Rebels firing toward Tal Rifaat, a town in northern Syria, last week. Mr. Obama has defended his resistance to being dragged deeper into the Syrian war beyond limited engagements against the Islamic State. Credit Khalil Ashawi/Reuters
New York Times: Awaiting Next U.S. President: Middle East in ‘Free Fall’
JERUSALEM — After a presidential campaign dominated by reality-show-style insults and put-downs, the winner of next month’s American election will wake up the following morning to find a far more daunting reality waiting: a Middle East awash in conflict and disarray, desperate for American leadership.
The 45th president will inherit problems associated with the region that are vastly more challenging than any in a generation as the old order has given way to a kaleidoscopic mix of alliances, rivalries and overlapping crises. In the past, presidents have viewed the region through the prism of the Cold War, terrorism or Israel, but those paradigms have shifted dramatically.
Today there is no single overarching issue but multiple ones. Syria, Iraq and Yemen are caught up in war. Turkey and Jordan are inundated by refugees. Russia has reasserted itself as a major player in the region. Libya is searching for stability after the fall of its longtime dictator. The Kurds are on the march. Egypt is fighting off a terrorist threat at home. And Saudi Arabia and Iran are waging a profound struggle for the future of the region.
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WNU Editor: I expect Donald Trump to step back from a hot spot like Syria, continuing the war against the Islamic State in the manner that President Obama has followed in the past few years in Iraq and elsewhere, and try to re-establish relations and credibility with our allies that have become strained under President Obama. As for Hillary Clinton .... I see her doubling down on Syria, but as to the rest of the region a continuation of President Obama's policies .... including maintaining relations with Iran.