The Near Eastern region presents dangerous challenges to the United States, but also opportunities to implement U.S. objectives, support the President's vision, and capitalize on the momentum of regional reform and the pursuit of democratic change. The Department of State and USAID continue to work closely with our interagency partners, regional allies, and the private sector to advance U.S. foreign policy and support transformational diplomacy.
Iraq: Our foremost policy priority is to help the Iraqi people build a democratic, stable, and prosperous Iraq. To that end, we will continue to support all parties in their attempt to work towards a resolution of the outstanding issues, and to provide a secure environment for our overall objectives. The United States will continue to play a prominent role in helping the Iraqi people in economic and political reconstruction. We also will continue to work with the Iraqi military and police to ensure that a capable security force is prepared to assume control over all of Iraq. (Strategic Goal Linkages: 1, 2, 3, and others)
Iran: The single largest long-term threat to regional stability and peace is Iran. We remain committed to preventing Iran from realizing a nuclear program that threatens its neighbors and the world. We continue to work with our allies in pressuring Iran to suspend fully its nuclear enrichment and reprocessing program and cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN Security Council, to cease its support for extremist groups throughout the region, and to work with those inside and outside of Iran seeking a more democratic future. In the years ahead, we anticipate increased needs for broadcasting, cultural and educational exchanges, and democracy programming in Iran. (Strategic Goal Linkages: 1, 2, and 6)
Arab-Israeli Conflict: A peaceful, negotiated solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict remains a top U.S. priority. To that end, we will continue to: support the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people; encourage popular support for moderate, democratic, pro-peace Palestinian leadership; and encourage broad regional support for peace with Israel. (Strategic Goal Linkages: 1, 2, 5, and others)
Democratic and Economic Reform: Our guiding principle for transformational diplomacy in the region is to stimulate and support reform across the entire region. We will work with countries in the Muslim world to advance economic reform, increase educational opportunity, and boost political participation—especially for women. Our efforts remain critical to the successful democratic transition of countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq. Leading our democratic reform agenda are the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and USAID. MEPI is a critical tool that allows the United States to respond rapidly to reform efforts driven by the people of the Middle East, including in Syria and Iran. The Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiatives, through the first and successive Forums for the Future, have laid out an ambitious agenda of programs in support of reform.
Our efforts to support democratization include a reinforcing focus on building open economies capable of generating robust private sector employment, especially for the region's youth. Increased trade and investment are essential to this process, and we will continue to seek progress towards the World Trade Organization (WTO) accession for Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Lebanon. Active assistance programs support our efforts to advance economic reform. We will also continue laying the groundwork for a Middle East Free Trade Agreement by 2013. Strengthening bilateral economic ties through the conclusion of Trade and Investment Framework Agreements, Bilateral Investment Treaties, and Free Trade Agreements will promote economic reform in the region as well as improve cooperation on environmental issues that also supports the development of democratic institutions and civil society. (Strategic Goal Linkages: 2, 3, 4, and others)
Security Issues: Our efforts in the Global War on Terror will remain a priority for the foreseeable future. Through our assistance and training programs, our friends in the region are building their legal, regulatory, enforcement, and operational counterterrorism capabilities, including strengthening regional military and law enforcement forces and financial oversight and regulatory capabilities. A major U.S. priority remains to strengthen relationships with our allies and friends in the region through military assistance programs.
A key priority remains the full implementation of UNSCR 1701 while supporting the government of Lebanon as it asserts its sovereignty throughout the country and rebuilds. We also will seek to prevent Yemen from becoming a failed state, and to improve weak government controls along the border areas in the Trans-Sahara region and Iraq. The success of our larger counterterrorism effort in large part depends on the spillover success from programs which promote democratic and economic reform—programs that work to eliminate the disenfranchisement and despair that contribute to terrorist recruitment. We remain committed to countering proliferation and the reintegration of weapons scientists into mainstream scientific fields. (Strategic Goal Linkage: 1)
Public Diplomacy: A key component of our effort to support regional reform and democratic consolidation is to establish an effective public diplomacy program that communicates U.S. policy assertively and corrects popular misconceptions about the United States and our intentions in the region. We have developed a coordinated strategy that aims to explain our policies and culture through a broad range of regional media and initiatives as well as Arab media outreach. Many of the public diplomacy programs currently underway will only produce tangible results on a five-year to ten-year horizon. By 2012, we should be able to see many of the results of today's programs such as: more exchange program alumni in positions of prominence, increased English language competency, and an increased appreciation for American culture and values. Public diplomacy objectives also are achieved through active promotion of development projects as funded by the American people. (Strategic Goal Linkage: 6)
|Countries Comprising the Near East Region|
The following countries are in the Near East region: