A Roundtable on

“Shifts in the US Strategic Assessment of the Middle East:

Security Implications for the Gulf Region”

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mezzoon Ballroom, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi


The latest views and stands expressed by US President Barack Obama towards the Middle East have created a controversy both in the US and in our region. These views hint to a shift in the American perspective of its goals, interests and engagement in the region. This shift also forces regional countries to reassess the American role in the region and the nature and level of relations with Washington.

This is a pivotal moment in the history of the American relations with regional countries; therefore, it is crucial to approach shifts in the US strategy and explore its future trajectories, especially at a time when the current US Administration prepares to leave and a new one is about to be sworn in next January.

This roundtable aims to examine the new shifts in the American strategy towards the Middle East, impact of these shifts on regional security and stability, and the future of the US-GCC relations. This roundtable is based on the need of regional countries to draft their own view for relations with the US in line with their goals and interests without settling for reacting only to the views of the other side.

The roundtable deals with four main themes:

  1. The first theme discusses reasons and contexts of the shift in the US strategic assessment of the Middle East and their implication on the distribution of power in the region.
  2. The second theme tackles the internal and external elements influencing change or revision of the current US strategic assessment of the Middle East.
  3. The third theme foresees the future of the Gulf region’s security in light of the shift in the US strategic assessment.
  4. The fourth theme attempts to draw possible scenarios for the US strategic assessment of the region over the coming two decades.


The roundtable will try to answer the following crucial questions:

  • What is the nature of the US strategic assessment of the Middle East region during the cold war, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, post 9/11 attacks, and 2011 onwards? What are the constant and variable elements in this assessment in each period?
  • Has been there any real difference in the strategic approach adopted by Democratic and Republican administrations towards the Middle East region?
  • To what extent does the status of the US as the sole superpower in the world depend on its engagement in the Middle East region? Can Washington really disengage from the region?
  • Was the Asian pivot an actual and realistic strategy for the Obama Administration? To what extent can the US move forward with this strategy in the future?  
  • How did the policies of the Obama Administration towards the region influence the regional balance of power and the distribution of power?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities for regional countries and the Arab Gulf countries, in particular, in light of the US strategic shift?
  • What are the characteristics of the expected US strategy towards the region after the upcoming presidential election?
  • What are the possible means to enhance US-GCC relations? And on what bases and interests?



Download Workshop Agenda






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