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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The Implications of Sanctions for the Iranian Oil Market

No. 1014
| November 25, 2018

Senior officials in the Trump administration have indicated that the sanctions recently imposed on the Islamic Republic were intended to significantly change its behavior. This declaration is inconsistent with its granting of an exemption to the eight countries – particularly China and India – that make up the bulk of Iranian oil exports. The administration’s decision reflects, among other things, the desire to avoid a shake-up in global oil prices and a pragmatic approach that allows room for maneuver for countries that are not ready to immediately halt their purchases of Iranian oil. However, the decision is being interpreted by Tehran as a sign of weakness and an achievement for Iranian foreign policy.

Between Rabin’s Legacy and the INSS Plan

No. 1013
| November 23, 2018

The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, recently issued “A Political-Security Framework Strategic Action Plan for the Israeli-Palestinian Arena.” The gap between the INSS initiative and the basic principles expressed by PM Yitzhak Rabin is such that one might assume Rabin would have been fundamentally opposed to the initiative.

To Ensure Sovereignty over Jerusalem, Arab Residents Must Be Equally Protected

No. 1012
| November 22, 2018

More important than achieving international recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is the necessity of ensuring Israeli sovereignty over the city itself. This means prohibiting Palestinian Authority officials from residing in Jerusalem, especially those involved in surveillance and intimidation of Arab residents and the organization of protest and incitement against Jewish residents. Establishing a liaison office at the Israeli police department in Jerusalem would allow Arab Jerusalemites to report harassment.

Rumors Notwithstanding, Prospects for Israel-Pakistan Relations Remain Dim

No. 1011
| November 21, 2018

Rumors flew recently that Israeli officials had secretly visited Islamabad at around the same time that PM Netanyahu visited Oman. True or not, no one should get too excited. Islamabad has no intention of establishing diplomatic relations with Jerusalem anytime soon.

The Messages Behind the Iranian Missile Strike in Iraqi Kurdistan

No. 1010
| November 20, 2018

A missile strike on September 8 in Iraqi Kurdistan conducted by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran killed 18, including the father of this author, and injured another 40. Though Tehran claims the strike was retaliation for an attack on a military post that had been claimed by an armed Kurdish group, the threat posed by the Iranian Kurds to the Islamist regime is not sufficient to justify such a violent attack. The strike was likely a message intended not only for the Iranian Kurds, but for the Saudis, the Americans, and the Israelis as well.

Lieberman’s Resignation and Rabin’s “Peace Legacy”

No. 1009
| November 19, 2018

It is a historical irony that last week’s resignation of defense minister Avigdor Lieberman came on the heels of the 23rd anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, for it can clearly be seen as the latest casualty of the slain prime minister’s “peace legacy.” Not merely because the move was triggered by the latest conflagration along the Gaza Strip, transformed by the Oslo “peace process” into an ineradicable terrorist entity that has murdered and maimed thousands of Israelis and made the lives of countless others a living hell, but because the process has destabilized the Israeli political system and made it captive to the whims of the Palestinian leadership. 

Islamic State’s Future in Afghanistan – Part II

No. 1008
| November 19, 2018

In a previous Perspective, I discussed several factors that suggest that the so-called Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K) has no future in Afghanistan. But the armed group is banking on several other factors to help it continue to pose a threat to peace and stability in Afghanistan. IS-K will remain a problem until those factors cease to exist.

The Israeli Security Concept: Wandering Through a Maze

No. 1007
| November 15, 2018

The recent round of fighting between Israel and Hamas was seemingly sparked by the exposure of an Israeli special forces team during a covert operation in Khan Yunis. The Hamas leadership, which apparently is not interested in war, nevertheless chose to respond by escalating to the very brink. Why has the Israeli government refrained (yet again) from instructing the IDF to settle the Hamas threat?

Turkey vs. the Southern Caucasus Republics

No. 1006

On October 13, 1921, the Kars Agreement was signed in the town of Kars in eastern Anatolia (Western Armenia). This agreement redrew, in Turkey’s favor, the Kars-Ardahan-Artvin border between Turkey and the Caucasus republics of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, an area that had been stripped from Turkey by the post-WWI Sèvres peace treaty. While there are irredentist trends in the now independent Caucasian republics that wish to invalidate the Turkish claim, they are being restrained by present day realities.

An International Jewish View on the Pittsburgh Murders

No. 1005
| November 13, 2018

The killing of 11 Jews in Pittsburgh is the next in a series of lethal attacks targeting Jews and their institutions for decades around the world. In killings outside the US, the murderers of Jews are often Muslim, while in Pittsburgh the murderer was a white supremacist. The First Amendment of the American Constitution enables hate speech, which is a deficiency in any society. The Pittsburgh killings demonstrate that Jews are subject to threat all over the world, including in the US.