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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Iceland, Israel, and the Jews: A Largely Negative History

No. 888
| July 10, 2018

Whenever the media mention Iceland in the context of Israel, it is usually to report negative news. It is difficult to find in Iceland’s history more than one substantial occasion when it played a positive role for Israel. There have been many cases of anti-Semitism in Iceland over the centuries. Every year, during the Lent period before Easter, 17th century hymns full of hatred for the Jews are read out daily by distinguished citizens and broadcast on Iceland’s public radio station.

The Iranian-North Korean Nexus After the Singapore Summit

No. 887

The summit that took place in Singapore in June 2018 between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un likely had a significant impact on the Pyongyang-Tehran nexus. Given the depth of strategic cooperation between the two countries, Iran can be expected to take steps to minimize any challenges that will be posed to that cooperation, either directly or indirectly, by the tentatively developing Pyongyang-Washington relationship.

Saudi Religious Diplomacy Targets Jerusalem

No. 886
| July 8, 2018

A United Arab Emirates-backed Saudi effort to wrest control from Jordan of Islam’s holy places in Jerusalem signals a sharper, more overt edge to Saudi religious diplomacy. The kingdom’s quest for regional hegemony risks deepening divides in the Muslim world.

How Sun Tzu Might Approach US Nuclear Strategy

No. 885
| July 6, 2018

Although nuclear strategy must, by definition, be shaped without historical precedent, it should contain certain ancient core concepts. The strategic postulates first laid down by Sun Tzu could be referenced usefully by the current architects of US nuclear strategy, especially with reference to an already nuclear North Korea, and to a plausibly future nuclear adversary in Iran. These first principles could be applied to US ally Israel, in consequence of their direct impact on US policies, and to ongoing North Korean military activity in Syria or the wider Middle East.

Israel Must Stop Syria’s Advance Southward

No. 884
| July 5, 2018

Israel must halt the reconsolidation of the Syrian regime, especially in the country’s south. Russia helped to bolster the regime through airpower. In response to the resulting and growing threat, Israel must now unleash the might of the IAF.

The Limits of Technological Superiority

No. 883

There is no technological solution to the problem of kite/balloon terrorism. However decisive it may be, technology in and of itself does not guarantee victory.

The China-US Confrontation: A Russian View

No. 882
| July 4, 2018

China and the US have different geopolitical imperatives, so tensions are bound to increase between the two powers. Russia’s position in the nascent confrontation will be important to watch, as it is simultaneously under pressure from the West and in the shadow of Chinese economic strength. Russia will likely see US-China competition as providing an opportunity to improve its own geopolitical position.

Jewish West Bank Communities: The Kernel of a Tolerant Palestinian State

No. 881
and | July 3, 2018

Just as Israel is a Jewish state of nearly 9 million citizens, where some 2 million non-Jews live in peace and security, there is no reason why a Palestinian Arab state should not host a sizable Jewish minority living in peace and security with the Arab majority.

The Decreasing Effectiveness of Hamas Terrorism

No. 880
| July 2, 2018

The downturn in Hamas’s fortunes is not only political but also practical. From the 1990s through the “al-Aqsa intifada,” it made lethal use of suicide terrorism. Its substitutes since then – ballistic, tunnel, and now kite terrorism – are decreasingly effective.

Assad Addresses the Chemical Weapons Issue

No. 879

In an unprecedented television interview on May 30, Syrian President Bashar Assad made detailed comments about his army’s alleged non-use of chemical weapons (CW). Referring to the (confirmed) employment of chemical weapons in Douma on April 7 and the subsequent US-British-French retaliatory raid, Assad claimed that CW had not been used by anyone (rather than by the rebels, as is usually contended).