The International Relations and Security Network features The New Containment: Changing America’s Approach to Middle East Security, a report by Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow for Middle East Security Bilal Y. Saab on calibrating a new US strategy for Mideast security:
Securing the Middle East after an Iran nuclear deal is the next big challenge for both the region and the international community. The United States and its allies have engaged in tireless diplomacy with Iran over the past few years to produce an agreement that would limit Tehran’s nuclear program for the next decade and a half. However, the hard work does not stop here; in fact, it may have just begun. To protect the deal (assuming one is finalized) and take full advantage of its potential benefits, which include the drastic reduction of the risk of nuclear weapons proliferating in the region, the United States needs a comprehensive strategy for regional security in the Middle East. After all, the ultimate prize and broader objective is and has always been to secure and stabilize the region. A potential nuclear deal with Iran—as strategically significant as it is—is only one piece of the Middle East security puzzle.
In this report, the author makes the case for a more creative and cost-effective US containment approach to regional security in the Middle East that seeks, among other things, to ultimately involve regional stakeholders in a cooperative security system. The author starts with four key assumptions: First, there is no lasting security and stability in the Middle East without real political and economic development. Second, the United States neither can nor should be the agent pushing for change in the region; change should almost always come from within. Third, change cannot happen without first addressing immediate and severe security challenges. And fourth, the United States cannot address those security challenges alone.