Mideast Security and Policy Studies

Mideast Security and Policy Studies serve as a forum for publication or re-publication of research conducted by BESA Center research associates.

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The Kurds in a Volatile Middle East

| February 27, 2017

The Kurds challenge the self-perceptions of the nation-states in which they reside: Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq; and they have played a crucial role in combatting Islamic State. This study analyzes the rivalry and interdependence among the four parts of Kurdistan as well as the dynamics of their relations with regional countries and the international community. With the entire region in a state of flux, will the Kurds fulfill their dream for a state or autonomous existence of their own?

North Korea and the Middle East

| January 10, 2017

Kim Jung-un's new year declaration that North Korea will test its new ICBM this year (2017) poses a further challenge to the incoming Trump administration. It is truly a “rogue state” – a country that conducts nuclear tests in defiance of the UN Security Council, and that is willing to sell conventional and non-conventional weapons to other rogue regimes, including Israel's enemies. The nuclear cooperation between North Korea, Syria and Iran forces Israel into new alliances to counter this threat.

The Libyan Tragedy and Its Meaning: The Wages of Indecision

| January 8, 2017

Overshadowed by the Syrian tragedy, the collapse of the Libyan state had dangerous consequences for Mediterranean security. It also demonstrated the cost of a hastily organized intervention followed by disastrous neglect and the rise of Islamist forces. Still, its latest chapter - the successful campaign to eradicate IS in Sirte - proves that when carefully chosen, limited military means can achieve strategic goals: and in that basis, measures should be taken to satisfy General Hiftar and his Egyptian backers.

Medium-Intensity Threats: The Case for Beefed-Up IDF Ground Forces

and | October 26, 2016

Some pundits contend that in the absence of a direct threat from state armies, and in a situation where terror, guerrilla and rocket threats predominate, Israel no longer needs heavy maneuvering formations. This study argues the contrary.

The Game of Camps: Ideological Fault Lines in the Wreckage of the Arab State System

| September 21, 2016

This study maps four Arab ideological camps and their interactions: The Iranian camp, Islamic State camp, Muslim Brotherhood camp, and the “counter camp” – which consists of the forces of stability, ranging from Saudi Arabia and most of the Gulf states to Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco, as well as the Kurds and other non-Arab players.

The Oslo Disaster

| September 4, 2016

The Oslo diplomatic process is the starkest strategic blunder in Israel’s history and one of the worst calamities ever to have afflicted Israelis and Palestinians. Twenty three years after its euphoric launch on the White House lawn, the Oslo ‘peace process’ has substantially worsened the position of both parties, and made the prospects for peace and reconciliation ever more remote.

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

and | June 6, 2016

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.

Indian Responses to Israel's Gaza Operations

| May 25, 2016

This study examines Indian governmental responses to the three major Israeli military interventions in the Gaza Strip over the past decade. It reviews the unprecedented parliamentary debate that took place in India during Operation Protective Edge, when the government sidestepped opposition demands for a resolution critical of Israel. It also assesses the Modi government’s intention to inject new dynamism into the India-Israel relationship.

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.