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Defender Challenge 1999

Syria’s Chemical Weapon Obfuscations

The reluctance of the international community to act forcibly regarding undeclared Syrian chemical weapon capabilities is a very bad sign. It raises doubts about full implementation of intelligence-gathering operations and effective monitoring of the Iranian nuclear program.more

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Improving Ties between India and Israel

August 6, 2015,

Relations between Israel and India are improving. The planned visits to Israel of India’s president and prime minister reflect this change. These shifts in Indian foreign policy are related to changes in the domestic and international arenas.more

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The Vienna Accord Only Postpones Confrontation with Iran

The Vienna agreement has made the situation more complex and dangerous, not less so. The conflict that will ensue will take place in conditions far worse (from a Western perspective) than before the agreement, pitting the West (and/or Israel) against a much-stronger Iran.more

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ההתפתחויות האפשריות בעקבות חתימת ההסכם עם איראן

בהסכם שחתמו המעצמות עם איראן יש לכאורה הישג גדול, אך נראה שהטוענים כך מתעלמים ממכלול החולשות שבו. מדובר על הסכם שנחתם מתוך כוונה לדחות את הבעיה ולא על מנת לפתור אותה, תוך התעלמות מהעובדה שכאשר הבעיה תעלה שוב היא תהיה חמורה פי כמה ויהיה קשה עשרות מונים לטפל בה.more

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Assessing the Gaza Disengagement, Ten Years Later

August 16, 2015,
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Summary and videos from a July 2015 conference which took a ten-year retrospective look at Israel’s 2005 unilateral disengagement from Gaza. Watch the fascinating debate between Prof. AB Yehoshua and Rabbi Yaakov Medan.

On the Future of Israel’s Natural Gas Reserves

July 15, 2015,
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Summary and videos from a July 2015 conference on the strategic and geopolitical aspects of Israel’s newly-discovered natural gas deposits.

New Publications

The Vienna Accord Only Postpones Confrontation with Iran

The Vienna agreement has made the situation more complex and dangerous, not less so. The conflict that will ensue will take place in conditions far worse (from a Western perspective) than before the agreement, pitting the West (and/or Israel) against a much-stronger Iran.

What Israel Can Do Now

July 19, 2015,
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There are still actions Israel might take to protect itself from attack by Iranian nuclear weapons, including a limited Israeli strike on Iran.

Israel’s Role in the Struggle over the Iranian Nuclear Project

Washington now seeks to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, while Jerusalem seeks to prevent it from having the capability to produce nuclear weapons. Israel should keep doing everything it can to prevent a bad deal with Iran, up to the very last second.

Six Strikes against the Nuclear Deal with Iran

July 15, 2015
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There are (at least) six significant and immediate bad results from the agreement reached yesterday between the Western powers and Iran.

Perfect Storm: The Implications of Middle East Chaos

The storms now convulsing the Middle East are civilizational shifts of historical proportions. Anyone from the outside trying to influence these regional upheavals in a positive direction will find the task very difficult. Israel must focus narrowly on the greatest threat looming in its vicinity — the Iranian drive for nuclear weaponry.

Obama: The Reluctant Realist

June 7, 2015
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Contrary to the assertion that Barack Obama’s foreign policy lacks direction or ideological basis, Prof. David argues the president’s foreign policy can be explained as adhering very closely to traditional realist theory.

The Unrealistic European Peace Offensive

June 1, 2015
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While partition of the Land of Israel between the Jews and the Arabs living in this small part of the world is desirable, the Palestinian national movement has proved to be the wrong partner to implement partition and is largely responsible for the failure of the two state solution. Conflict management is the only approach that has a chance to minimize suffering on both sides and achieve a modicum of stability in a stormy Middle East.

Confronting Iran

The Vienna Accord Only Postpones Confrontation with Iran

The Vienna agreement has made the situation more complex and dangerous, not less so. The conflict that will ensue will take place in conditions far worse (from a Western perspective) than before the agreement, pitting the West (and/or Israel) against a much-stronger Iran.

Obama: The Reluctant Realist

June 7, 2015
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Contrary to the assertion that Barack Obama’s foreign policy lacks direction or ideological basis, Prof. David argues the president’s foreign policy can be explained as adhering very closely to traditional realist theory.

Converging Enemy Threats to Israel

May 28, 2015
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Israeli strategic planners must beware the converging twin hazards of Iranian nuclear weapons and Palestinian statehood.

A Problem of Nuclear Proportions

The proposed agreement with Iran is very bad. Even without using nuclear arms against Israel, a nuclear Iran will make the Middle East far more dangerous.

The Struggle over the Iranian Nuclear Program

It is incumbent on Israel to use all the diplomatic and political tools at its disposal to halt the signing of an accord with Iran that leaves Teheran with the capability to produce nuclear weapons.

Obama’s Iran Policy and Israel’s Elections

February 16, 2015
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Obama does not want Netanyahu in Washington because he considers him a spoiler of his most important foreign policy initiative – an agreement with Iran. He’d like to oust him from Jerusalem as well.

While The Jihadists Make Headlines, Fundamentalist Iran is Making Major Gains

February 5, 2015
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The United States’ policy in response to both Iran and the Islamic state is confusing and contradictory. Washington must reexamine the Iranian threat by confronting it, rather than appeasing its leaders.

Iran Remains the Greatest Challenge in U.S.-Israel Relations

If a “permanent agreement” with Iran fails to guarantee the bare minimum safeguards against Iran’s nuclearization that Israel feels is necessary, the relationship between the U.S. and Israel will truly be put to the test.

Negotiating with Iran: Lessons from America’s Failed Nuclear Accord with North Korea

October 21, 2014
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The overall failure of the Agreement Framework to halt North Korea’s nuclear program offers an important lesson in analyzing the potential effectiveness of a new nuclear agreement with Iran.

Iran Remains the Threat in the Middle East

October 19, 2014
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The novelty of the Islamic State, as well as the magnitude of the threat it poses, are greatly exaggerated. Iran remains the main threat to stability in the Middle East.

Israel Cannot Accept the Emerging Accord between the US and Iran

An agreement that would allow Iran to maintain a full nuclear fuel cycle would be far worse than no agreement, and could force Israel to respond independently

Syrian Civil War

Has Syria’s Chemical Weapons Arsenal Truly Been Dismantled?

June 30 marks the due date for the complete disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. Although Assad may have relinquished the majority of his chemical weapons stockpile, the regime most probably possesses additional ‘undeclared’ facilities.

Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Is Disarmament Possible?

September 24, 2013
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Disarming Syria’s chemical arsenal will be a big challenge. The US-Russia timetable seems too condensed, even if good will is assumed. Syria possesses a huge chemical weapons arsenal, and is likely to further develop biological weapons, which the US-Russia accord does not discuss.

France and the Syrian Civil War: From Diplomacy to Military Intervention?

September 8, 2013
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France has changed its view that conflicts can be resolved only through diplomacy, which explains the country’s recent military activism in Libya, Mali, and perhaps soon in Syria, as well.

The End of Syria?

November 15, 2012
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In this roundtable discussion, ten experts at the BESA Center the implications for Israel and the West of the civil war raging in Syria, just across Israel’s northern border. The bottom line: Israel should stay out of the conflict but prepare for continued instability as Syria breaks up.

Will Syria’s Chemical Weapons Arsenal Be Eliminated?

Efforts to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons are running months behind schedule. Even if Assad abides by his commitment, Syria’s equally dangerous biological weapon stocks will remain.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Israel’s Air and Missile Defense During the 2014 Gaza War

February 11, 2015,
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The Israeli Air Defense Command deployed an efficient defense array against the rocket launchers in the last operation in the Gaza Strip. The operation also uncovered the gaps in the Israeli defense system that require corrective actions.

The Gaza War, 2014 Initial Assesment

December 2, 2014, and
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מאמר זה בוחן את הממדים האסטרטגיים והצבאיים של הלחימה בעזה

We Have to be Prepared

September 15, 2014
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The rules of the game between Israel and Hamas will be decided by Israel’s response to the first instance of rocket fire.

Hamas was Defeated, Until the Next Time

September 1, 2014
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During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas was clearly defeated, but was not destroyed.

Conduct of Operations in Limited Scale Conflicts

August 31, 2014
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Observing “Operation Protective Edge” against Hamas in Gaza lead to the conclusion that a revision of Israel’s conceptual strategic compass is needed, particularly regarding the concepts of ‘deterrence’ and ‘decisive victory’.

Wise Tactical Choices in Gaza

Since the launch of Operation Protective Edge, Israel has made a series of wise tactical choices that contribute to the diplomatic and military effort.

Playing with Terror: How to Stop Qatar’s Support for Hamas

August 25, 2014
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Qatar has become the leading backer of Hamas terrorism, and the country’s wings need to be clipped.

Hamas Cheerleaders: Professional Failures of the Western Media in Gaza

August 13, 2014
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Western media coverage of Operation Protective Edge has been marred by deep anti-Israel bias and serious failures, both professional and ethical.

No Economic Aid to Hamas-Ruled Gaza

July 29, 2014
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The developing international consensus to offer Gaza economic aid in exchange for a ceasefire is a moral and strategic mistake.

Hamas Underground Warfare

July 27, 2014
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The IDF must develop the technology and the tactical skills to locate, map and destroy Gaza’s tunnels.

New Paradigms in Peace Diplomacy

The Unrealistic European Peace Offensive

June 1, 2015,
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While partition of the Land of Israel between the Jews and the Arabs living in this small part of the world is desirable, the Palestinian national movement has proved to be the wrong partner to implement partition and is largely responsible for the failure of the two state solution. Conflict management is the only approach that has a chance to minimize suffering on both sides and achieve a modicum of stability in a stormy Middle East.

A Strategy for Peace with the Palestinians

November 1, 2012
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The Palestinians refuse to accept Israel as a Jewish state and are reluctant to drop their armed and ideological opposition to Israel’s existence. The global community can oppose Palestinian denial of Israel’s connection to the land; support Israel’s legitimacy; resettle Palestinian refugees outside of Israel; modify aid programs to reduce Palestinian use of foreign money to support terror; and encourage free speech in Palestinian society.

Regional Alternatives to the Two-State Solution

Within the currently-defined, narrow confines of the conventional two-state parameters, no Israeli-Palestinian agreement is likely. Regional alternatives that widen the scope of actors taking responsibility for a settlement can creatively help break the impasse.

US-Israel Relations

Where are You Going, President Obama?

August 6, 2014,
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The Obama administration seems not to understand the current power configuration in the Middle-East and the dangers of the growing Islamist movement.

The Kerry-Qatar Ceasefire Document: What it Says About American Strategy in the Middle East

August 3, 2014
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Last week’s failed ceasefire proposal by John Kerry highlights the clash between the Obama administration’s approach to the Middle East, and the strategy preferred by Israel and other American allies in the region.

Kerry: Stay Home

November 10, 2013
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John Kerry warned of a return to Palestinian violence and Israel’s isolation should peace talks fail, yet another reflection of the Obama administration’s inability to properly understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Kerry’s Antagonism Unmasked

November 10, 2013
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John Kerry has abandoned America’s honest broker stance in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, laying out the consequences for Israel of disobeying America, but doing no such thing for the Palestinians if they remain intransigent.

US-Israel Mixed Messages on Iran

September 10, 2012
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Israel and the US must improve their lines of communication. The US also ought to consider equipping Israel with enhanced military resources that would allow Israel to confront Iran at a later date – giving the West more time to pressure the Iranian regime.

Turkish-Israeli Relations

Erdogan Is in Trouble

December 29, 2013,
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The Turkish Prime Minister is facing unprecedented political pressure that might precipitate the end of his rule.

The Deterioration in Israeli-Turkish Relations

February 1, 2011
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Tensions between Ankara and Jerusalem have escalated since Turkey harshly criticized Israel following its invasion of the Gaza Strip in December 2008 (Operation Cast Lead). This is due to a reorientation in Turkish foreign policy, characterized by moving away from the West and by a desire for better relations with Muslim states.

The Cold War Between Turkey and Iran

June 11, 2012
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Syria and Iraq have become battlefields on influence between Turkey and Iran. In Syria, a proxy war is underway, with Iran supplying weapons to its Alawite client and Turkey actively arming the opposition. In Iraq, Turkey and Iran vie for political influence along Sunni-Shiite fault lines.

Get Tough With Turkey

July 14, 2011
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Turkish demands are unreasonable and an apology will not change the anti-Israeli policy of an increasingly authoritarian and Islamist Turkey. Israel’s reluctance to criticize Erdogan’s government is construed as weakness and Jerusalem should take off its gloves in dealing with Ankara.

The Future of Egypt

Egypt and the Threat of Islamic Terror

January 1, 2014,
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Egypt’s new rulers are faced with a terror problem emanating from the Sinai, led by radical jihad groups. The US and international community must support the Egyptian regime to prevent Egypt from turning into the next Syria.

Welcome Back to Mubarak’s Egypt

July 4, 2013
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The latest chapter in the Egyptian Revolution is nothing more than a return to the military dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Egypt’s troubles may only be beginning.

Egypt’s Army Will Not Intervene

March 12, 2013
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Hopes or expectations that the Egyptian military will intervene in the deteriorating political and security crisis are probably misguided.

Morsi’s Egypt and Ahmadinejad’s Iran: Much Ado Over Next to Nothing

February 10, 2013
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Morsi’s hosting Ahmadinejad signals a potential improvement in ties between Egypt and Iran. This move will backfire, as ultimately Morsi needs the US and Gulf countries more than they need him.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Its True Intentions Towards Israel

December 10, 2012
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The Brotherhood sees Israel as a strategic threat and has aggressively lobbied Morsi to strengthen Egyptian military presence in Sinai. The anti-Israel rhetoric emanating from senior Brotherhood leaders must be taken seriously.

Arab Spring-Islamist Winter

2011 Arab Uprisings and Israel’’s Security

February 1, 2012
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Dramatic events have unfolded in the Middle East since the beginning of 2011. This unstable environment indicates trouble for Israel. What follows is an assessment of the implications of the changing regional environment for Israel’s national security.

Confrontation Along Israel’s Borders

“Nakba Day” confrontations along Israel’s borders reflect new regional realities and a long-term weakening of Israel’s deterrence posture.

Missile Defense

The Missile Threat from Gaza: From Nuisance to Strategic Threat

December 1, 2011,
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When the first Qassam rocket landed in the town of Sderot in October 2001, few observers, if any, perceived it as the harbinger of a protracted and increasingly furious campaign by the radical Palestinian groups in Gaza against Israel’s population centers adjacent to the Gaza Strip (the so called “Gaza envelope” communities) by ballistic weapons.

Iron Dome: Has the Euphoria Been Justified?

February 25, 2013
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Praise for Iron Dome may be deserved, yet Israel’s deterrence capability has not been enhanced, and Israel’s enemies may initiate an arms race to try and defeat it.

Operation Pillar of Defense: An Initial Assessment

December 4, 2012
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The operation also proved Israel’s determination to act forcefully in the post “Arab Spring” environment. However, the lack of a ground offensive allowed Hamas to craft a victory narrative and gave it the potential to re-arm.

Iron Dome: A Dress Rehearsal for War?

July 3, 2012
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If the appearance of Iron Dome on the battlefields of southern Israel was what compelled Palestinians to scale down the scope of their rocket fire, this would be a major strategic achievement of Israel’s newly deployed missile shield, and a resounding exoneration for the resources invested in it.

Missile Warfare: A Realistic Assessment

January 25, 2012
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The threat to Israel of missile warfare is somewhat exaggerated and public discourse on this issue should reflect realistic assessments. Missile attacks would be able to inflict only limited physical damage on Israel.

The Lessons of Operation Cast Lead and 2006 Lebanon War

February 19, 2009
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Almost the entire Israeli home front has come under rocket and missile assault. This article surveys the Israeli response to rocket attacks, including the targeting of missile launchers and improved civil defense; and discusses the need for a comprehensive active missile defense.

Security in the Gulf

Is the GCC in Peril?

March 12, 2014,
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Tension over Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood has damaged relations between Doha and its Gulf neighbors. The days of the GCC may be numbered.

Saudi-Israeli Relations: Balancing Legitimacy and Security

December 17, 2013
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There is speculation on collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Israel against Iran. However, given its history and concern for the legitimacy of its rule, the Saudis are more likely to draw closer to Iran.

Yemen Under Attack

December 12, 2013
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Yemen is on the verge of becoming a failed state, as the interim government struggles to fight terrorist groups, such as al-Qaeda, that have made Yemen a base of operations.

Saudi Succession and Stability

November 1, 2011
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The process of balancing and satisfying Saudi royal factions depends on patience and conservatism within royal circles. It also requires quiet in the streets of Riyadh and Jedda. Thus far, there are no signs of the so-called “Arab Spring” spreading to Saudi Arabia.

Empty Words: Saudi Blustering

July 17, 2011
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The Saudis are all bark and no bite. Despite occasional public “outrage” from Saudi officials about US policy regarding the Arab unrest, Israel, Iraq, Iran, or Afghanistan, Riyadh and Washington are still very distant from the parting of ways threatened by some Saudi officials.