The Near East presents the United States with some of its most pressing security and political issues. With its renewed commitment to the region to increase prosperity, promote freedom, and counter extremist ideology, the U.S. Government is pursuing a comprehensive and lasting peace for the Middle East. These efforts include shepherding the transition to a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq; countering the malign influence of Iran and its nuclear ambitions; seeking regional stability through close cooperation with U.S. allies; and promoting political, social, and economic progress throughout the region.
Arab-Israeli Peace: The U.S. Government is engaged in significant diplomatic efforts to bring about a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. The United States continues to encourage negotiations with the aim of a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians, and broader peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The United States will play an active and sustained role in facilitating continued discussions, as only through good-faith negotiations can the parties mutually agree upon an outcome that ends the conflict. The U.S. Government will continue to work with partners in the international community to achieve this objective.
Iraq: The U.S. Government is on track in its efforts to help develop a democratic Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant. In 2010, the U.S. Government fulfilled its commitment to ending the combat mission in Iraq, supporting free and fair elections, and assisting the Iraqi political leadership to form a new government that represents the will of the Iraqi people. The agreement by Iraq’s leaders to form a national partnership government was a milestone in the emergence of the new Iraq. The U.S. Government continues to work closely with the government and the people of Iraq to implement activities designed to build the capacity of the national, local, and provincial governments to represent and respond to the needs of the Iraqi people. This includes delivering essential services, fostering economic and agricultural growth, and providing humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons, ethnic and religious minorities, and other vulnerable populations. The U.S. Government is committed to maintaining a long-term and sustainable partnership with Iraq as it transitions to a civilian-led presence and assisting Iraq to build its institutions and reintegrate the country in the region and the global economy.
Iran: The Iranian Government’s nuclear program, its destabilizing activities in the region including support for terrorism, and its repression of its own citizens undermine U.S. Government efforts to foster peace and security in the Middle East. The international community is united in calling on Iran to live up to its obligations and pursue meaningful engagement to resolve the concerns of the international community, as was evidenced in the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1929 and accompanying sanctions enacted by a number of influential international actors. The United States will continue to press for Iranian engagement through the National Security Council.
Regional Security: Throughout the region, the United States seeks to strengthen the security of allies and combat extremism while promoting tolerance and inclusive politics. U.S. diplomatic, economic, and security engagements are critical to helping governments combat extremist groups and defend against external threats. Despite being one of the world’s poorest countries, Yemen is an essential partner in U.S. contingency operations against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. The U.S. Government’s efforts in Yemen follow a two-pronged approach, combining assistance in the fields of security and counterterrorism with development assistance and support for political reform and reconciliation.
Promoting Political, Social, and Economic Progress Throughout the Region: The United States supports goals of political freedom, citizen engagement, and broad-based prosperity in the Near East by advocating for democracy and human rights, and providing targeted programs to support diplomatic efforts. The United States is actively pursuing progress and reform through diplomacy, development, capacity building, and public outreach in an effort to meet the President’s call for new partnerships in the areas of business, economics, science and technology, education, health, and job growth. Significant focus is on the region’s burgeoning youth population. The United States pays particular attention to indigenous advocates of reform who are working to defend human rights, strengthen civil society, broaden political and economic participation, and open doors to women and youth.
International Compliance: The United States will continue work to encourage governments to comply with internationally accepted standards of behavior, including those pertaining to human rights and worker rights. The United States remains committed to the goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, and supports universal adherence to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and other international nonproliferation agreements.