US retrenchment in the Middle East was inevitable given America’s new global priorities, which centre on the Indo-Pacific and Europe. But this historic transition has brought with it strategic uncertainty and confusion, not just for Washington but also for US regional partners.

To effectively navigate this new contested environment in the Middle East, and more specifically, to address the issue of China’s encroachment into that vital part of the world, Washington needs policy clarity and shrewd management of its relations with its regional partners.

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