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 Al-Hashd al-Sha’abi Militias at a Crossroads

No. 1301
| September 27, 2019

The recent assaults on the militia bases of al-Hashd al-Sha’abi raise questions about Iraq’s future. Despite the Iraqi PM’s ultimatum demanding that the militias, which operate under the Iranian umbrella, integrate into the Iraqi military apparatus, a number of them are not complying, which could have implications for Iraqi sovereignty.

The Invincible Sultan: Is Erdoğan Losing His Populist Charm?

No. 1300
| September 26, 2019

At testing times, Turkey’s Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has always sought refuge at home, taking pleasure in his massive popularity. But after 17 consecutive years in power, having won every election in which he ran, Turkey’s self-declared Sultan is showing signs of fatigue – and his popularity may be wearing thin.

Diverging Gulf Responses to Kashmir and Xinjiang Reflect Deep Divisions

No. 1299
| September 25, 2019

Recent diametrically opposed responses to the repression of Muslims by China, India, and other Asian countries highlight deep differences among the Gulf states that ripple across Asia.

“Smokescreening” – Anti-Israel Sentiment Expressed Through False Friendship

No. 1298
| September 24, 2019

Smokescreening, the false pretense of friendship toward Israel, is a common practice. Practitioners include US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, former US president Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and German FM Heiko Maas. There is also a mirror phenomenon in which Israeli leaders identify smokescreeners as friends, as when Israeli president Reuven Rivlin called German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier a “true friend of Israel.”

Iran Escalates: The Attack on the Saudi Oilfields

No. 1297
| September 23, 2019

The attack on the Saudi oilfields took the security establishments of both the kingdom and the US completely by surprise. The strike led to a 50% drop in Saudi oil production, which in turn prompted a surge in oil prices in the global market. The attack was a daring and aggressive leap forward on Iran’s part, and it has serious regional and geopolitical implications.

The Shakir Case: Human Rights Watch vs. Israel

No. 1296
| September 22, 2019

On September 24, the Israeli High Court is scheduled to hear the appeal filed by Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch (HRW) regarding the Ministry of the Interior’s rejection of his request to renew his work visa. HRW – which openly peddles in BDS – is in a win-win situation, as a victory will enable it and Shakir to continue peddling anti-Israel hate while a loss will allow them to brand Israel an oppressor of human rights. 

Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities Puts US Commitments to the Test

No. 1295
| September 20, 2019

Neither Saudi Arabia nor the US is rushing to retaliate for a brazen, allegedly Iranian attack that severely damaged two of the kingdom’s key oil facilities. That is not to say that Saudi Arabia and/or the US will not retaliate in what could prove to be a game changer in the geopolitics of the Middle East.

The Plight of the LGBT Community in the Palestinian Authority and Muslim Countries

No. 1294
| September 19, 2019

The Palestinian Authority’s violent treatment of the gay community under its rule offers a gloomy reminder of this community’s difficult situation in most Muslim countries.

Is Erdoğan Solely Responsible for Turkish Foreign Policy?

No. 1293
| September 18, 2019

Many believe Turkey will return to “Western normality” as soon as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan finishes his political career. But Turkey’s behavior is influenced by the systemic restructuring of the international arena after the end of the Cold War more than it is by Erdogan’s aura, as was apparent in the 1990s prior to his advent. It is unwise to anticipate a significant change in Turkish foreign policy once Erdoğan leaves the scene.

Why Israel Must Tolerate Hamas for the Time Being

No. 1292
| September 17, 2019

Israel’s inability to thwart Hamas on the Gaza front, even as it persistently worsens the lives of the 20,000 Israeli citizens who live in the “Gaza envelope,” is a national shame. Yet PM Benjamin Netanyahu is correct that this pain must be borne as Israel focuses on the Iranian threat and Israel’s northern front.