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U.S. Policy Toward Syria and Iran: Engage or Sit it Out?Louise Blouin Foundation - The Metropolitan ClubSince the Arab-Spring in late 2010 that saw the collapse of the political orders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, the balance of power within the region has been irrevocably changed. This change not only resulted from an absence of leadership, but from the emboldenment of Iran as a growing power in the region as well. With the twin ambition to develop a capacity for nuclear arms production and to act as the source of spiritual leadership for the Shia community, Iran has grown more influential on the governments of Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories and Egypt. As a result of this increase in reach, both Saudi Arabia and Israel have been placed on the defensive, each fearing the incitement of conflict. This has led to two policy outcomes by each country. In the case of Saudi Arabia $66 billion in military supplies have been purchased from the United States, primarily in the form of missile shields and other defensive measures, to safeguard the Gulf region. In the case of Israel, an active policy discussion has been advanced that proposes to attack Iran in order to curb its nuclear ambitions. Within this complex set of relations that has far-reaching impact on world affairs, this panel will ask: (a.) how can regional stability be achieved, both in respect to the cessation of civil conflict and the establishment of ‘normal’ diplomatic relations in a post Arab-Spring context; secondly, (b.) what is the likelihood of further armed conflict within the Middle East and what are the best strategies to avert another conflict?