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Russia in Syria: Caught Between Iran and Israel

June 24, 2018,

Intermittent Israeli strikes against Iranian positions in Syria have alarmed Russia, which is trying to solidify its military gains there. Active Israeli interference could bring down the highly unstable security architecture the Russians are working on in Syria. Moscow must balance between its war ally, Iran, and Israel, an important regional player – two states with radically different geopolitical imperatives.more

What Morocco’s Break with Iran Means

June 22, 2018,

Iran’s recent moves against Morocco’s national sovereignty reflect its intention to continue on its path towards global domination by destabilizing pro-Western countries. Tehran is shifting its attention towards Africa, which is less on the Western radar following the American withdrawal from the JCPOA.more

The Moroccan Boycotts: A New Model for Protest?

June 22, 2018,

Mounting anger and discontent is simmering across the Arab world much as it did in the run-up to the 2011 popular revolts that toppled four autocratic leaders. But this time around, the anger does not always explode in mass street protest,s as it recently did in Jordan. In Morocco, it is manifesting in the form of widespread boycotts.more

Soft Power and Global Standing – No. 1

June 21, 2018,

The term “soft power” came into currency in the 1990s but its use has accelerated dramatically in recent years, reflecting the explosion of the digital age. Soft power is defined as the application of persuasive, rather than coercive, techniques to attract positive attention on the international stage and thereby achieve greater room for diplomatic maneuver. Soft power assessments can be used to compare how countries stand in terms of democracy, global image, corruption, life expectancy, and many other criteria. Soft power combined with hard power – i.e., military strength and the ability to coerce – amounts to “smart power,” a metric in which Israel is particularly strong.more

Hamas’s Kite Terrorism: A Threat that Requires a Decisive Response

Hamas’s kite terrorism may not pose an existential threat, but by turning thousands of hectares of farmland into a wilderness and undermining Israel’s ability to provide peace and security for its frontier residents, it poses a threat that must be removed without delay.more

The Three-State Solution

Given Gaza’s sharp deterioration over the past 25 years – first under the PA’s rule (1994-2007), then under Hamas’s control – it is time to consider a new paradigm for resolving the Strip’s endemic predicament, and by extension the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. That paradigm could entail a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and northern Sinai, from Rafah to El-Arish, with the latter territory leased to the Palestinians on a long-term basis.more

The Syrian Intervention: Following the Wingate Model

June 18, 2018,

Orde Wingate’s approach to the liberation of Ethiopia from Italian occupation in 1941 provides a useful model for modern-day intervention in Syria. Rather than hand out money and materiel to local forces (à la the British support of the anti-Ottoman “Great Arab Revolt” of WWI), Wingate advocated committing one’s own forces and then allowing local forces to participate of their own accord. In Wingate’s view, loyalty bought with cash and weapons will always prove temporary.more

Turkey: Election Time Again

June 17, 2018,

On June 24, Turkey will hold its sixth election in four years. The Turks will choose between augmenting what is practically one-man rule based on Islamist politics and returning to a regime based on the separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers.more

The Revised Arms Export Policy of Israel and the US

June 15, 2018,

The divergence between the Trump administration’s desire to increase arms sales to the Middle East and the capacity limits of Arab clients for what the US currently markets makes the release of new types of advanced US weapon systems to the region more likely, which could undermine Israel’s qualitative military edge. While the administration’s global arms export drive may increase US-Israel competition for certain markets, it could also offer opportunities for joint arms export cooperation. Israel should be wary of following the American lead in relaxing export standards for approving arms sales. more

DEBATE: Putin in Power until 2024: What Does it Mean?

June 14, 2018,

Vladimir Putin easily won the recent election in Russia and secured another presidential term. The result cements him as one of the most powerful leaders in modern Russian history, but also poses questions for the day after on both the domestic and the international level. While the US administration has not yet clarified its approach vis-à-vis Russia and the EU remains largely divided, Putin is gaining ground – for example in the Syrian arena– and his popularity remains high at home. BESA joins the debate by posing the question: Putin in power until 2024: What does it mean?more

A Panoramic View of UK Labour Anti-Semitism

June 13, 2018,

An analysis of the British Labour party under the chairmanship of Jeremy Corbyn provides a panoramic view of many aspects of socialist anti-Jewish hate-mongering. The most extreme comments come disproportionately from Muslims, a subject that is taboo for the British media. The incitement is accompanied by a whitewashing of the party’s anti-Semitism problem, a whitewashing that is supported by a great majority of its members. The ongoing hate-mongering in the party has led to some unprecedented reactions by the British Jewish leadership.more

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New at BESA Center

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.

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?

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.