Senate Republicans this week are taking aim at President Obama's Middle East policy, which they have criticized as too passive in the face of multiple threats from Iran and the Islamic State, and an assertive Russian posture in the region.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has summoned Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to appear Tuesday to discuss the issue as a prelude to a deeper exploration Thursday of alternatives to the president's global strategy.

Since taking over in January, Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has scheduled a series of hearings designed to critique what he said last week was the administration's "seeming inability or unwillingness to think about our national security challenges as anything other than a litany of individual crises requiring ad hoc, micromanaged responses."

Obama's approach to the Middle East has drawn particular scorn from Republicans, as well as some Democrats, who see the fight against the Islamic State faltering and Iran growing stronger and more assertive, rather than more cooperative, since reaching a nuclear deal with the United States and other world powers in July.

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