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Bernard Haykel

Trump Can Remake the Middle East

The question is whether it will be for the better or the worse.
Let's make a deal.

Let's make a deal.

Photographer: Alex Wong

One of Donald Trump's key goals since becoming president has been to systematically reverse the policies of his predecessor. So it’s no surprise that Trump’s visit this weekend to Saudi Arabia, his first to a foreign country, will signal a break with Barack Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East.

This is both promising and potentially troubling. On the plus side, Trump has a unique opportunity to reframe America’s engagement with the region, by addressing a set of problems ranging from Israel's relationship with Arab nations to the Islamist radicalization that began with the Iranian revolution in 1979 and has culminated with the Islamic State caliphate in Iraq and Syria.