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Active Protection Systems in Asymmetric Conflict

A massive concentration of forces is a disadvantage, not an advantage, in the modern era of asymmetric conflict. Active Protection Systems (APS), by contrast, provide small fighting units with protection and enable them to locate hostiles and discriminate them from the surrounding population. They thus reduce the army’s exposure while increasing its effectiveness.more

Public Decency Law Puts Saudi Reforms in Perspective

July 15, 2019,

A newly adopted Saudi law on public decency helps define Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s vague notion of “moderate Islam.” It lays bare the pitfalls of his social reforms as well as his preference for hyper-nationalism rather than religion as the legitimizing ideology of his rule and his quest for control of every aspect of Saudi life.more

The Berlin Jewish Museum Scandal

July 14, 2019,

The recent resignation of Peter Schäfer, Director of the Berlin Jewish Museum, follows a series of missteps by the museum that have led the German Jewish umbrella organization to declare that the museum has lost the trust of the community. Schäfer, a respected scholar, resigned from a position that requires an experienced manager with profound political understanding and instincts who is able to operate in what is for German Jews a highly problematic reality.more

Donald Trump’s “Obama Moments” in Syria and the Gulf

July 12, 2019,

The continuing bombardment of the Syrian province of Idlib by Russia, Iran, and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has been ignored for far too long by the international community. Attention must be paid – in particular by  Donald Trump, who is showing himself worryingly prone to “Obama moments” of hesitation and lack of resolve.more

Disowning Ben-Gurion’s Vision

The rejection by Israeli intellectuals of Jewish spiritual and political activism, as exemplified in the preaching and actions of Rabbi Akiva, who was executed by the Romans for his support of the Bar-Kochba revolt (132-35 CE), runs counter to the thinking of David Ben-Gurion, who considered himself a disciple and successor of the eminent sage.more

Russia’s and China’s Geopolitical Offensive in Africa

July 10, 2019,

Both China and Russia have increased their influence on the African continent through money, diplomacy, and other measures – efforts that go directly against US interests. Washington has paid little attention to Africa and will find it difficult to compete with Moscow and Beijing, particularly as other geopolitical theaters require its immediate attention.more

Russia Joins Gulf States in Coaching Sudan’s Military

July 9, 2019,

Russia has emerged as Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s silent partner in assisting the Sudanese military’s efforts to weaken, if not defeat, a months-long popular revolt that has already toppled president Omar Bashir.more

A Flight Guide to Middle East Politics

July 8, 2019,

The flight schedules of the major airports in the states of the Middle East provide an excellent window into regional politics. The absence of air traffic between Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt to Iran reflects the tacit alliance of the three, while the abundance of connections between Istanbul and Qatar and Iranian destinations reflects the counter-Sunni alliance. Flight data also help us to gauge the extent to which Assad’s Syria has been restored.more

Clerics and Entertainers Seek to Bolster MBS’s Grip on Power

July 7, 2019,

A public apology by a prominent Salafi scholar sheds light on Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s version of “moderate Islam,” which appears to be an effort to shape the Middle East and North Africa in his image and replace religion with hypernationalism.more

The Third Trump-Kim Summit

July 5, 2019,

The G20 summit was held on June 28-29 in Osaka, Japan. North Korea's Kim Jong-un was not present, but he was visited by US President Donald Trump immediately after the summit. The meeting was remarkable for its symbolism and its implications, but most responses to it were colored by prior perceptions of Trump.more

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New at BESA Center

In Memoriam: Moshe Arens

January 8, 2019

The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies mourns the passing this week of Moshe Arens — professor, ambassador, politician, and devoted servant of Israel. Prof. Arens was a member of the International Board of the BESA Center from its first inception, and was an active participant in our conferences and events for many years. He will be missed.

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.

Conference: The Oslo Process 25 Years On

September 3, 2018

On September 3, 2018, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies convened a conference on “The Oslo Process 25 Years On”.

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.

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.