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The Undercurrents Fueling Terrorism

September 19, 2017,

Despair and hope are the powerful forces that drive global terrorism. To better deal with this threat, the West must combine its counterterrorism efforts with harsher responses that will sow doubts in jihadists' minds about their chosen path.more

China and the Independent Kurdish State

September 18, 2017,

The Iraqi Kurdistan region will be holding a referendum on independence on September 25, 2017. While Beijing fears that Kurdish independence could fuel separatist movements within China, the emergence of a Kurdish state could turn out to be a net positive for the Asian giant. China maintains cordial diplomatic and commercial relations with the Kurds, but opposes a unilateral Kurdish declaration of independence. It will support an independent Kurdish state only if it obtains the consent of the regional states.more

The Fragility of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement

September 17, 2017,

Despite President Donald Trump’s disapproval of the JCPOA agreement with Iran, which he promised during his election campaign to “rip up,” he has been persuaded by his advisers to recertify it. He has also, however, gotten the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran as a penalty for developing nuclear missiles, supporting terror, and undermining international order. The Iranian leadership responded with a threat to quit the JCPOA and renew uranium enrichment at a high level. Though the IAEA has not yet determined that Iran has violated the agreement, Western experts view Iran’s behavior as problematic. They fear Iran could break the rules and renew its nuclear weapons program, and that it will be encouraged to do so by North Korea’s provocative stance toward the US.more

Trump, Globalization, and China

September 15, 2017,

Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) marks a fundamental change from Barack Obama’s priorities. It could also create a policy vacuum in Asia, as the US is no longer the driving force behind regional integration. China, which sees new opportunities in the American withdrawal, is attempting to foster its own integration schemes – but it remains unclear whether it will be able to replace the US as the world’s globalization leader.more

Geography Still Commands the Mediterranean World

September 14, 2017,

The migrant crisis in Europe that followed the wars in Libya and Syria exposed the Mediterranean world’s long-dormant interconnectedness. That unity is deeply rooted in the geography of the region.more

All Quiet on the Middle Eastern Front

September 13, 2017,

The consequences of the war in Syria; the military opportunism displayed across the region by Iran; and the ploys by China and Russia to chip away at American global standing lost through President Obama’s “strategic patience” bode major foundational shifts in the power equations of the Middle East. The Chinese and Russians are openly pursuing the objective of establishing a multipolar international system. Vigilance and careful preparation are needed to face the coming upheaval.more

The Indian-Chinese Conflict: Is It Really Heating Up?

September 12, 2017,

On July 24, 2017, China warned India “not to push its luck” – the latest salvo in a long-running border conflict. India wants the Chinese to stop construction of a road to the “chicken’s neck”: the Doklam plateau in the Himalayan mountain ridge between China and the Kingdom of Bhutan, India's close ally. This narrow strip of land connects China to northeastern India. The Chinese road, if completed, could ultimately threaten India and would represent a major strategic advantage for the Chinese.more

The Ebbing of Warfare in Syria Will Spell Catastrophe for Europe

Europe, reeling from successive waves of refugees and migrants, desperately needs the end of the Syrian civil war, which for the first time seems in the offing. But the emerging peace will only increase the emigration.more

What’s On a Muslim Refugee’s Mind?

September 10, 2017,

Almost all the “poor” illegal migrants on the Greek islands want to go to Germany, where they have heard from friends and relatives that they will be the best paid for being refugees. The cliché “the-poor-souls-are-fleeing-war-in-their-native-country” is becoming less and less convincing by the day. True, most Syrians fled to Turkey after the start of civil war in their country. But is flight from war their motivation as they proceed onwards to Greece, Serbia, Hungary, and Austria?more

A Different Perspective on the Temple Mount Crisis

Moderate leaders warn that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may turn from a national conflict into a religious one. Right-wing leaders claim it has been a religious conflict from the start. Both approaches have been applied to the Temple Mount crisis, and both are affected by a totalist perception of the understanding of the religious imperative.more

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New at BESA Center

The Low-Profile War Between Israel and Hezbollah

August 31, 2017

In defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon war, Hezbollah and its Iranian patron, with the assistance of the Bashar Assad regime, are filling Lebanon with surface-to-surface projectiles, and aiming them at population centers and strategic sites in Israel. To forestall this threat, the Israeli defense establishment has, according to media reports, been waging a low-profile military and intelligence campaign, dubbed “The War Between Wars,” which monitors and occasionally disrupts the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah.

Foreign Investment in Israel’s Strategic Industries

July 27, 2017

The changing map of foreign investment in Israel demands a new balance between market access and investment review. The Israeli government has not yet communicated to the global investment community its vision for foreign investment in Israel, especially in the banking, insurance, commodities and defense markets. This vision is crucial so that multinational companies can make informed investment decisions. Current ambiguities in this regard leads to policy inconsistency, resulting in the fact that many potential foreign buyers avoid penetrating the Israeli market altogether.

The BESA Center Bulletin, July 2017

July 1, 2017

BESA Center associates participated in numerous public forums and international media discussions surrounding the fiftieth anniversary in June of the Six Day War. They also penned a dozen critical examinations of the war and its legacy. They see the jubilee as an opportunity for strategic retrospection and truth-telling, not hand-wringing and self-flagellation.

Washington and Moscow: Confrontation or Cooperation?

Behind the ongoing media frenzy, America seems deeply divided over whether to pursue a hard line with Russia or to cooperate with it. With Donald Trump favoring the latter course, Moscow “voted” for him in the 2016 elections. But the Kremlin’s cybernetic interference in the election has led to ongoing Russo-gate and efforts by President Trump’s foes to paint him as a Manchurian candidate.

Rethinking the Six-Day War

It has long been conventional wisdom to view the June 1967 war as an accidental conflagration that neither Arabs nor Israelis desired, yet none were able to prevent. This could not be further from the truth. Its specific timing resulted of course from the convergence of a number of particular causes at a particular juncture. But its general cause—the total Arab rejection of Jewish statehood—made another all-out Arab-Israeli war a foregone conclusion.

Saudi Arabia, the Gulf, and the New Regional Landscape

Saudi Arabia and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have faced serious challenges over the past decade, from the rise of Iran and falling oil prices, to the Arab uprisings. In June 2016, with these issues in mind, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at Bar-Ilan University and the National Security Studies Center (NSSC) at the University of Haifa held a two-day conference on “Saudi Arabia, the Gulf, and the New Regional Landscape.”

Qatar: The Limits of Nouveau Riche Diplomacy

April 25, 2017 and

Under the leadership of Sheikh Hamad al-Thani (1995-2013), Qatar established itself as a regional mini superpower. It launched and subsidized the global media giant Al Jazeera, poured billions into its unrivalled liquefied natural gas infrastructure, made a successful bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and diversified its economy through international acquisitions by its Qatari Investment Authority.

Israel’s Inelegant Options in Judea and Samaria: Withdrawal, Annexation, and Conflict Management

In advance of the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror examines the two basic approaches to resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, and application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the creation of a bi-national state (in practice).

Recent Conferences

The Trump Upheaval

December 4, 2016

Shortly after the US presidential election in November, experts met the BESA Center to analyze the reasons for, and international implications of, Donald Trump’s triumph, and to dissect the “Yom Kippur” of the liberal elite and media.

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.