Political and economic reform in the region will be the centerpiece of the address.
Security issues are expected to be secondary. A source does say Iran will be "mentioned" in the speech, but it is not clear if there will be a Hezbollah reference by name.
"He'll talk specifically about ways that we can best support that positive change, while focusing on our core principles: nonviolence, support for human rights, and support for political and economic reform," Carney said in Thursday's briefing.
Mr. Obama is expected to have give some specific new ideas about U.S. policy in the region.
"That is an opportunity not to be missed, in the President's view. And while change can be unsettling, it can even be scary because we don't always know where it's headed. It is something in this case to be embraced because the opportunity is there to help shape a better future for the region and for the world," Carney said.
The length of the speech, which will be Thursday morning from the State Department, is still being worked out.