US Presidential Election: What next for US Policy towards the Middle East?

The 3rd November US presidential election is expected to significantly impact US policy towards the Middle East.

Research event, Webinar
27 October 2020 — 1:00PM TO 2:00PM

In his first term, President Trump has taken a commitment to his drawing down from the ‘forever wars’ in Iraq and Afghanistan, withdrawn from the Iran nuclear agreement and imposed a sanctions based maximum pressure strategy on Iran.

Despite Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf, the US administration did not immediately assist its Arab Gulf partners. In January 2020, it chose to respond by killing Iranian Quds force commander Qasem Soleimani.

Most recently, the Trump administration celebrated the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain seeing two additional Arab states normalize ties with Israel.

Yet, regional stability remains tentative. Iran has yet to alter its regional policy of interference and wars continue to rage in Yemen, Syria and Libya.

In contrast to the previous four years, a Biden administration is expected to swing towards a multilateral approach, promote human rights, restore transatlantic relations, and re-enter the JCPOA to bring equilibrium to regional relations.

In this webinar, organised by the Chatham House US and Americas and MENA Programmes, panellists will consider the regional policy priorities of a Biden and Trump administration and will assess potential responses from the region.

The webinar will be livestreamed on the MENA Programme Facebook page.


Dr Tamara Cofman Wittes, Senior Fellow, Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings
Ambassador Dennis Ross, Counsellor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow, The Washington Institute; Former Special Assistant to US President Barack Obama
Dr Sanam Vakil, Deputy Director and Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Moderator: Dr Leslie Vinjamuri, Director, US and the Americas Programme; Dean, Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs, Chatham House

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