Perspectives Papers

Perspectives Papers provide analysis from BESA Center research associates and other outside experts on the most important issues pertaining to Israel and the Middle East.

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Palestinian Arab Volunteers in the British Army in WWII: A Reality Check

No. 1367

A recent study recounts the purportedly unknown story of Palestinian Arab volunteers fighting the Nazis during WWII. Haaretz used this finding as an opportunity to mock PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who has pointed out that the Mufti of Jerusalem was a close ally of Hitler. Yet the Mufti’s position as “the most important Arab Quisling” is indisputable, while most of the study’s conclusions are dubious and inconsistent with historical facts.

The WhatsApp Crisis Reveals Cracks in Iran’s Soft Power Strategy

No. 1366
| December 8, 2019

The “WhatsApp crisis” in Lebanon revealed a crack in Iran’s grand diplomatic strategy of using its proxies to push ideological soft power concurrently with hard power. Since 1979, Tehran has been trying to brand itself as the epicenter of the Islamic Revolution. That notion is being challenged—not by Lebanese tanks and Iraqi bullets but by citizens armed with smartphones.

Turkey: Jihadist Highway Revisited

No. 1365
| December 6, 2019

Shortly before the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Washington, Turkey captured one of the wives of Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the slain leader of ISIS, in addition to several other family members. A week earlier, Turkish police detained 43 suspected ISIS terrorists allegedly preparing for a major attack on Turkish soil. This is all good news, but it’s hardly the only news.    

Iranian Port City Bears Brunt of Crackdown

No. 1364
| December 5, 2019

The Iranian port city of Bandar-e-Mahshahr, which is experiencing great violence during the crackdown on the anti-regime protests, is a microcosm of Iran’s broader domestic problems.

Tehran Might Be Preparing to Withdraw from the 2015 Nuclear Agreement

No. 1363

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani’s recent announcement of the renewal of uranium enrichment at the Fordow fuel enrichment plant, as well as high-level Iranian gloating about recent progress in the development and operation of uranium enrichment centrifuges, may indicate that Tehran intends to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement and effect a breakout toward nuclear weapons production in 2020. 

Tehran and the Restive Iraqis

No. 1362
| December 3, 2019

With many Iraqis (including Shiites) blaming Tehran for the social restiveness engulfing their country, Iranian policymakers fear the weakening of Tehran’s grip on its neighbor.

You Can’t Make Peace with Antisemites

No. 1361
| December 2, 2019

The time has come for Israel to stop willfully ignoring the phenomenon of Holocaust denial in the Arab world and start fighting it. Dialogue and rapprochement cannot possibly start from a position of antisemitism and Holocaust denial.

The Phenomenon of “Global Russia”

No. 1360
| December 1, 2019

As Russia increases its geopolitical involvement across the globe, the concept of “Global Russia” has been gradually taking hold. Though Russia is inherently weak, it is likely that Moscow will continue its global initiatives throughout the 2020s. Only by the end of that decade and into the next is there likely to be a gradual decline in Russia’s adventurism abroad.

Climate Change Fears and Polarization

No. 1359
| November 29, 2019

The surging interest in climate change intermingles science, ideology, politics, and religion and is likely to lead to increased polarization in Western societies. By analyzing the key characteristics of environmentalism and trying to assess societal developments, we can monitor the impact of climate change awareness and the inciting of fear.

The Iranian Regime versus the Fuel Protests

No. 1357
| November 27, 2019

As soaring fuel prices spark widespread protests across Iran, many Iranians blame the regime for their continued economic plight.