Barack Obama - Reuters - 1.2.2011
U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House, Feb. 1, 2011. Photo by Reuters
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The Wall Street journal reported Saturday that the Obama administration is devising a new Middle East strategy in face of ongoing Arab world turmoil, preferring stability over democracy for key allies in the region.

According to the report, the White House is urging protesters in Bahrain and Morocco to cooperate with existing leaders towards a "regime alteration". This would entail enacting reforms whilst maintaining the existing government makeup.

The Wall Street Journal quoted a U.S. official saying, "starting with Bahrain, the administration has moved a few notches toward emphasizing stability over majority rule. Everybody realized that Bahrain was just too important to fail."

The report attributed this approach largely to lobbying by Arab governments, who have expressed serious concern that Obama would call on other Arab leaders to step down, as he did with Egypt and more recently Libya. Arab leaders fear that further deposition of regional rulers could spark a chain of revolts could sweep them from power as well.

The report contended that this move towards a more coherent strategy is also due to domestic U.S. criticism that the Obama administration sent mixed messages in the initial stages of the Egyptian uprising that led to the ouster of President Mubarak, a longtime western ally. The White House tentatively endorsed Mubarak's leadership at the beginning of the protests, and then switched it allegiances, throwing full support behind the protesters who eventually overthrew the three-decade Egyptian president.