Cover: U.S. Strategic Interests in the Middle East and Implications for the Army

U.S. Strategic Interests in the Middle East and Implications for the Army

Published Dec 7, 2017

by Karl P. Mueller, Becca Wasser, Jeffrey Martini, Stephen Watts

Download Free Electronic Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Regional instability and conflict have often frustrated U.S. leaders' aspirations to pivot away from the burdens of military operations in the Middle East in order to shift resources to other parts of the world. As the U.S. Army looks across the Middle East and North Africa in 2018, it can anticipate and should be prepared for its current involvement there to extend into the future.

There is little prospect that American military actions can resolve fundamental problems in the Middle East beyond the destruction of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's (ISIL's) would-be caliphate. However, regional conflicts, plotting by ISIL and al-Qa'ida from safe havens, or U.S. partners embroiling themselves in military operations that turn out to imperil their own security could cause the U.S. president to consider options for intervention. Therefore, it will be crucial for Army leaders to be able to play a leadership role in future deliberations about the role of U.S. military power in the region, and the Army will need to prepare and posture its forces so as to be able to deal with such contingencies when necessary.

This perspective examines threats to U.S. interests in the Middle East and factors associated with success and failure in U.S. military interventions, and offers recommendations for the Army as it prepares for future involvement in the region.

This research was sponsored by the United States Army, and conducted within the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program, of the RAND Arroyo Center.

This commentary is part of the RAND expert insight series. RAND Expert Insights present perspectives on timely policy issues. All RAND Expert Insights undergo peer review to ensure high standards for quality and objectivity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.