Perspectives Papers

Perspectives Papers provide analysis from BESA Center research associates and other outside experts on the most important issues pertaining to Israel and the Middle East.

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Area C is Strategically Vital for Israel

No. 801

The proposed transfer of significant parts of Area C to the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) will be detrimental to Israel’s national interest, if only because these territories are almost completely devoid of any Palestinian population. As such, they afford not only a strong security grip but the possibility of extensive Jewish settlement without threatening Israel’s Jewish and democratic character. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s meticulous and detailed demarcation of Area C in the Oslo Accords underscores the great importance he accorded to Israel’s continued retention of this territory.

“Sharp Power”: Hamas’s Dirty War Against Israel

No. 800
| April 17, 2018

In the so-called “March of Return,” Hamas is utilizing a new kind of power in international relations called “sharp power.” This term originally referred to the subversion, manipulation, distraction, and lies authoritarian governments employ to undermine liberal democracies. The concept can now be applied to terrorist organizations like Hamas.

Enhancing the IAF’s Qualitative Edge: The Air-Launched Cruise Missile Option

No. 799
| April 16, 2018

The acquisition of advanced air and air defense systems by existing and potential adversaries presents the Israeli Air Force (IAF) with a new qualitative challenge. To maintain its technological edge, the IAF is investing considerable resources into upgrading its fourth-generation platforms, acquiring new fifth-generation F-35I multi-role fighters, and developing other relevant capabilities. These actions will secure the IAF’s position as the dominant air force in the region. However, the IAF’s fourth-generation fighters – its F-16s and F-15s –will be exposed to significantly greater risk than before. By acquiring and integrating stealthy, long-range air-launched cruise missiles on one or more of its fourth-generation fighter types, the IAF can greatly minimize the risk to their crews while allowing them to tackle a wide range of targets in highly contested environments.

Israel’s Intelligence “Factory”

No. 798
| April 16, 2018

In the 11 years since the Israeli strike on Syria’s nuclear-weapons production site, a quiet revolution has taken place within the Israeli defense establishment. Today, the IDF’s ability to detect, analyze, and use intelligence regarding emerging threats is substantially more developed than it was in 2007.

The Strategic Goals of a Restored Russia

No. 796
| April 15, 2018

The Soviet “deep state” survived the disintegration of the Soviet Union. It is back with a vengeance.

Despite His Victory, Putin’s Problems Will Grow

No. 795
| April 15, 2018

On March 18, Russia elected Vladimir Putin for a fourth presidential term, making his rule the longest since Joseph Stalin’s. But this next term will be a new experience for both Putin and the Russian people. In terms of foreign policy, Moscow face increased Western challenges. Internally, Putin will have to decide whether to prolong his rule in 2024 or pick a successor – a process with significant foreign policy reverberations that will involve reshuffles and elite infighting inside the Kremlin.

Saudi Moderation? Prince Muhammad Is on Shaky Ground

No. 794
| April 12, 2018

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has dazzled international media and public opinion by lifting some restrictions on women’s rights and holding out hope for the abolishment of others, vowing to return the kingdom to a vague form of moderate Islam that many believe is defined by the social reforms he has already implemented, and curbing the powers of the country’s ultra-conservative leadership. But his top-down approach to social change, which brushes aside Saudi history, rests on shaky ground.

Should the US Stay In Iraq or Pull Out?

No. 793
| April 11, 2018

It takes only a quick read of the main articles featured in al-Wifaq, the Arabic language mouthpiece of the Islamic Republic of Iran, to grasp the complexity of US involvement in Iraq and the question it raises on whether the US presence abets or hinders Iranian control over Iraq.

Russia’s Toxic Legacy

No. 792

The recent poisoning on British soil of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer who acted as a double agent for the UK’s intelligence services, and his daughter Yulia with a very rare nerve agent of the Novichok type appears almost certainly to have been conducted by the Russians. While the attack is part of a long chain of similar incidents, it was an overwhelming event diplomatically, politically, practically, and in terms of intelligence. Two similar incidents in London exhibited common elements linking them to the Skripal attack. Together, they shed light on the apparatus that might be responsible.

If Confirmed, Pompeo Will Face Tough Challenges

No. 791
| April 10, 2018

On March 13, 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he was replacing US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas (2011-17), is an outspoken critic of “the Iran deal” – as is John Bolton, who has since been named General H.R. McMaster’s replacement as National Security Advisor. Pompeo’s confirmation hearing will take place on April 12. Like Bolton, he is likely to face a tough battle for a difficult position.