By Prof. Efraim Karsh and Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, May 22, 2020
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Israel’s May 2000 rushed evacuation of its security zone in south Lebanon and the desertion of its longstanding local allies there tarnished the Jewish State’s deterrent posture and helped spark a string of large-scale armed confrontations with Hezbollah (2006), the PLO (the so-called “al-Aqsa Intifada”), and Hamas (2008/9, 2012, 2014). The withdrawal transformed south Lebanon into an ineradicable terror entity that can harass northern Israel at will and expedited Hezbollah’s evolvement into a formidable military power armed with 150,000 rockets and missiles capable of reaching anywhere in Israel. It also dented the IDF’s fighting ethos and operational competence, as illustrated by its lukewarm performance during the Second Lebanon War (2006) and Operation Protective Edge (2014).
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Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2020 (view PDF)
By Emil Avdaliani, May 21, 2020
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Geopolitical trends of the last two decades show that pivotal states in Eurasia are working to recreate their zones of influence. In so doing, they are challenging the US, which implies a corresponding challenge to the existing world order. Though Washington will be able to limit some powers’ ambitions, it has few tools with which to hamper the ambitions of Russia, China, and Iran.
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The Palestinians aren’t just reliving the “disaster” of their losing war to prevent Israel’s birth. By refusing to negotiate, they’ve ensured that their losses will continue to grow.
JONATHAN S. TOBIN
Russia’s alleged displeasure with Assad and Iran in Syria has gotten a lot of attention recently in Western and some Arab media. Yet, saying that Moscow is having a change of heart at this very moment, let alone is willing to publicly broadcast this to Damascus, may be a bit premature.
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Jasmin Lorch, Hatem Chakroun
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has tapped legislator Omer Yankelevich as diaspora minister in the new unity government, the first ultra-Orthodox woman to lead a ministry.
Sulaimaniyah’s pursuit of enhanced self-governance has stoked concerns over the Iraqi Kurds’ hard-won unity as economic woes strain their autonomous region.
The attack comes amid intra-Kurdish tensions in Iraq over the PKK's and Turkey's presence in the country.
Dalibor Rohac | The American Interest
By JONATHAN S. TOBIN
By Col (Res.) Dr. Raphael G. Bouchnik-Chen, May 13, 2020
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The declared intention of the new Israeli government to pave the way for the implementation of sovereignty in certain parts of the West Bank, with the blessing of the Trump administration, is prompting vigorous debate. The dark prophecies by “liberal” Israelis as well as EU officials about the dire consequences that would result from annexation are exaggerated, and they obscure the vital strategic value of the Jordan Valley for Israel’s security.
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May 12, 2020
The need to keep radicals and Islamists out of power in Jordan continues to foil efforts to force the extradition of an unrepentant Palestinian murderer.
JONATHAN S. TOBIN
The annexation of lands in Judea and Samaria is not contrary to international lawby Michael Calvo
- At the 2019 Jewish Leadership Conference, we were privileged to host former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger for a conversation on what his distinguished career has taught him about great statesmen and able statesmanship.
- Last December, we hosted leading foreign policy expert Walter Russell Mead for a wide-ranging conversation on American foreign policy and the Middle East.
- Back in January 2019, Hudson Institute scholar Michael Doran took t0 the pages of our online publication, Mosaic, to provide the most comprehensive assessment of the Trump Administration's Middle East strategy anywhere on the web.
Ehud Yaari writes: When striving to subdue civilian populations, the Syrian army tends to rely on ranged firepower rather than infantry assaults. If these indiscriminate tactics are applied in Deraa, the death toll could be very steep.[…] In addition, these dynamics would pave the way for Iran to bolster its local proxies (e.g., “Battalion 313”) and entice unemployed youths to enlist by offering them salaries—perhaps including some of the 7,000 former rebels who used to receive assistance from the Israel Defense Forces. This could in turn give the IRGC and Hezbollah an opportunity to increase their own presence in Deraa’s western countryside facing the Golan, a longstanding Israeli redline. – Washington Institute
Ammar Shams Aldin writes: The notion of separation of powers in the constitution is designed to hinder the aggregation of political and economic power. Syria’s economy will continue to suffer until political power is constrained and directed toward limited objectives. The hope is that a new constitution, if taken seriously and properly implemented, will help Syria transition from a state whose institutions, rules, and policies depend on the dictates of its leadership to one where the distribution of power is restructured so that the lower levels of government can take on a greater role. – Middle East Institute
Against the backdrop of the high tension between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the Saudi daily ‘Okaz published an unusually harsh article by Sattam bin Hadbaa mocking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. […]Through this story, the writer implies that Erdogan, too, dreams of leading the world and renewing the glory of the Ottoman empire, but in reality he is more like a gang-leader who exploits the fools who admire him. – Middle East Media Research Institute
Bilal Y. Saab and Mick Mulroy write: It will not be easy for the GCC states. They cannot afford to increasingly challenge the current U.S. administration on Iran, because it might double down on its latest decision to withdraw some Patriot missile defense batteries from Saudi Arabia and pull out all American troops and equipment stationed on their territory. The U.S. already threatened to do that, had Saudi Arabia not stopped its recent oil price war with Russia. – Middle East Institute
Tom Rogan writes: China’s new rhetoric is simply about buying time. So, yes, we should expect more pleasant words from Beijing toward international organizations. But when it comes to the crunch, those words will be divorced from any significant positive action. As is always and ever the case with the Chinese Communist Party, it ultimately cares only about self-preservation. – Washington Examiner
Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn discuss the “endless wars” narrative, explaining why it is more accurate to call the conflicts unleashed by 9/11 an “endless jihad.”
According to a new report by the Lead Inspector General for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, U.S. officials have assessed that the Taliban is "reluctant to publicly break with al Qaeda," while Pakistan continues to harbor senior Taliban leaders, including the Haqqanis. The report confirms that the Taliban went on the offensive following the Feb. 29 withdrawal agreement with the U.S.
Taliban emir demands ‘Islamic government’ for Afghansitan
Mullah Haibatullah, the leader of the Afghan Taliban and its Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, again called for the establishment of an "Islamic government" and the imposition of the group's harsh versions of sharia
A conflict over a new leader threatens a storied organization
by Jonathan S. Tobin