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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Russia and Iran: Friends and Foes

No. 718
| January 17, 2018

Russia and Iran have been geopolitical rivals for centuries – but over the past couple of years, the Moscow-Tehran axis has grown exponentially. This creates major headaches for the US and other western powers that are concerned about how far this cooperation could go. The two powers share common interests in the South Caucasus and the Middle East, but are wary of one another’s growing influence in their own backyards.

Iranian Protests Reveal Leadership Fault Lines in the Muslim World

No. 717
| January 16, 2018

If week-long anti-government protests in Iran exposed the Islamic Republic’s deep-seated economic and political problems, they also laid bare Saudi Arabia’s structural inability to establish itself as the leader of the Sunni Muslim world.

Israel and Jews: Facing Europe’s Challenges

No. 716
| January 15, 2018

A number of major problem issues in Western European countries and the EU face Israel and the Jews. The widespread demonization of Israel remains a critical problem. So do anti-Semitism, the continuous influx of Muslims without any selection, the major manifestation of anti-Semitism within the UK Labor Party, the growth of the extreme right and left in France, and other important issues. Establishing such an inventory may provide a useful tool for Israel and international Jewish organizations in defining their 2018 agenda.

The Trump Peace Plan

No. 715

US President Donald Trump has referred to his peace plan as “a good deal,” but unlike in the business world, agreements between peoples are only valid for the moment. Agreements are always temporary, awaiting a strategic shift in which everything is reconsidered.

Securing a Jewish Future in the West Bank Following Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration

No. 714
| January 12, 2018

The domestic and international outcry at President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital suggests that Israel’s position in the West Bank is far from secure. If Israel wishes to secure a future for Jews in the West Bank, ordinary Palestinians there must also benefit from – and express their support for – coexistence with Jews.

Breaking the Syrian Stalemate

No. 713
| January 11, 2018

As the civil war in Syria winds down, ISIS is eliminated, and the chips begin to fall where they may, the aftermath appears profoundly tangled, with every imaginable interest pitted against all the others. But the situation is not unnavigable. Winners and losers are emerging, and a few wild card players are entering the fray that might disrupt the developing status quo. 

US-Saudi Nuclear Talks: A Middle East Barometer?

No. 712
| January 10, 2018

Talks aimed at transferring US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia serve as an indicator of where the Saudi-Iranian rivalry is heading as well as the strength of the informal Saudi-Israeli alliance against Iran. The possible transfer could spark a new arms race in the Middle East and constitutes one explanation why Saudi responses to President Donald J. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel were muted and limited to rhetorical statements.

The US Should Arm Iranian Protesters

No. 711
| January 9, 2018

Rhetorical support for the Iranian protesters in their quest for freedom is not enough. The US, with the help of its allies, including Israel, must work 24/7 to provide – at the most opportune moment – arms and the knowhow to use them to the protesters against the regime. The time to act will be when casualties of the regime can be identified as coming from a broad spectrum of the Iranian public. 

Egypt’s Nuclear Deal with Russia

No. 710

The long-term agreement recently signed between Russia and Egypt to build a nuclear power plant at El-Dabaa is aimed at improving Egypt’s electricity sector and has no direct implications for the development of nuclear weapons. It is, however, likely to legitimize any future attempt by Egypt to build a uranium-enrichment or nuclear-fuel-reprocessing facility. While Egypt has already gained significant experience in the nuclear field, neither its plans to develop a civilian nuclear power plant nor its efforts to develop nuclear weapons have yet borne fruit.

Trump’s Security Strategy: Its Messages for Turkey

No. 709
| January 7, 2018

US President Donald Trump’s recently unveiled National Security Strategy paper does not specifically mention Turkey. Some Turks think this is good, as any mention would likely have been negative. But some think it is bad for Turkish interests because the absence of a mention highlights Turkey’s diminishing political clout in its region. Regardless, the strategy paper has messages for Ankara on several wavelengths.