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مقاله ای از ریجارد هاس و مارتین ایندیک درمورد نقش ایران

Beyond Iraq

A New U.S. Strategy for the Middle East

From Foreign Affairs, January/February 2009

Summary:  To be successful in the Middle East, the Obama administration will need to move beyond Iraq, find ways to deal constructively with Iran, and forge a final-status Israeli-Palestinian agreement

Richard N. Haass is President of the Council on Foreign Relations. Martin Indyk is Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. This essay is adapted from a CFR-Saban Center project drawing on the contributions of experts at both institutions and published as Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President. 

For six years, U.S. policy in the Middle East has been dominated by Iraq. This need not, and should not, continue. The Obama administration will be able to gradually reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, limit their combat role, and increasingly shift responsibility to Iraqi forces. The drawdown will have to be executed carefully and deliberately, however, so

The Obama administration should take advantage of the willingness of regional and global powers to work with the United States by renewing Washington's commitment to diplomacy. Such a renewed commitment was already noticeable during the last years of the Bush administration, when U.S. diplomats participated in a series of multilateral efforts to engage Iran and North Korea, rebuild the United States' transatlantic relationships, and promote Israeli-Palestinian peace. But for such efforts to be truly effective, the Obama administration's diplomats will need even more support.

They will also need a plan for reshaping the strategic context in the Middle East. Counterterrorism should be an integral part of U.S. Middle East strategy, but it no longer need be the driver of that policy. The Obama administration should focus on strengthening local capacities to fight terrorism, preventing the reemergence of al Qaeda in Iraq, and bolstering institutions in failing states where al Qaeda is trying to put down roots. The president himself should also send a clear message to the Muslim world that the United States is at war not with Islam but rather with small groups of violent extremists acting against the basic tenets of Islam.

The Bush administration gained some traction in the Arab world with the aggressive promotion of its "freedom agenda." But its insistence on elections in Lebanon, Iraq, and the Palestinian territories enabled Islamist parties with militias to enter the political process and then paralyze it in each place. The Bush administration's boycotting of Hamas after it freely and fairly won the Palestinian elections enabled the United States' opponents in the Arab and Muslim worlds to raise the banner of double standards. And President George W. Bush's backing away from his public demands that the Egyptian and Saudi governments open up their countries' political spaces undermined the credibility of his democratization enterprise.

Rather than abandoning the effort entirely, the Obama administration should strike a more sustainable balance between U.S. interests and U.S. values. Authoritarian regimes that are repressive and largely unresponsive to their populations' legitimate needs have set in motion a dynamic in which opposition has gathered primarily in the mosque. This trend needs to be reversed. The answer is not early elections, especially not when parties with militias contest them. Rather, a gradual, evolutionary process of liberalization should be promoted, one that emphasizes the building of civil society, the opening up of political space, and the strengthening of democratic values, including the rule of law, judicial independence, freedom of the press and association, women's rights, and government transparency. Above all, the United States needs to focus on supporting efforts to provide a vast and growing young generation in the region with hope for the future and reason to resist the dark visions purveyed by religious extremists as not to risk undoing recent pr