Jose V. Ciprut

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.

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Israel Is Real

| September 4, 2017

The democratic Jewish state of Israel defies revisionist historicism. It looks Muslim hate in the eye and although stirred, remains unshaken: Israel is here to stay.

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Assessing the North Korean Crisis

| August 30, 2017

When mischief transfigures into menace, and plausible deniability gets in the way of the immediate concerted action necessary to punish state criminality in a decisive and conclusive manner, strategic patience becomes inversely proportional to strategic purpose. The North Korean crisis is a testament to the lamentable current state of a dysfunctional international system in need of a monitored ethical code, of decency and candor, of sincerity, humanity, wisdom and justice, at every echelon. It is time for diplomats and state leaders to heed the urgency.

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It Is Time for Abbas to Take Positive Action

| August 10, 2017

Is Mahmoud Abbas, like Yasser Arafat before him, stalling the peace process out of fear that no agreement would be sufficiently maximizing? By now he should have learned that the best deals are those signed with confidence, in mutual trust and good will; and that he stands to gain a great deal through constructive action rather than destructive antics. Those who lead know that decisive journeys start with a risky first step.

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Administering the Temple Mount Is a Privilege, Not a Right

| July 28, 2017

The latest complications over the “status quo” on the Temple Mount necessitate a long overdue clarification: the privilege to administer the site, granted by Israel in the wake of its 1967 victory to the Waqf via Jordan, must not be misconstrued as a “right of ownership.” The administrative management of this place of worship, holy for Judaism and Islam, should provide hospitality, dignity, and security to all law-abiding visitors and sincere worshippers respectful of the place, without religious, racial, or political discrimination.

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Rethinking Israel-World Jewry Relations

| July 19, 2017

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Much is being written against the ultra-orthodox fiat over prayer and conversion in Israel, emphasizing the potential consequences if the US “diaspora” were to take offense and become irreversibly alienated. But the US is not Israel’s periphery. American Jewry is not Israel’s diaspora, and no Jew in the US lives in exile. Israel must adapt to modern times – in faith, as it does in technology – first and foremost, for the sake of its own citizenry. It must take a firm, fair, and inclusive position on who is and is not a Jew, who is and is not an Israeli, and how the two attributes can reconcile in a modern pluralistic democracy.

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Pursuits of Pyrrhic Prestige in the Middle East

| July 17, 2017

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: As demonstrated by Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent’s letter of 1536 to French King Francis I, the clout of absolute political prestige finds legitimacy in the power of religion. The prestigious absolutisms animating the claim to fame of most states in and around Arabia today could become the reason why the Middle East may soon have to unite or disintegrate.

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Israel and India: Is the Sky the Limit?

| July 11, 2017

Indian PM Narendra Modi’s first visit to Israel is an affirmation of readiness, beyond mere symbolism, for an unprecedented expansion of collaboration between two democracies and two peoples. There is potential for such expansion on many levels: government-to-government, business-to-business, industry-to-industry, sector-to-sector, and people-to-people. Israel’s technological expertise in critical domains, and India’s good relations with the Gulf nations, including Iran, as well as with the G-77 group of nations (which often votes as a bloc at the UN), should augur well for new synergies that could prove beneficial for the region and for the Israel-Palestine conflict.

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Prospects for a Near East Treaty Organization

| June 10, 2017

Erstwhile Western Sunni allies (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan) and a former Soviet client (Egypt) seem increasingly amenable to uniting in active defense against “Islamist extremists.” They share an adversary in Iran, which has tentacles in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait, as well as an unsavory history with North Korea and Pakistan. Prospects seem to signal potential for NETO, a Near East Treaty Organization (not a resurrection of CENTO, or an extension of NATO) that would embrace the span between the Eastern Mediterranean (including Israel), the Red Sea, and the edge of the Indian Ocean. Should such an organization materialize, it might well contribute to novel approaches to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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