.001.0001

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The foreign policy of the United States following the Arab Spring

The foreign policy of the United States following the Arab Spring

(p.326) Chapter 14 The foreign policy of the United States following the Arab Spring
Political Change in the Middle East and North Africa

Juan Tovar

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter analyses president Obama’s foreign policy in the MENA region. The first section focuses on the discourse and key strategic documents of the Obama administration. The purpose is to identify the place that the MENA region has in the order of priorities of his foreign policy. The second section analyses the US foreign policy towards some of the states affected by the Arab Spring; while the third analyses the participation of the US in various conflicts that have marked this change process. The fourth explores the question of the nuclear agreement with Iran and its effects on Israel, which is one of the main allies of the US in the region. The final chapter pulls together the conclusions. In some cases the US used diplomatic tools to promote political change; this is the case of Tunisia, Egypt or Yemen. In other cases the American decision-makers defended a status quo policy, such as Bahrain. In the cases of Libya, Syria and Iraq, the US was involved in different military interventions to promote political change or to fight terrorist groups like the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), as a consequence of the Arab Spring. The chapter concludes that the Obama Administration did not have a coherent strategy to the region, offering different reactions to different states with different contexts and interests. Nevertheless, the ascent of the IS and the Russian influence on the region, make that the MENA region retains its strategic and vital role for the American foreign policy.

Keywords:   Middle East and North Africa, United States, Foreign policy, Obama Administration, Arab Spring and Post-Arab Spring, Nuclear agreement, Islamic State

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