Democrats Challenge Trump’s Authority to Conduct Military Operations Against Iran

| January 13, 2020

The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution, initiated by the Democrats, to restrict President Donald Trump’s ability to conduct military operations against Iran. If approved by the Senate, the resolution could adversely affect the US campaign to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power and other important security issues in the Middle East.    

Takeaways from the US Impeachment Imbroglio

| January 13, 2020

The three impeachments to date in US history (Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump) and the Nixon impeachment inquiry and resulting presidential resignation shed light on the current Constitutional meaning of impeachment and how it will affect the future relationship between Congress and the executive branch.  Impeachment and conviction as a check by Congress on the president may have been eliminated altogether. The American people no longer trust their political institutions, processes, or politicians to provide accountability.

The Soleimani Killing: Trump’s New Approach to the War on Terror

| January 12, 2020

Soft power and coercive diplomacy tools have not worked for almost 20 years against “peaceful Iran” (as Obama used to call it), and America has opted instead to exercise hard power. Trump’s order to kill Qassem Soleimani exposes once again the vast gap between the US and Europe on the problem of Iran.

Iran Seeks to End Direct Clash with US and Return to Asymmetric Comfort Zone

| January 9, 2020

Tehran doesn’t want outright war. It is sticking to the long game in its goal of ejecting US forces from the region and completing its takeover of neighboring Iraq.

The Soleimani Killing: An Initial Assessment

The targeted killing by the US of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force and close confidant of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has unsettled the region and the world. We have assembled initial takes on this event by five BESA researchers: Prof. Hillel Frisch, Prof. Eytan Gilboa, Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, Dr. Doron Itzchakov, and Alex Joffe. 

The United States: The Next Decade

| December 31, 2019

As the next decade approaches, the US stands at a historic crossroads regarding both domestic and foreign issues. The 2020 presidential and congressional elections will to a large extent determine whether the current trends of populism, polarization, and incitement coursing through American society, and of withdrawal from international leadership, will continue or come to an end; whether the phenomenon of “Trumpism” will persist or be remembered as an aberration; whether the political and ideological gaps between Democrats and Republicans that have paralyzed the administration will narrow; and whether the economic boom of the last few years will go on or the US will enter a recession. Demographic shifts are changing the face of the US, and in the course of the decade they will have a significant impact on major political, social, and economic issues.  

More Distractions Loom for the US in 2020

| December 22, 2019

Impeachment hearings in the US have overshadowed important geopolitical developments in Eurasia that will affect Washington’s position in 2020 and beyond. The US’s failure to improve relations with Seoul and Tokyo strengthens China’s position in the Asia-Pacific. Similar processes are unfolding around Ukraine, where Kyiv might—in the absence of US support—be pressured into accepting Russian demands on Donbas.

A Strategic View of the Turkish Campaign Against the Kurds

In light of recent regional events in general and the Turkish invasion of Syria in particular, Israel needs to reconsider the underlying strategic rationale not only of its covert activities in the neighboring countries but also its more overt conduct. Otherwise it could find itself, in case of war with the northern axis (Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria), winning battles but having trouble ending the campaign with a strategic achievement.

Implications of the US Withdrawal from Syria

| October 30, 2019

The withdrawal of US forces from the Kurdish areas of northern Syria will help strengthen Iran’s standing in the country, make Russia the leading power in the region, and possibly lead to the resurgence of ISIS terror. All these outcomes will have far-reaching policy implications for the Middle East’s pro-Western actors and for the war on jihadist terror.

The Purge of John Bolton

| October 29, 2019

In Syria, President Trump, like Obama before him, seems oblivious to the reality that when the US withdraws, its enemies advance and fill the vacuum. Ousted NSA John Bolton has said that America is constraining its range of action through foolhardy entanglements with international institutions and naive bilateral agreements that promise too much to America’s enemies in exchange for too little. He maintains, correctly, that Americans support leaders who are not appeasers but defenders of American values, vital national interests, and human rights.