Abstract: Much has been written in the past years about the U.S.’s disengagement from the Middle East and North Africa – be it as a consequence of shifting priorities or as one of many steps on a path towards global decline. For decades, Washington had been the key power broker and unrivaled regional hegemon; a point of reference for those seeking reassurance and support as well as for those seeing U.S. influence in the region as a threat to their own security and self-determination. This article examines traditional and current U.S. security interests, challenges and strategies in the Middle East, focusing particularly on security cooperation patterns between the U.S. and its regional allies, which are predominantly driven by fears of entrapment and overbalancing as well as the ambition to seek influence and project power with limited means. Moreover, it explores short- and mid-term policy options for the U.S. to ease its prevailing alliance dilemma in the region.