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Israel’s Invisible Enemies

May 25, 2018,

Radical sub-state actors are able to exercise full control of the territories they govern yet make themselves almost invisible when they choose to do so. As recent events in Gaza showed, this ability serves them not only on the military front but also in the arenas of diplomacy and public influence.more

DEBATE: The US Withdrawal from the JCPOA: Where Do We Go from Here?

Q:   On May 8, 2018, President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. His intention is to impose the highest possible level of economic sanctions on Iran and perhaps sanction other nations that assist Tehran in its quest for nuclear weapons. The “nixing” of the deal might be followed by a “fixing” of the deal. BESA joins the debate by posing the question: After the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, where do we go from here?more

Zionism and the Wedge Between US and Israeli Jews

May 24, 2018,

A troubling side effect of the Zionist enterprise is that 70 years after the State of Israel came into being, a wedge has grown between Israelis and the Diaspora, driven by guilt and presumptions of moral superiority. The root of the problem is that too many American Jews are uncomfortable with power.more

The Implications of Mike Pompeo’s 12-Point Speech

May 23, 2018,

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's speech on May 21, 2018 was an important step in the realization of the Trump Doctrine. The 12-point speech outlined the administration’s nuclear nonproliferation strategy against Iran, which strives to exert constant pressure on Tehran so as to goad it into a new nuclear deal.more

Is Iran Considering Reactivating Uranium Enrichment at Fordow?

On April 29, satellite imagery showed irregular activity at Iran’s Fordow uranium enrichment facility, arousing suspicion that Iran is preparing to resume its activities. The Iranians had indeed threatened to do this if President Trump followed through on his plan to quit the 2015 nuclear agreement (the JCPOA). However, the unusual activity might simply be steps towards converting the facility to a civil research center for nuclear energy and physics, which would comply with the JCPOA.more

The HIV Crisis in Russia

May 22, 2018,

Russia is experiencing an ever-growing number of reported HIV cases since the breakup of the Soviet Union. An estimated 1.5 million HIV cases are accompanied by a general decline in the Russian population that is expected to continue over the next several decades. A diminished population will directly affect Russia’s army, its military capabilities, and its economy, and thus its ability to position itself as a world power.more

Malaysia: The Return of an Anti-Semitic Prime Minister

May 22, 2018,

The 92-year-old Muhammad Mahathir has come out of retirement to become Malaysia’s prime minister once again. In his 2003 welcoming speech for the Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, he said the Muslim world was in a frontal confrontation with the Jewish people. The most extreme inciters against Jews and Israel have for many years come out of the Muslim world. Mahathir’s 2003 speech and the applause he received from political leaders from the 57 Muslim states present is a prime example of major Muslim anti-Israel incitement.more

The Korean Peninsula: Peaceful Change or Back to Square One?

May 21, 2018,

The Korean summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in was full of encouraging optics, but it is too early to declare the success of the upcoming Trump-Kim summit a foregone conclusion. Nevertheless, there is reason for optimism.more

China Is Treading a Fine Line in Iran

May 18, 2018,

Now that Donald Trump has exited the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran, there is more at stake for the other signatories than either their belief in the deal’s virtues or their eagerness to salvage economic opportunities. Maintaining the deal without the US would deliver a severe blow to American credibility and perceptions of US power. China has long experience circumventing sanctions regimes, but the environment surrounding the reimposed sanctions is likely to be unusually confrontational.more

Riyadh’s Missile Defense Systems: Strategic Opportunities

May 18, 2018,

Saudi Arabia needs missile defense systems to protect its territory from adversaries. While the US is the obvious choice as a supplier, Russia and Israel are also in the running.more

Saudi-Moroccan Soccer Spat Symbolizes the New Arab Politics

May 17, 2018,

The spat over Saudi Arabia’s refusal to support a Moroccan bid for hosting rights of the 2026 World Cup tells the tale of the rise of individual country nationalism at the expense of Arab solidarity, Saudi determination to safeguard its alliance with the US at any cost, and creeping Saudi and UAE efforts to strong-arm countries into supporting their 11-month-old diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar.more

The Travesty of the Lebanese Elections

May 16, 2018,

The Iranian leadership has claimed a great victory for the Hezbollah-Amal alliance, which it backed, in the recent Lebanese parliamentary elections. But Lebanese elections are a travesty. In that country, the will of the people is completely distorted by gerrymandering engineered by Hezbollah and its mentor, Iran.more

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New at BESA Center

Conference: Reforming UNRWA

March 18, 2018

“Palestine refugees” have been exceptionally indulged by the international community for 70 long years. Consider the ways: They should not even have been classified as refugees, they had the unprecedented benefit of a relief agency created exclusively for their welfare (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA), and they uniquely can pass on the “refugee” status to future generations.

Reframing the Middle Eastern and Palestinian Refugee Crises

March 13, 2018 and

There are two Middle Eastern refugee crises currently vying for resources and attention. One is nominally focused on Syria but in fact extends from Libya to Afghanistan. The other crisis is Palestinian and has supposedly been going on since 1948. A closer look at the causes of these crises shows the former to be primarily the result of the collapsing Arab state system and the rise of militant Islam, while the latter cannot be considered a crisis at all.

Conference: Strategic Challenges in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Gulf

February 22, 2018

Videos from the February 22 international conference on Strategic Challenges in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Gulf, convened by the BESA Center and B’nai B’rith International.

Surviving Donald Trump: Israel’s Strategic Options

February 2, 2018

While Israel has always been determinedly self-reliant on core matters of national security, this posture needs to become even more explicit in the disjointed “Trump Era.” In correctly acknowledging the unpredictability and possible incoherence of Trump’s developing policies towards the Middle East, Jerusalem will need to direct special attention towards growing prospects for “Cold War II,” and certain incrementally needed revisions of Israeli nuclear strategy.

DEBATE: What Is the Best Way to Deal with North Korea?

December 31, 2017

Q: A few weeks after the visit of US President Donald Trump to Asia, North Korea is continuing with its missile launches. While the military option is openly on Washington’s agenda, a potential diplomatic solution cannot be excluded. BESA is joining the debate by asking experts: What is the best way to deal with North Korea?

Conflicting Interests: Tehran and the National Aspirations of the Iraqi Kurds

December 14, 2017

The national aspirations of the Kurdish minority in Iraq pose a challenge to the four countries that have a large Kurdish population. It is not by chance that the decision to hold a referendum provoked furious reactions among the leaders of Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. According to the received wisdom, the success of Iraq’s Kurdish minority in realizing its national self-determination will serve as a catalyst for separatist tendencies among the Iranian Kurds.

DEBATE: Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital – What Does It Mean?

December 11, 2017

Q: On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump made a statement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and declaring that his administration will immediately begin the process of building an embassy in Jerusalem. What does Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital mean?

Respondents: Elliott Abrams, Daniel Pipes, Max Singer, Eytan Gilboa, Jonathan Rynhold, Hillel Frisch

DEBATE: Decertification of the Iran Deal – What Happens Next?

November 24, 2017

Q: Will the decertification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Iran nuclear agreement by US President Donald Trump pave the way to fixing it?

Respondents: Michael Rubin, Emily B. Landau, Barbara Slavin, Behnam Ben Taleblu, Paulina Izewicz, Raphael Ofek

Recent Conferences

Australia-Israel Dialogue

November 1, 2017

On November 1, 2017, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and Bar-Ilan Univeristy co-hosted the “Be’er Sheva Dialogue” at the Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel. The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia, was in attendance.

Strategic Challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean

February 21, 2017

On February 21, 2017, for the second consecutive year, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and B’nai B’rith International jointly held an international conference on Strategic Challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean. The event, which took place at the Begin-Sadat Center, involved the participation of experts from Greece, Russia, Britain, Turkey, Albania, the US, and Israel.