Prof. Brian M. Katulis, Senior Fellow-National Security, Center for American Progress
Abstract: President Obama’s Middle East policy record in his first six years in office was mixed and lacked significant signature achievements – but the July 2015 Iran nuclear agreement represents a major accomplishment. Overall, Obama’s approach was cautious, as the United States reacted to fast-moving events. The overall U.S. strategy focused on degrading terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula (AQAP) to prevent a major attack on the United States and avoiding making the strategic blunders that his predecessor made. Attempts to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace fell short twice and efforts to broker a peaceful settlement to Syria’s vicious civil war have not succeeded. America’s response to the ongoing political shifts of the Arab uprisings has been uneven.