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The Impact of the ISIS Terror Attacks on Europe

April 30, 2017,

The appalling terrorist assaults perpetrated by ISIS in Europe have led to significant changes in the European state of mind. By exposing the vulnerability of EU state borders, they have prompted rudimentary initiatives to secure those borders and increase counter-terror cooperation among EU member states, while also boosting the popularity of far-right parties. The attacks have given rise to a discreet cooperation between EU member states and Israel in dealing with the terrorist threat, but have not prompted the EU to change its critical position regarding Israel’s defensive measures against Palestinian terror. The moral double standard of the EU on this issue might undermine its own fight against Islamist terrorism.more

Mahmoud Abbas Goes to Washington: What Is at Stake?

April 27, 2017,

The preparatory visit to Washington now underway by a Palestinian delegation, headed by Saeb Erekat, underscores the importance attached to the forthcoming visit early next month by Mahmoud Abbas. The indications that Abbas is now willing to contemplate a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu under Trump's auspices may seem surprising, given the latter's firm stand on issues important to Israel. But it should be considered in the context of the broader consolidation of the pro-western forces in the region, who felt on unstable ground during the Obama years.more

The Syrian Sarin Attacks of August 2013 and April 2017

The sarin attacks in Syria of August 2013 and April 2017 resemble one another closely. They reflect a strategic mode that might be repeated yet again by Assad, as long as he remains fully backed by Russia and Iran. At the same time, the geopolitical shift suggested by the recent US military response in Syria marks a desirable turn with consequential implications regarding the ongoing relationships among the US, Syria, Russia, and Iran.more

President Trump: Formulating Strategy As He Goes Along

April 25, 2017,

Winds of war are blowing in the international arena, and the rhetoric of threats is intensifying. Notwithstanding the claims of critics and opponents of Trump, he has begun to formulate a strategy while responding to threats and crises in Syria and North Korea. The sides are now treading at the edge of the abyss. This approach could achieve effective deterrent results, but also entails considerable risks. Trump has decided to fight the forces of violence and terror in the world, joining forces with allies and using a variety of military and diplomatic measures. If his strategy succeeds, it could stabilize the world order and improve Israel’s strategic position.more

Trump and the Israelization of American Politics

April 24, 2017,

The election of Donald Trump as US president has generated superficial comparisons with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But one key factor in both leaders’ success is a fragmented and polarized opposition that is unable to project alternative leaders or policies. The tone and manner of opposition politics are made more extreme by their own sense of entitlement, and are pushed further left by bullying from the elected leadership. Without civic education and new, more centrist leaders, American politics will continue to resemble that of Israel, to the detriment of effective democracy.more

A Dangerous Malady: Islamophobia-phobia

April 23, 2017,

We need a new word, “Islamophobia-phobia” (IPP), or excessive fear of Islamophobia. The term “Islamophobia” was coined to refer to hostility to, or excessive fear of, Islam. Avoiding prejudice against Muslims is a noble cause, but carried too far, the fear of Islamophobia prevents a realistic response to Islamism’s attacks on the West.more

The Turkish Referendum: A Turning Point?

April 20, 2017,

The legitimacy of the recent Turkish referendum is under dispute, further polarizing an already divided Turkish society. With no effective mechanisms for conflict resolution, and headed by an authoritarian Erdoğan, Turkey is heading towards a socio-political crisis. This might include a deteriorating economy, a flight of elites, and possibly even violence. Turkish nationalism remains very strong, however, and can be enlisted to divert attention from Turkey's domestic problems. Erdoğan might decide to use his increased power to pursue an adventurist foreign policy rooted in his Islamist and neo-Ottoman impulses.more

The Korean Peninsula Is Waiting for Trump

April 19, 2017,

The North Korean nuclear and missile crisis is posing a challenge to the new US administration, especially in the wake of the recent American missile strike in Syria. President Trump will need to consider not only the current North Korean crisis and the immediate military or diplomatic options available for confronting it, but also his long-term goals in the region. Diplomatic, economic, and military options will all have consequences. more

Turkey: Divided We Stand

April 18, 2017,

The referendum victory of April 16, 2017, which gave Recep Tayyip Erdoğan unchecked powers, has left Turkey bitterly polarized. Fresh rounds of political tensions are likely in a country where half the population loves the president and the other half hates him. Erdoğan’s longer-term game plan is to ensure that Turkey will continue to elect conservative, nationalist presidents and governments after his day is done.more

Turkey: Europe’s “Angry Bird”

April 7, 2017,

Since 2004, Turkey has descended from winning accession talks with the EU to the “sick man of European democracy.” President Erdoğan, in his efforts to consolidate his conservative and nationalist voters, continues to fan fears of real or fabricated enemies, with particular emphasis on “Christian crusaders.” Few Turks (or Kurds) appear to care about Ankara’s disturbing and ever-worsening democratic deficit. Twenty-first century Turkey is behaving like the country described decades ago by a Turkish philosopher: “[It] is a ship heading east. Those aboard think they are heading west, but they are just running west on a ship sailing east.”more

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New at BESA Center

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).

Professor Efraim Karsh Becomes Director of the BESA Center

November 6, 2016

The Executive Council of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Efraim Karsh as the new center director. He succeeds Professor Efraim Inbar, who concludes a 25-year tenure as the center’s founding director.

The BESA Center Bulletin, November 2016

October 31, 2016

A summary of the center’s activities in 2016, including seven conferences, eight guest lectures, 60 new publications, and more. Prof. Efraim Karsh, the new director of the center, takes his piercing pen to the Oslo peace process – “one of the worst-ever calamities to have hit Israelis and Palestinians.”

Australia and Israel Should Develop Closer Ties in Defense and Foreign Affairs

October 31, 2016

A study by APSI and BESA Center experts considers common strategic interests and suggests security cooperation between Canberra and Jerusalem.

Israeli Palestinian Policy – Whereto?

October 11, 2016

Yaakov Amidror, Hillel Frisch, Gershon Hacohen, Efraim Inbar, Eran Lerman and Max Singer discuss Israel’s policies on the Palestinian issue, in a post-Obama and post-Abbas era.

In Memoriam: Muzi Wertheim

October 7, 2016

The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies mourns the passing in August of Mr. Muzi Wertheim, one of the titans of modern Israeli industry and a founder of the Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. He was 86.

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.

New Paradigms in Peace Diplomacy

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).

Occupation Is Not the Problem

July 4, 2016

The proposition that “occupation” is to blame for Palestinian terrorism defies history, reality, and logic. Israel’s control of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza has been virtually nonexistent for twenty years, ever since the 1995 interim agreement and the 1997 Hebron redeployment. Palestinian terrorism has increased not in response to the “occupation,” but in response to its ending.

Why Israel Should Not Adopt Unilateral Initiatives

The moribund state of the peace process has prompted the suggestion of two opposing unilateral “solutions”: either Israeli withdrawal from, or the annexation of, parts of the West Bank. Neither would be wise policy.

Israel’s Palestinian Dilemmas

May 3, 2016

Israel has gradually come to realize that the Palestinians are neither a partner for peace nor capable of establishing a viable state. Therefore, Israel’s recent governments have adopted a de facto conflict-management approach, rather than a conflict-resolution strategy. This prompts several questions. Should Israel speak explicitly about the dim prospects of a two-state solution, or play along with the illusory preferences and pretensions of the international community? Should Israel apply more “stick” than “carrot” to the hostile Palestinian Authority? Would the collapse of the Palestinian Authority serve Israel’s interests? And how diplomatically active should Israel be on the Palestinian issue?

Israel-Palestinian Conflict

No One-Shot Solution to the Hamas Challenge

June 30, 2016

The use of massive force in a “once-and-for-all” military operation cannot purge Hamas from Gaza because it has deep roots in Palestinian society. Israel’s only sensible option is to continue to employ a militarily modest and politically calibrated “mowing the grass” strategy, which is designed to occasionally knock back Hamas military capabilities and enhance deterrence for an admittedly limited period.

The ABCs of Judea and Samaria: Towards Breakdown?

April 8, 2016

The three types of area jurisdiction in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) – A, B and C – were meant as a short-term fix until a real Israeli-Palestinian peace accord could be crafted. More than 20 years later, both sides have broadly infringed on these parameters. Israel regularly penetrates Area A for security reasons, while the PA (with EU support) is building illegally and dangerously in key parts of Area C that are critical to Israel. Israel should halt this encroachment with determination.

Hamas: A Social Welfare Government or War Machine?

December 1, 2015

Hamas prides itself on having a reputation dedicated to the public welfare of Palestinians and for providing a variety of social services. The following study evaluates the veracity of this claim. The Hamas government in Gaza acts as another case study that highlights the disastrous leadership which plagued the Palestinian national movement since its inception.

Cool Heads Needed in the Fight against Palestinian Terrorism

While there is no doubt that Israel is facing a difficult security situation, the surge in Palestinian violence does not pose any existential threat to Israel. Israel has weathered longer and harsher waves of terrorism. Israeli leaders must keep things in proportion, and reject calls for “massive retaliation” that will not truly improve security and could make things worse.

The Lies of Saeb Erekat: How Palestinian Propaganda Warps the Truth and Undermines Peace Efforts

November 23, 2015

An incendiary propaganda document replete with blatant lies and utter distortions of history penned by Saeb Erekat, recently sent to foreign media, exposes the futility of the Palestinian mindset, and reveals just how far the Palestinian leadership is from accepting the premises necessary for true peace with Israel.

Setting the Record Straight: Hajj Amin and the Nazis

November 3, 2015

Legacies of Hajj Amin al-Husseini’s work are still with us. The broadcasts of Radio Zeissen, the Mufti’s propaganda station, resonate in the 1988 Hamas covenant, and indeed still reverberate throughout our region. So do the recurrent references to Nazi imagery and texts in the Palestinian public domain. To demand a proper historical reckoning is therefore not to “demonize” the Palestinian people but to treat them, for a change, as adults capable of coping with a culture of responsibility.

Myths, Facts, and Wishful Thinking in Responding to Palestinian Violence

The recent wave of terrorism has seen illusion peddlers take center stage. While some are true believers, others seek only to promote personal, political, potentially dangerous agendas. Regional realities mandate a different, more prudent approach.

The Palestinian Victimhood Narrative as an Obstacle to Peace

October 7, 2015

The false Palestinian narrative of one-sided victimhood is a major hindrance to all efforts in the direction of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Global actors need to help the Palestinians move beyond wallowing in self-pity and rituals of bashing Israel, and towards difficult compromises with Israel.

The Myth of Palestinian Centrality

July 7, 2014

The “Palestinian cause” has been at the forefront of discourse on the Middle East for nearly a century. It has long formed the primary common concern of pan-Arab solidarity and its most effective rallying cry, yet neither the Arab states nor Palestinian leaders have truly acted in the interest of the “liberation of Palestine.”

Mowing the Grass: Israel’s Strategy for Protracted Intractable Conflict

December 1, 2013 and

“Mowing the Grass” is Israel’s strategy for a protracted intractable conflict. Only after showing restraint in its military responses does Israel act to destroy enemy capabilities, hoping that occasional large-scale operations also have a temporary deterrent effect to create quiet along its borders.

Confronting Iran

The Iran Deal One Year Later: The Fuse Is Still Burning

One year later, it can clearly be said that the nuclear talks reversed power relations in Iran’s favor, with the US forfeiting a historic opportunity to dismantle Iran’s nuclear capability. Instead, the agreement left Iran with its full capability concerning enriched uranium – only at a reduced scale and subject to questionable monitoring. When the deal expires, Iran will have the ability to set up an extremely fast enrichment system, and its ability to reach the quantity of material required for a nuclear weapon will have increased tenfold. Iran also can continue to develop heavy long-distance missiles – without global opposition and without sanctions.

A Year After the JCPoA: An Interim Report on the Nuclear Deal with Iran

A year after it was finalized, the nuclear deal with Iran has clearly made the region and the world more dangerous, notwithstanding the temporary respite won in Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon. The Obama administration’s advocacy of warmer relations with Tehran appears totally removed from realities on the ground. Iran is using its new legal position to obscure, rather than clarify, past activities and present inventories; work on ballistic missiles and on the acquisition of materials for Iran’s non-conventional weapons arsenal continues apace; repression has worsened; regional subversion is at its peak; and exterminatory positions towards Israel are openly put forward. The JCPoA has in no way moderated Iran’s stance, nor made it a legitimate member of the community of nations.

The Vienna Accord Only Postpones Confrontation with Iran

The Vienna agreement has made the situation more complex and dangerous, not less so. The conflict that will ensue will take place in conditions far worse (from a Western perspective) than before the agreement, pitting the West (and/or Israel) against a much-stronger Iran.

Converging Enemy Threats to Israel

May 28, 2015

Israeli strategic planners must beware the converging twin hazards of Iranian nuclear weapons and Palestinian statehood.

Israel Cannot Accept the Emerging Accord between the US and Iran

An agreement that would allow Iran to maintain a full nuclear fuel cycle would be far worse than no agreement, and could force Israel to respond independently

ISIS

Islamic State Should be Wiped Out

August 11, 2016

Prof. Efraim Inbar is wrong to argue that the West is better off with Islamic State organization maintaining its caliphate. On the contrary: Defeating IS and the horror it perpetuates requires nothing less than the elimination of its caliphate. Through control of territory, IS is able to inspire and train recruits, to direct terrorist attacks, and to demonstrate the West’s inability to eradicate a pressing threat.

Raqqa Delenda Est: Why Baghdadi’s “Caliphate” Should Be Destroyed

August 10, 2016

While Iran remains the greatest threat to the region, the continued existence of IS fortifies rather than enervates Iran’s quest for hegemony. The destruction of IS should be the first stage in a campaign designed ultimately to isolate and contain Iran.

The Destruction of Islamic State is a Strategic Mistake

August 2, 2016

The West should seek the further weakening of Islamic State, but not its destruction. A weak but functioning IS can undermine the appeal of the caliphate among radical Muslims; keep bad actors focused on one another rather than on Western targets; and hamper Iran’s quest for regional hegemony.

The ISIS Challenge in Syria; Implications for Israeli Security

May 8, 2016

A study of the strategic goals and military performance of ISIS; the relative strength of its opponents; the reactions of those opponents, especially Iran, to possible ISIS gains; and the threat to Israeli national security posed by ISIS. As long as Iran does not infringe on Israel’s “red lines” (regarding the transfer of advanced weaponry and terrorist bases on its borders) Israel should remain militarily neutral in the conflict with ISIS.

Libya: The Next Frontier?

February 29, 2016

As Islamic State (IS) continues to suffer reverses in Syria and Iraq, great pressure can and should be brought to bear against it in Libya, where IS dominance has the potential to threaten vital Western interests. Forceful foreign intervention may be required to protect the central Mediterranean from IS encroachment.

Does ISIS Pose a WMD Threat?

The risk of ISIS employing chemical, biological, and radiological warfare agents is real. In fact, ISIS already has attacked with chemical agents. ISIS has mobilized Iraqi and Syrian scientists who are assisting in the development of chemical weapons, particularly nerve and mustard gas, alongside foreign experts. It also has reportedly moved its labs, experts, and materials from Iraq to Syria.

How Dangerous is ISIS to Israel?

September 7, 2015

It is misplaced to view ISIS as posing an independent serious strategic challenge. Several analyses of the threat ISIS poses to Israel seem to be unnecessary alarmist.

Syrian Civil War

Chemical Weapons Could Change the Game in Syria

The Syrian regime unleashed full military grade chemical weapons against IS several weeks ago, a move that occasioned little response from the wider world. The assault demonstrated that the dismantling of the Syrian chemical arsenal has not been fulfilled. If repeated, the attack might precipitate a dangerous escalation of the conflict in which IS accelerates its own pursuit of WMDs.

The Syrian Civil War: An Interim Balance Sheet

April 6, 2016

The desire of the international community to end the Syrian civil war is offset by the inability of any individual party to enforce its preferred solution. The conflict, which is likely to continue for some time, has solidified the centrality of Russia and Iran in regional affairs. Israel’s options are limited.

Syria’s Unraveling Gives Way to New Regional Order

Russia’s increased deployment in Syria, and Iran and Hezbollah’s tightening grip on areas just north of the Israel-Syria border, may soon change regional realities irrevocably. More than ever, Israel must remain determined in its efforts to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining game-changing weapons.

Russian Ambitions, and Israeli Opportunities, in the Partition of Syria

October 22, 2015

There is a contradiction between the ultimate purposes of Russia and Iran in their intervention in Syria. Putin’s concern for Assad’s survival could give Israel some policy leverage, if Israel astutely navigates its way through the situation. This means that Israel should not be tempted to support Saudi-led efforts to unseat Assad or otherwise bring about a decisive outcome in Syria’s civil war.

Syria’s Chemical Weapon Obfuscations

The reluctance of the international community to act forcibly regarding undeclared Syrian chemical weapon capabilities is a very bad sign. It raises doubts about full implementation of intelligence-gathering operations and effective monitoring of the Iranian nuclear program.

Line in the Sand

The strike against Hezbollah last week clarifies to Israel’s enemies that there are red lines, and anyone crossing them must take into account Israel’s response.

Why the Hezbollah Clash Matters

February 1, 2015

As the Assad regime is losing its grip over the country, Iran and Hezbollah gain a greater ability to establish a new base of operations against Israel in southern Syria.

Russia

The Return of the Russian Bear to the Middle East

June 5, 2016

This study looks at the aggressive new posture in Russian foreign policy under President Vladimir Putin, in the wake of its intervention in Syria and the Crimean peninsula.

Putin’s “Sacred Mission” in Syria

March 27, 2016

Russia’s intervention in Syria cannot be fully explained by strategic or economic factors. Russian political culture, which has been permeated since the fifteenth century by a messianic vision of apocalyptic redemption, has long been a significant guiding factor in the decision-making of Russia’s leaders.

The Russians Are Leaving Syria. Why the Surprise?

The partial departure of Russian forces from Syria reflects Vladimir Putin’s achievement of several well-defined goals, including the stabilization of Bashar al-Assad and the bolstering of Russia’s global diplomatic position. The resultant balance of power in Syria gives Israel time and space with which to bolster its defenses.

Russian Ambitions, and Israeli Opportunities, in the Partition of Syria

October 22, 2015

There is a contradiction between the ultimate purposes of Russia and Iran in their intervention in Syria. Putin’s concern for Assad’s survival could give Israel some policy leverage, if Israel astutely navigates its way through the situation. This means that Israel should not be tempted to support Saudi-led efforts to unseat Assad or otherwise bring about a decisive outcome in Syria’s civil war.

The Russian-Iranian Gambit in Syria

The Russian-Iranian gambit in Syria will only inflame the volatile situation in the war-torn country. Sunni-Alawite animosity runs too deep to foster any hope for compromise. Israel must remain vigilant, and prevent terrorists from getting advanced weapons.

US-Israel Relations

Implications of US Disengagement from the Middle East

July 26, 2016

The adverse implications of US withdrawal from the Middle East are manifold, including: the acceleration of Tehran’s drive to regional hegemony, the palpable risk of regional nuclear proliferation following the JCPOA, the spread of jihadist Islam, and Russia’s growing penetration of the region. Manifest US weakness is also bound to have ripple effects far beyond the Middle East.

Trends in US Congressional Support for Israel

June 6, 2016 and

While congressional support for Israel has historically transcended the partisan divide, Republicans and Democrats are growing less cooperative with regard to the means by which to express that support. The authors term this development as “congressional dysergia.” Tensions between the executive branch and Congress are growing as well, as exhibited in conflicts between the Republican-dominated Congress and President Obama.

Consequences of American Retreat from the Middle East

February 24, 2016

The American retreat from the Middle East signals weakness, and encourages an Iranian quest for regional hegemony that was bolstered by the P5+1 nuclear deal. The most dangerous consequence of current American foreign policy in the region is the likelihood of nuclear proliferation. Moreover, the current American approach allows for Russian encroachment in the region, which enhances the power of the radical axis led by Iran. It also opens the way for the ‘Finlandization’ of the Gulf and the Caspian basin by Iran. US weakness in the Middle East inevitably will have ripple effects in other parts of the globe.

Obama and Israel: The Final Year

February 17, 2016

Israel needs a more active and aggressive diplomatic strategy to thwart what seems to be an escalating campaign of pressure from the international community on the Palestinian issue; a campaign that President Obama can be expected to lead in his final months in office.

Turkish-Israeli Relations

The Turks in Syria and the Kurds in “Rojava”: Prelude to Tragedy or Reasonable Compromise?

September 12, 2016

As Turkish forces pursue their long-overdue campaign in northern Syria, it is increasingly clear that their main goal is to reduce or destroy the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, largely Kurdish in composition, rather than fight IS.

Regional Implications of the Failed Coup d’État and Purges in Turkey

The fallout in terms of the regional balance of power from the failed coup d’état is bound to be significant. There is little to cheer, even if the timely conclusion of Israel’s reconciliation with Turkey has so far spared Israel the traditional accusation of being behind the plot (and may even put Israeli diplomacy in a position to be of help in reducing the flames).

Erdogan’s Turkey Takes a Fork in the Road

The failed military coup in Turkey was most likely the swan song of the country’s secular endeavor. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan now has a firmer hold on power, despite external and internal conflicts. Israel should remain wary of taking sides.

The Turkish-Israeli Reconciliation: A Balance Sheet

The Turkish-Israeli reconciliation – while raising legitimate moral questions – yielded terms very much in Israel’s favor, compared to where things stood recently. Legal threats have been averted, Turkish pressure over the siege of Gaza has been lifted, and the prospects for full Israeli participation in NATO activities are significantly brighter.

The Importance of Interests in Israel-Turkey Reconciliation

The Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal boils down to mutually beneficial interests; not trust, and certainly not sympathy. This deal will bolster Israel’s security as well as its international standing, making the price worthwhile.

Turkey – America’s Unacknowledged Problem

January 4, 2015

Turkey is formally a NATO ally. But Erdogan-led Turkey has not behaved as an ally or a friend of the US for years. It is a mystery why the Obama Administration refuses to acknowledge this.

Obama’s Best Friend? The Alarming Evolution of US-Turkish Relations

May 1, 2013

Shifts in Turkey’s domestic political orientation have led to a change in Ankara’s perceptions of its foreign policy roles and capabilities. The US has misunderstood and largely ignored this shift, failing to understand the implications of Turkey’s transformation under the AKP. A strong and comprehensive policy towards Turkey is long overdue.

Turkish Foreign Policy in the Twenty-First Century

September 1, 2012

Inspired by Foreign Minister Davutoğlu’s Strategic Depth doctrine, Turkey has pursued a more active role in the Middle East and surrounding region. Bucking the trend of Turkey’s secular Kemalist legacy, the government seeks to revive the glory of the Ottoman Empire and establish itself as a global power. The study examines the reasons behind Turkey’s shift in policy, discusses Turkey’s role in the “Arab Spring,” and assesses regional and global ramifications.

Eastern Mediterranean

The Mediterranean as a Strategic Environment: Learning a New Geopolitical Language

This study argues that it is time to let go of the old colonial concept, the “Middle East,” and re-learn to think in Mediterranean terms. The Eastern Mediterranean has become a key area for global security, with two dangerous challenges, and an important opportunity. The challenges are the regional refugee crisis due to chaotic conditions in Syria, Libya and beyond; and the growing hold upon Mediterranean shores of totalitarian Islamism in its various forms. The opportunity lies in energy cooperation between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Greece and Cyprus (with a role for Italy). This is not an effort to isolate Turkey, but rather to create a regional balance of power, in which Turkey could also play a role once that country’s leadership matures and moderates.

A New Geopolitical Bloc is Born in the Eastern Mediterranean: Israel, Greece and Cyprus

February 16, 2016

From an Israeli perspective, the recent strengthening of alliance ties with Greece and Cyprus constitutes a win-win situation. A new geopolitical bloc is emerging that has military and political significance, and stands as a counterweight to Turkish ambitions. Stronger Israeli relations with Greece and Cyprus may also serve to encourage Turkey to show more flexibility in negotiations regarding normalization of ties between Ankara and Jerusalem.

Israel’s Emerging Relations in the Eastern Mediterranean

December 8, 2015

The flourishing new relationship between Israel and her two Hellenic neighbors in the eastern Mediterranean – Greece and Cyprus – is important on its own merits. But equally important, the Israel-Greece-Cyprus alliance seeks to block Turkey’s ambitions of regional hegemony, while at the same time offering Ankara a key place in the new Mediterranean political order, if and when she comes to her senses.

Israel-Greece Relations

September 14, 2015

This study focuses on the strengthening of Israeli-Greek relations, especially since 2010. The enhanced ties between the two countries allows for the emergence of a new pro-Western geopolitical bloc in the eastern Mediterranean. (Hebrew)

The New Strategic Equation in the Eastern Mediterranean

August 28, 2014

For centuries, the Mediterranean Sea was the main arena for international interactions, before it was replaced by the Atlantic Ocean and subsequently by the Pacific. Nevertheless, as the historical meeting place between East and West, the East Mediterranean was the focus of significant superpower competition during the Cold War and still has strategic significance.

Security in the Gulf

Sailing through the Straits: The Meaning for Israel of Restored Saudi Sovereignty over Tiran and Sanafir Islands

The fact that Saudi Arabia has now undertaken to uphold in practice the obligations assumed by Egypt under its peace treaty with Israel, means that Israel’s place in the region is no longer perceived by Arab leader Saudi Arabia as an anomaly to be corrected. This is a far cry from normalization of Saudi relations with Israel, but it is nevertheless a welcome ray of light, demonstrating the benefits of cooperation and coordination in a region beset by violence.

Domestic and Regional Implications of Escalated Saudi-Iran Conflict

January 10, 2016

By executing a prominent Shiite leader, the Saudi King and his son the Deputy Crown Prince sent a strong signal to Iran, to the kingdom’s beleaguered Shiite minority, and to the world. To its Iranian Shiite rival, Sunni Riyadh was saying that it would absolutely not tolerate intervention in its internal affairs. It was telling its own Shiites that it would not allow “Arab Spring”-like dissent. And to the world, Salman and Muhammad were signaling that the Saudis were growing into their new role as a defender and leader of the Sunni Muslim countries; especially since the Obama administration appears to be siding with Iran.

Saudi Succession: The Sudayris Return

January 26, 2015

The passing of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and the smooth accession of King Salman marks the return of the Sudaryi family to leadership and the eventual rise of the grandchildren of founder King Abd al-Aziz

Missile Defense

The New Threat of Very Accurate Missiles

August 9, 2016

Precision-guided medium-range missiles, a relatively new technology, are beginning to proliferate in the Middle East. When they work as designed, they can deliver half a ton of high explosive to within meters of their targets. This means that for many targets, they are almost as effective as nuclear weapons.

Israel’s Air and Missile Defense During the 2014 Gaza War

February 11, 2015

The Israeli Air Defense Command deployed an efficient defense array against the rocket launchers in the last operation in the Gaza Strip. The operation also uncovered the gaps in the Israeli defense system that require corrective actions.

The Future of Egypt

Egypt and the Threat of Islamic Terror

January 1, 2014,

Egypt’s new rulers are faced with a terror problem emanating from the Sinai, led by radical jihad groups. The US and international community must support the Egyptian regime to prevent Egypt from turning into the next Syria.

Welcome Back to Mubarak’s Egypt

July 4, 2013

The latest chapter in the Egyptian Revolution is nothing more than a return to the military dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Egypt’s troubles may only be beginning.

Egypt’s Army Will Not Intervene

March 12, 2013

Hopes or expectations that the Egyptian military will intervene in the deteriorating political and security crisis are probably misguided.

Morsi’s Egypt and Ahmadinejad’s Iran: Much Ado Over Next to Nothing

February 10, 2013

Morsi’s hosting Ahmadinejad signals a potential improvement in ties between Egypt and Iran. This move will backfire, as ultimately Morsi needs the US and Gulf countries more than they need him.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Its True Intentions Towards Israel

December 10, 2012

The Brotherhood sees Israel as a strategic threat and has aggressively lobbied Morsi to strengthen Egyptian military presence in Sinai. The anti-Israel rhetoric emanating from senior Brotherhood leaders must be taken seriously.

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