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A New Approach to Arab-American Relations

Given recent transformations taking place in the region related to the American effort to reach a new agreement with Iran, Arab-American relations need a deep reassessment. This reassessment must go beyond simply talking about extended partnerships, strategic cooperation, and the bilateral and multilateral alliances that have ruled relations for many years. The need for review also comes in light of the efforts of some countries in the region, including Israel, to address security developments in their broader, regional context rather than at the state level. In short, the US and the Arab world need to work on building a real strategic dialogue that covers all issues – including those that have been too sensitive to discuss to date. We must launch a bolder dialogue between the two sides: a dialogue that identifies the most important points of agreement and monitors the most important areas of conflict, which are not limited to regional threats but extend to working together to confront new challenges in the region, including the coronavirus crisis, and the potential for renewed waves of extremism and terrorism. Still, it’s important to remember that the Arab world can take a more proactive role in this regard by initiating a dialogue that focuses on the nature of America’s relations with the countries of the region, based on common interests. Furthermore, we must adopt a single Arab position – shared by leading countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt – on key regional issues, especially as Iran and its proxies in the region, including Turkey, work to consolidate their positions and grow their power. –Tariq Fahmy (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)