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Israel Will Miss Sultan Qaboos of Oman

January 17, 2020,

The late Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said of Oman was the rare Arab leader who did not let prevailing anti-Israel trends sway him, and who refused to be drawn into the Arab-Israeli conflict. His successor would be wise to follow his lead rather than cozy up to Iran and open his country to the predations that befell Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq as a result of Iranian interference.more

Mahmoud Abbas As a Strategic Threat

The diplomatic campaign Mahmoud Abbas has been waging for a decade and a half is no less dangerous to Israel than the “armed struggle” led by Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. With the growing influence of Iran and the advent of a new array of threats on Israel’s borders to the north and south, renewing negotiations with Abbas on the basis of the Barak-Olmert framework would entail an existential threat to Israel.more

How Israel Should Fend Off the ICC

January 16, 2020,

The International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague has an abysmal record. It has few convictions, yet in the 17 years of its existence has spent more than $1.5 billion. The ICC’s decision to investigate supposed Israeli war crimes is a largely political ruling. Israel should confront the court by exposing that its multiple deficiencies far exceed its merits.more

Photo-Ops Notwithstanding, Iran Faces the US Alone

January 15, 2020,

Iran is now assessing whether it should retaliate further against the US for the targeting of Qassem Soleimani, and if so, how. Its relationships with Russia and Turkey might look warm, but they are troubled. Neither is likely to leap to Tehran’s side in its clash with the US. Israel should exploit Iran’s fissures with Russia and Turkey to its advantage.more

How Qassem Soleimani Forced Donald Trump Back into the Middle East

January 15, 2020,

Qassem Soleimani was emboldened by the US administration’s failure to respond to repeated Iranian efforts to destabilize the Persian Gulf—so much so that he felt it was safe to attack Americans directly in Iraq. President Trump, who so recently was eager to leave the Middle East, ordered the killing of Soleimani in retaliation—drawing the US back into the Middle East.more

The Killing of Soleimani and Iran’s Nuclear Program

Tehran has announced it is withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal following the killing by the US of Quds commander Qassem Soleimani. It also stated, however, that it will continue to cooperate with the IAEA and expressed its willingness to return to the deal if the economic sanctions are lifted. This suggests that despite its repeated violations of the nuclear deal over the past year, Iran is reluctant to escalate conflict.more

The Soleimani Killing and Left-Liberals

January 14, 2020,

Many in the West have expressed great dismay at the killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. Such responses to the removal of perhaps the world’s leading terrorist seem to suggest that the democratic West has descended into decadence. If that is the case, it is worth examining the extent to which the liberal-left dominance of much of Western public discourse is undermining the stability of democracy itself.more

Democrats Challenge Trump’s Authority to Conduct Military Operations Against Iran

January 13, 2020,

The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution, initiated by the Democrats, to restrict President Donald Trump's ability to conduct military operations against Iran. If approved by the Senate, the resolution could adversely affect the US campaign to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power and other important security issues in the Middle East.    more

Takeaways from the US Impeachment Imbroglio

January 13, 2020,

The three impeachments to date in US history (Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump) and the Nixon impeachment inquiry and resulting presidential resignation shed light on the current Constitutional meaning of impeachment and how it will affect the future relationship between Congress and the executive branch.  Impeachment and conviction as a check by Congress on the president may have been eliminated altogether. The American people no longer trust their political institutions, processes, or politicians to provide accountability.more

Soleimani’s Death Opens Door to Alternative Security Arrangements in the Gulf

January 12, 2020,

The killing by the US of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani has widened the opening for a potential restructuring of the Gulf’s security architecture.more

The Soleimani Killing: Trump’s New Approach to the War on Terror

January 12, 2020,

Soft power and coercive diplomacy tools have not worked for almost 20 years against “peaceful Iran” (as Obama used to call it), and America has opted instead to exercise hard power. Trump’s order to kill Qassem Soleimani exposes once again the vast gap between the US and Europe on the problem of Iran.more

The Iraq Uprising: Where Does It Go From Here?

January 10, 2020,

The killing of Qassem Soleimani could prove to be a turning point in the history of the Middle East as a whole, but first and foremost in Iraq. That country has been contending for months with a popular uprising that has produced chaos and turned it into an arena for a titanic battle between Iran and the US.more

Iran Seeks to End Direct Clash with US and Return to Asymmetric Comfort Zone

January 9, 2020,

Tehran doesn’t want outright war. It is sticking to the long game in its goal of ejecting US forces from the region and completing its takeover of neighboring Iraq.more

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What’s New

The Soleimani Killing: An Initial Assessment

The targeted killing by the US of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force and close confidant of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has unsettled the region and the world. We have assembled initial takes on this event by five BESA researchers: Prof. Hillel Frisch, Prof. Eytan Gilboa, Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, Dr. Doron Itzchakov, and Alex Joffe. 

Conference: Is Israel Prepared for War?

December 4, 2019

Video: Lectures from the December 4, 2019 conference on “Is Israel Prepared for War?”

Hezbollah’s Demographic Problem Explains Its Restraint

September 8, 2019

Hezbollah responded with restraint to Israel’s three-pronged attacks over the past two weeks in Syria, Iraq, and, above all, a neighborhood in Dahiya, the vast Shiite area in Beirut where Hezbollah is headquartered. The organization’s effort to avoid escalation reflects its demographic problem in Lebanon.

The EU Is Battling Israel in Area C

September 2, 2019

Ever since a decision in January 2012, the EU has been expressly committed to the expansion of illegal Palestinian settlement in Area C in conjunction with the PA. This is in blatant disregard of the Oslo accords, which the EU purports to uphold. The object is to create continuous Palestinian settlement throughout the West Bank and thereby isolate and strangle Israeli communities.

There Is No Political Solution for Gaza

November 7, 2018

The claim that an agreement among the US administration, the Palestinian Authority, and the Egyptians to allow the PA to turn the financial screws on Hamas would culminate in the PA’s reassertion of control over the Gaza Strip could not be further from reality. In the Middle East, only armed force prevails.

The Privileged Palestinian “Refugees”

May 15, 2018

The “Palestine refugees” have been exceptionally indulged by the international community for seventy long years. This ranged from their very recognition as refugees though most of them fail to satisfy the basic criteria for such status, to the unprecedented benefit of a relief agency created exclusively for their welfare (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA), to the unique privilege of passing on “refugee” status to future generations.

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.

Israel’s Possible Paths to Nuclear War

July 22, 2017

North Korea’s nuclearization has implications for Israel’s nuclear deterrence posture. There are several plausible means by which a nuclear conflict could arise in the Middle East. It may be time to consider a phase-out of Israel’s “deliberate nuclear ambiguity” and to focus Israeli planning around evaluations of enemy rationality.

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.