By Gregorio Bettiza and Christopher Phillips

President Obama came into office with a clear international priority: fixing America’s faltering Middle East foreign policy. With two ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a disaffected Middle East, the continuous simmering terrorist threat, disenfranchised allies, emboldened regional rivals and the perpetually floundering Israeli-Palestinian peace process, this was a mammoth task. Alongside the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the incoming president’s Middle East goals focused on: rebuilding America’s soft power and standing in the region; engaging immediately in a more even handed way in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and lastly, devising a more pragmatic and realist strategy to curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions…