THE RISE AND DEMISE OF THE US INVOLVEMENT IN THE MIDDLE EAST: WHY DID THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DISENGAGE FROM THE MIDDLE EAST?

Author: Faisal Al Yasiri

Al Yasiri, Faisal, 2017 THE RISE AND DEMISE OF THE US INVOLVEMENT IN THE MIDDLE EAST: WHY DID THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DISENGAGE FROM THE MIDDLE EAST?, Flinders University, School of History and International Relations

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Abstract

This thesis examines some seven decades of the US involvement in the Middle East, since the end the Second World War till the end of Obama presidency. By viewing fundamental US strategic interests in the region, like securing access to and the flow of energy resources, defending the security of the state of Israel, and fighting terrorism, this thesis provides an understanding of why the Middle East invariably occupies a unique place in US strategic calculations, despite a constantly changing global and regional geopolitical landscape. The thesis articulates how the Obama Administration shifted US Middle Eastern foreign policy, and reduced the US engagement with the region, suggesting a range of factors and variables that contributed in this transformation. This thesis opines that the transformation of the US policy toward the Middle East under Obama resulted from the eruption of the Arab Spring, and the relative decline of the Middle Eastern oil strategic significance on the one hand, and Obama’s presidential doctrine and the need to prioritise the Asia-Pacific region, on the other hand. The thesis articulates how the Obama Administration shifted US Middle Eastern foreign policy, and reduced the US engagement with the region, suggesting a range of factors and variables that contributed in this transformation. This thesis opines that the transformation of the US policy toward the Middle East under Obama resulted from the eruption of the Arab Spring, and the relative decline of the Middle Eastern oil strategic significance on the one hand, and Obama’s presidential doctrine and the need to prioritise the Asia-Pacific region, on the other hand.

Keywords: US foreign policy, the Middle East, The Obama administration
Subject: International Relations thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2017
School: School of History and International Relations
Supervisor: Michael Sullivan