The past two presidents have been deeply engaged in promoting democracy in the Middle East. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Middle East emerged as a key region of strategic interest for the United States, and both Bush and Obama sought to build a strong base of allies among its nations. Efforts have ranged from military strategies to topple nondemocratic regimes, such as the Iraq War begun under Bush and the intervention in Libya overseen by Obama, to soft diplomatic and foreign aid programs to build civil society, facilitate free and fair elections, and promote the rights of women, minorities, and other marginalized groups.
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