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The head of the northern Israeli command

Gadi Eisenkot’s Challenges and Opportunities

December 8, 2014,

Unlike many previous chiefs-of-staff for Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF), whose appointments were shadowed by controversies, the nomination this past week of Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot as the 21st commander of the IDF has been widely welcomed.more

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America’s Standing in the World: Image and Reality

November 20, 2014,

International Conference at the BESA Center. Monday, December 8 and Tuesday, December 9, 2014more

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Between a Hollow Success and a Legacy of Failure

As the West's nuclear negotiations with Iran heads toward additional extensions, it is likely that future negotiations will focus on the concessions Iran seeks to secure.more

Netanyahu at white house (avi ohayonprime ministers office)

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.more

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The Ties Between Israel and Azerbaijan

October 26, 2014,

Since gaining independence in 1991, Azerbaijan has emerged as one of Israel’s closest friends in the Muslim world. Israeli-Azerbaijani ties have expanded to include oil and weapon supplies, as well as cooperation in information technology, medicine, water purification and agriculture.more

Aid for Gaza

Aid to the Palestinians: A Case of Flagrant Discrimination

October 22, 2014,

The disproportionate dispensation of international aid to the Palestinians is discriminatory and biased. more

clinton and king jonil

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

October 21, 2014,

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.more

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New at the BESA Center

America’s Standing in the World: Image and Reality

November 20, 2014,
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International Conference at the BESA Center. Monday, December 8 and Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Conference Videos Online – Military and Political Lessons of Operation Protective Edge

October 6, 2014,
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Watch the lectures (in Hebrew) of last week’s conference at the BESA Center

Newest Publications

Gadi Eisenkot’s Challenges and Opportunities

December 8, 2014,
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Unlike many previous chiefs-of-staff for Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF), whose appointments were shadowed by controversies, the nomination this past week of Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot as the 21st commander of the IDF has been widely welcomed.

מלחמת עזה 2014 – סיכום ראשוני

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

Between a Hollow Success and a Legacy of Failure

As the West’s nuclear negotiations with Iran heads toward additional extensions, it is likely that future negotiations will focus on the concessions Iran seeks to secure.

Turmoil in the Eastern Mediterranean: A View from America’s Allies

November 17, 2014
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Watch Prof. Efraim Inbar deliver a speech on the shifting power dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean at the Hudson Institute, Washington DC

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.

The Ties Between Israel and Azerbaijan

October 26, 2014
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Since gaining independence in 1991, Azerbaijan has emerged as one of Israel’s closest friends in the Muslim world. Israeli-Azerbaijani ties have expanded to include oil and weapon supplies, as well as cooperation in information technology, medicine, water purification and agriculture.

Aid to the Palestinians: A Case of Flagrant Discrimination

October 22, 2014
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The disproportionate dispensation of international aid to the Palestinians is discriminatory and biased.

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.

Fight Not the Last War

The IDF must be careful not to make too many operational changes based on the lessons of Operation Protective Edge

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.

Confronting 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

The Geneva Interim Accord: A Bad Deal

December 2, 2013
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The interim accord reached in Geneva regarding Iran’s nuclear program is a bad deal that enshrines Iran’s status as a nuclear threshold state and paves Tehran’s path towards a nuclear bomb.

A Strike on Iran: Complex, But Possible

November 21, 2013
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An Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is a risky and militarily-complicated endeavor, but within reach. Israeli ingenuity and determination could lead to a great operational and political success.

France and the Iranian Nuclear Program

November 14, 2013
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France’s bold move to hold up a nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran reflects its broader policy and genuine concern about a nuclear Iran.

Israel vs. the Iran-Hizballah Axis

November 14, 2013
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The IDF and the Iran-Hizballah axis are in the midst of a long-term military build-up, preparing for the possibility of a full-scale eruption of the ongoing covert struggle between them.

Armed and Dangerous: Why a Rational, Nuclear Iran Is an Unacceptable Risk to Israel

November 1, 2013
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The Iranian regime can be considered rational, but it cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. History has proven that radical regimes can seek the destruction of others if faced with an immense threat. Israel cannot rely on deterrence and must be prepared to confront Iran militarily or invest in ballistic missile defense.

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

The Myth of Palestinian Centrality

July 7, 2014,
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The “Palestinian cause” has been at the forefront of discourse on the Middle East for nearly a century. It has long formed the primary common concern of pan-Arab solidarity and its most effective rallying cry, yet neither the Arab states nor Palestinian leaders have truly acted in the interest of the “liberation of Palestine.”

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

Regional Alternatives to the Two-State Solution

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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.

The Rise and Demise of the Two-State Paradigm

January 1, 2009
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The Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the Land of Israel has evolved over the past hundred years. Nowadays, most attempts to solve this conflict revolve around the two-state paradigm. However, a solution based on this paradigm is unlikely to emerge in the near future.

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.

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

An Arab Spring?

March 3, 2013,
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In this new book, eight experts from the BESA Center and other institutes evaluate the Arab earthquakes rocking the Middle East. They consider their implications of the regional volatility for Israel and its chances to live peacefully in the region, as well as the implications for regional and global security.

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.