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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North Korea’s Missile Program

No. 680
| December 10, 2017

North Korea’s missile program demonstrates Pyongyang’s ability to build a reliable deterrence capability against the US – but the program requires a huge budget. Pyongyang should be able to fund the industry in the short term, but sanctions and costs might eventually force it either to look for new income sources or to offer tactical concessions.

Why Does the Average Turk Love Erdoğan?

No. 679
| December 10, 2017

A quick glance at Turkey’s facts and figures helps to explain why the Turks love their leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. There are striking parallels between the political sociology of the average Turkish voter and Erdoğan’s Islamist worldview. In a way, Erdoğan is what the average Turk sees when he looks in the mirror.

Reading Palestinian Responses to Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration

No. 678
| December 8, 2017

The PA and Hamas are hopeful that unorganized Palestinian youth will mobilize against President Trump’s declaration acknowledging that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. A groundswell from the streets would preclude the necessity for the two organizations to actively take the lead. However, the readers of al-Quds, the Palestinian silent majority, are loath to sacrifice their sons on behalf of the warring factions.

The Chaotic Arab World Has Nothing to Offer Israel

No. 677

Israel should not do the bidding of the divided and bankrupt Arab world and strive to contain Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions at an exorbitant human and material cost. Nor should it trust its Arab neighbors to offer genuine peace once the Iranian threat is eliminated. 

Qatari vs. Saudi Wahhabism and the Perils of Top-Down Change

No. 676
| December 7, 2017

Qatar and Saudi Arabia share a Wahhabi tradition, yet Qatar’s secular social character is more similar to that of Turkey. Despite their current antagonism, the leaders of the two countries share a forward-looking, less socially conservative vision. But a government-engineered modernizing process will be ineffective if it is not accompanied by political change.

The “Arab Spring” and the New Regional Chessboard

No. 675
| December 6, 2017

The “Arab Spring” phenomenon has created new strategic conundrums in the Middle East, as well as new opportunities for diplomatic ties and cooperative schemes. The volatility it has generated is likely to increase, with both positive and negative results.

Easter in Winter: The “Arab Spring” Seven Years Later

No. 674
| December 6, 2017

The time has come to stop peddling misleading and empty political metaphors and to refrain from predicating alternative futures on facile inferences that serve only to add confusion to ambiguity.

Moving Westward: The Chinese Rebuilding of Syria

No. 673
| December 5, 2017

As the Syrian civil war enters its final stages, China appears determined to take on a central role in Syria’s reconstruction. One factor motivating China’s involvement is the presence of a large number of Uighur jihadists among the anti-government forces. Another is the “One Belt-One Road” initiative – a planned attempt to establish and control a modern day Silk Road connecting China, the Middle East, and Europe. The increasingly active role China is playing in Syria might mark a shift in the geostrategic reality of the region. 

Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation: Resistance as an Expression of Faith

No. 672

There is an expectation that the reconciliation trend between Fatah and Hamas will lead to the disarmament of the resistance, but the idea of resistance will remain whether it is armed or not.

Tackling Corruption: Why Saudi Prince Muhammad’s Approach Raises Questions

No. 671
| December 4, 2017

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s recent moves against the Saudi elite look more like a power and asset grab than a credible effort to eradicate corruption. He would be well advised to focus more on structural and institutional change.