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Open Think Tank Articles

October 15, 2012 | Obama vs. Romney: Fighting to Be Different

Joshua Clapp: Tomorrow marks the second US presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The debate, in a town meeting format, will include not only domestic policy but also foreign policy. How do the two candidates approach the outside world? Here is a look at five main foreign policy issues.

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September 13, 2012 | Iran and the Bomb: US and Israeli Responses

Aaron Thomas Walter: This paper considers the relationship between the United States, Israel and Iran. The primary finding of this study suggests that the actions of all three countries are anchored in the realist realm and will continue to be bound to the concepts of power and security.

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April 2, 2012 | The Psychological Aspects of the Nuclear Conflict with Iran

Bernhard Lucke: The actual conflict with Iran is very much centered on the symbolic issue of nuclear enrichment. However, this misses the depth and history of the conflict. In particular, the psychological aspects of the confrontation between Iran and Israel should be considered more.

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March 8, 2012 | James Appathurai's Answers on Global Partnerships and the Arab Spring This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: The NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy has responded to your questions and policy recommendations! In this first of two installments, he answers questions about cooperation with countries touched by the Arab Spring, discusses an Atlantic Memo proposal for a Global Partnership Council, and many more.

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February 10, 2012 | Rapprochement with Iran: Improbable Necessity?

Vince A.M. Klösters: Western rapprochement towards Iran is the only rational course of action serving long-term stability and peace in the Middle East. We can use models of past détente with China to plot a course towards a pragmatic and secure status quo in the region.

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January 19, 2012 | A Conference for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East

Ali Fathollah-Nejad: With the war drums on Iran sounding and the Arab revolts following an arduous path, there still remains no sustainable perspective for a peaceful Middle East. The Conference for Security and Cooperation can bring the important civil society element to bear in a region where state-centric solutions have failed.

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October 13, 2011 | Israel's Old Road is Rapidly Fading as Times Change in Middle East

John Taylor: While the Jewish state remains the strongest military power in the Middle East, it is increasingly isolated in a region undergoing dramatic political change. Israel needs to adopt a policy of engagement and dialogue with its neighbors in order to safeguard its position in the region.

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September 23, 2011 | Why Europe Should Vote 'Yes' on Palestine

Anno Bunnik: On Friday, 193 UN member states formally received Palestine’s request for statehood. This is a bold move with potential to bring about Israeli-Palestinian peace, and one that will impact future strategic relations in the Arab world. The UN should vote in favor of accession.

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August 11, 2011 | Turkish Delight: A Chance to Realign With the West

James Brian Taylor: Turkey’s relations with the United States and Europe have been strained over the past two years, despite a rich history of cooperation. But the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East provides a golden opportunity for Turkey to realign itself with the US and Europe, beginning with a reconciliation with Israel.

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June 7, 2011 | Style Trumps Substance on Obama's Poland Visit

William C. Fleeson: US President Barack Obama’s trip to Europe this May would suggest a re-commitment to the transatlantic partnership, with special attention given to Poland and US dealings there. But on the issues of symbolic support, Israel and military ties, Obama’s trip revealed that his Poland policy is one more of style than of substance.

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March 28, 2011 | Pakistan and Israel: Religion, Politics and State

Malte Gaier: Religion, politics and the nation state are entwined in the foundations of both Israel and Pakistan. This paper examines how the basic characteristics of these states were formed and politically legitimized through a religious framework.

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February 2, 2011 | What Europe Must Do to Ensure a Two-State Deal

Muriel Asseburg and Jan Busse: Questions still abound as to the EU’s position regarding Palestinian statehood. European policymakers must make key decisions to ensure the peace process becomes viable.

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December 14, 2010 | Turkey's Islamist Adventure

Niklas Anzinger: Turkey’s leading political party is shifting away from its Western orientation. This is a consequential step of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s agenda of de-secularizing Turkish democracy. Ankara’s reorientation remains an obstacle not only to Western influence in the Middle East but also a NATO missile defense shield.

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August 13, 2010 | Will Israel Launch an Air Strike Against Iran?

Editorial Team: A transatlantic pro & con debate has emerged in recent days over the question of whether Israel will resort to an air strike in order to keep Iran from building the bomb: In the US, there are fears that Israel might do so within the next twelve months, while Germans relegate this to the realm of the fantastic.

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August 11, 2010 | Turkish-Israeli Cooperation and Regional Security

Angelina Harutyunyan: Turkish-Israeli relations depend mainly on the regional context. Iran is playing a role of increasing importance in Turkish foreign policy considerations. Nevertheless, several options remain for improving Turkish-Israeli relations.

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November 26, 2009 | Turkey's Holistic Approach

Stefanie Jennifer Tetenburg: Current fears that Turkey is moving away from its Euro-Atlantic orientation are misguided. Ankara is indeed strengthening ties with its Muslim neighbors but it is also improving relations with Russia and Armenia. The West should, instead, focus on the benefits that Turkey’s multilateral foreign policy can bring.

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November 23, 2009 | The US Needs Turkey for its Middle East Agenda

Brian Katulis: Turkey and the US need to coordinate their efforts in South Asia, Iraq, Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict, towards common goals. In order to make progress on his ambitious policy agenda for the Middle East, Obama needs Turkey. To this end, improving US- Turkish bilateral ties is a first crucial step.

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April 20, 2009 | Middle East Peace: Back to Oslo - with Egypt

Memo 15: There is little disagreement among Atlantic Community members that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be prioritized on the international agenda. Our members believe pursuing a two-state solution and initiating domestic reforms are critical in securing the long desired goal of peace.

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March 16, 2009 | The Middle East Conflict after the Gaza War

Roland Popp: The strategic effects of the Gaza War have been remarkably small. Israel’s strategy of isolating Hamas continues to focus on short-term conflict management and fails to open up new prospects for resolving the Middle East conflict.

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February 27, 2009 | Israel: Swap Land for Peace!

Bernhard Lucke: As a chilled peace process turned into hot war in December 2008, there was still no legitimate partner for an Israeli dialog among the Palestinians. The Hamas election victory had eliminated the last possibility for this. Thus, a three-state-solution of Israel-Egypt-Jordan should be enforced.

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February 6, 2009 | Gaza's Influence on the Israeli Election Campaign

Andrew Christian Emery: Israel’s invasion of Gaza has had a significant effect upon the contest to become the next Israeli Prime Minister. Although Kadima has made some ground in the polls, the conflict could be most instrumental in preventing a Likud landslide.

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January 8, 2009 | Leadership In Gaza: Craven and Dysfunctional

Manuela Paraipan: The conduct of Hamas in the ongoing conflict in Gaza is jeopardizing any prospect of peace. They betray hypocrisy, cowardice and a total lack of respect for the Palestinian people. So long as such appaling leadership persists, there can be no resolution to this bloody conflict.

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November 19, 2008 | Priorities for German-American Cooperation This Article contains Flash-Video

Interview with Jackson Janes: The executive director of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies tells Atlantic-community.org that Russia, energy security, climate change, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the financial crisis are all pressing issues to be addressed jointly by Germany and the United States under an Obama administration.

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May 22, 2008 | The Renaissance of Nuclear Deterrence

Thomas Speckmann: By highlighting the following dilemma “the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran”, Sarkozy signalled the return to a strategy of nuclear deterrence. Since the West’s most dreaded scenario is the nuclearization of the Middle East, calls to prevent Iran from acquiring the atomic bomb are becoming ever more frequent.

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April 10, 2008 | Annapolis: Little Time Left for an Agreement

Colette Avital: The negotiations between Israel and Abu Mazen’s Palestinian Authority need to move forward quickly and improve conditions on the ground. Failure to reach a solution within the year could trigger renewed violence and make future negotiations along similar lines impossible.

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February 25, 2008 | EU Expansion to Israel and Palestine

Leon Hadar: The EU should put its money where its mouth is and work towards inviting both Israel and Palestine to join the EU. With the election of a new US president, Europe could gain more control in the Middle East, but only if it simultaneously accepts more responsibility.

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February 22, 2008 | Transatlantic Security Agenda 2008

Benjamin Lucas Schoo: Vote now on what prominent security related issue the governments on both sides of the Atlantic should focus their attention on! We have identified 4 major tasks for 2008 and ask you to select which of these should be at the top of the transatlantic agenda. You can vote now on the right side.

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November 28, 2007 | America Holds the Key to Mideast Peace

Anatol Lieven: I put the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into perspective and I argue that the greatest hope lies in American patriotism and the extent to which the US establishment takes the threat of Islamist terrorism seriously.

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October 31, 2007 | Going to Annapolis: The Challenge

Colette Avital: For the Annapolis peace conference to be successful, the outcome must focus on the substance of a permanent peace. A mechanism of negotiations should be set in motion for the issues of borders, refugees, Jerusalem, and security, among others, and the peace process should be accompanied by tangible measures on the ground.

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October 10, 2007 | Israel's Security in a Changing Strategic Environment

Ambassador Yaakov Levy: A major change in the nature of warfare has taken place. Israel faces a “new reality” which presents a fundamental challenge to existing norms of international law.

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September 19, 2007 | How To Deal With Iran

Hans-Ulrich Klose: We need a new philosophy of deterrence against Iran. A tough containment policy, including Russia, and strong defense of Israel could bring about a changed security architecture in the Middle East that might finally include Tehran.

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June 15, 2007 | Middle East Must Make Its Own Peace

Rudolf Adam: I warn that US influence on Israel is not enough to make peace. Forty years after the Six-Day War, domestic Israeli politics are the key to normalizing relations between settlers and Palestinians. The United States and EU should recognize that their powers here are limited.

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Global Must Read Articles

September 6, 2012 | A Free Palestine Would Heal Israel-Turkey Relations

Two years after the Gaza flotilla raid, the key to fully repairing Israel-Turkey relations is to find a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ++ This conflict is of significance for Turkey’s Muslims, not just out of religious solidarity but out of political empathy for the denial of Palestinian statehood. ++ Turkey seeks to be a premier regional power and thus, the key regional

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August 8, 2012 | Why Israel (and the US) Exaggerate the Iran Problem

Israel’s “bomb Iran fever” is based on lies and what if’s. ++ Iran does not even have nuclear weapons and has offered concessions beyond its obligations under the NPT, but still Israel is foolishly convinced that it is a threat. ++ In part, it is a public relations stunt the Israeli government plays off of. ++ Israel would not attack Iran without consent from Washington and the others anyway.

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February 22, 2012 | Netanyahu's Failures Endanger Israel

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has three conditions for war: it must delay Iran’s nuclear program; there must be minimal harm to Israel; and it must receive US and international support. ++ The Netanyahu government has had 20 months to prepare the home front but has not even built a respectable fire service. ++ Netanyahu is seen by Obama as seeking to ruin the Democrats’ reelection bid with an

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February 20, 2012 | Cyber Wars Could Spark Real War

Arab-Israeli tensions are being played out by citizen hacktivists on both sides. ++ If a hacker causes real physical damage to critical systems it could quickly involve governments in the real world. ++ There is no operations center that a nation can call to compel another nation’s citizens to stop online attacks. ++ Washington and Moscow are beginning to explore using their direct channels to

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January 30, 2012 | Iran is a Distraction From Palestine

President Netanyahu has turned the Iranian threat into a convenient distraction away from Israel’s settlement policy. ++ He has taken advantage of President Obama’s preoccupation with the presidential elections. ++ Both Israel’s center and left parties have now adopted a policy of unilateral disengagement from Palestinian issues. ++ The end of negotiations for a two state solution is a “badge of

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September 23, 2011 | UN Vote Will Lead to Violence in the Middle East

Regardless of the outcome, a UN vote on Palestine will result in violence in the Middle East. ++ The US and Israel’s push to convince Security Council members to abstain from voting is a short-term solution for postponing conflict in the region. ++ Protests in Israel and Palestine over the UN vote could lead to another Arab-Israeli war. ++ Instead of voting, the Security Council should pass a

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September 22, 2011 | Why Israel Needs An Independent Palestinian State

Since the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin, Israeli leaders have failed to embrace a far-sighted vision on the Israel-Palestine conflict. ++ To reinitiate the peace process, Israel should accept that only an independent Palestinian state will bring lasting peace to the region. ++ The UN vote on Palestinian statehood is an opportunity for Israel and its allies to improve relations with the

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September 19, 2011 | "Ten Reasons for a European 'Yes'"

The UN vote on the status of the Palestinian state presents a unique opportunity for Europe to play a decisive role in global affairs. ++ The EU should put aside national differences and vote as a union for the recognition of the Palestinian state. ++ Voting “yes” on Palestinian statehood is in line with European values and reaffirms Europe’s commitment to a two-state solution. ++ By supporting

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September 6, 2011 | Israel Should Apologize To Turkey

By refusing to apologize to Turkey for its disproportionate use of violence against the Gaza flotilla in May 2010, Israel is effectively isolating itself from the international community and its closest allies. ++ Israel’s defiant stance on the issue is a short term victory for the political far right, but it severely undermines the country’s long-term strategic goals in the region.

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August 31, 2011 | Israel Should Intervene in Syria

By intervening in Syria, Israel could seize the opportunity offered by “the convergence of moral imperatives and strategic goals”. ++ This would oppose the passive precedent Israel has set in the Arab Spring, but offering a corridor for Syrian refugees via the Golan Heights could prove a “diplomatic coup” for Jerusalem, weakening the Assad regime while isolating Hezbollah

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August 5, 2011 | Iran Racing to Build the Bomb

Years of economic sanctions and diplomacy have failed to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear program. ++ In fact, Iran’s “pariah status has ironically engendered an esprit de corps within its scientific community” that has led to significant advances in its nuclear infrastructure in the past two decades. ++ Despite having its nuclear program isolated, ostracized and

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July 5, 2011 | The Economic Case for Supporting Israel

Tiny Israel has long depended on the United States for military aid and security. But Israel is also vital to the economic interests of the United States. ++ Despite being smaller than the state of New Jersey, Israel is a global leader in microchip design, military technology and water recycling, and many US companies depend on Israel for critical parts and services. ++ Now, in a time of acute

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January 14, 2011 | Iranian Nuclear Program: Israeli Options

If diplomacy fails, Israel faces the dilemma of not possessing sufficiently strong conventional forces to take out suspected Iranian sites. ++ Iran represents a more difficult target for Israel than Syria or Iraq did, since most of its nuclear installations are close to population centers. ++ In order to deter Iran, Israel could partially or totally unveil its highly secretive nuclear program. ++

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November 30, 2010 | Wikileaks Shows Nothing New in the Middle East

These days, covert documents are not all that surprising and often state the obvious. ++ In this case, everyone in the Middle East wants to bomb Iran. ++ According to leaked US cables, it may seem strange that Arab leaders, incl. the king of Saudi Arabia and UAE leaders share the Israeli goal of bombing Tehran’s nuclear facilities. ++ But for that kind of understanding of the Middle East’s inner

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November 22, 2010 | Obama's Foreign Policy Needs an Update

President Obama has committed much of the domestic capital to pushing a new nuclear arms control treaty with Russia with a purpose of containing rogue states like Iran and North Korea. ++ He has remained focused on driving the strategies on nuclear disarmament and Israeli settlements. ++ However, he has lacked to present a strategy lest an independent Palestinian state is created and where the

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November 5, 2010 | Obama's Success Hinges on Pro-Israel, Anti-Iran Policy

The losses experienced by the Democratic Party present an opportunity for President Obama to learn from his foreign policy failures. ++ Polls have consistently shown that Americans want their president to be pro-Israel and that many Americans and Israelis do not believe the policies of the Obama administration thus far have fit that description. ++ Moreover, If Obama succeeds in preventing

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November 4, 2010 | One Decision Away from a New Middle East

The ongoing Palestine-Israel peace talks will decide the future of the Middle East. ++ A significant factor in this regard will be Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to remove the Jewish settlements or on the contrary, continue with their development. ++ Furthermore, his decision whether to strike Iran or wait for the US administration to deal with it will be a turning point in

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September 8, 2010 | Even if Peace Talks Fail, Independence is Inevitable

The Palestinian leadership’s determination to continue the pursuit of a peace startegy that embraces non-violence has had a positive impact on the ongoing
peace talks. ++ However, Israel’s incessant violation of human rights and international law in Palestine have made the Palestinians sceptical about Israel’s commitment to peace. ++ Nevertheless, the Palestinians should remain

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August 11, 2010 | Obama Fails to Meet Expectations Set in Cairo

President Obama’s Cairo speech was intended to set a new tone in Arab-American relations. ++ A year later, the disappointment in the Arab world is tremendous: a recent poll of six Arab countries shows that only 16 percent of the Arab population remains hopeful about US policy. ++ Additionally, 57 percent of respondents believe a nuclear Iran would be a positive development. ++ The US media shares

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June 15, 2010 | Turkey and Israel at a Tipping Point

“The Armenian genocide must never ever be allowed to become a political football for selective use by two erstwhile allies to sort out their relations and the contents of their closets.” ++ The hypocritical Turkish reaction to the Israeli attack on the flotilla bound for Gaza, and the selective denial of their history reveals the true nature of Turkey’s leaders, to pursue

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April 26, 2010 | To Achieve Peace Netanyahu Must Stop Expansion

Indirect talks between Israel and Palestine may take place in early May. ++ A freeze on new settlements must occur though it presents a challenge for Netanyahu. ++ Moreover, the prime minister must appear willing to find a solution to the ongoing conflict. ++ “If Netanyahu genuinely has this interest at heart then he must exercise his authority over his ministers and his coalition partners to

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April 15, 2010 | Netanyahu's Ideological Stalemate Is a Waste of Time

Last month’s diplomatic incident between Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu has effectively stalled negotiations between the US and Israel. ++ Critics have accused the Prime Minister of wasting time, putting ideology ahead of strategic and long-term interests, and many are calling for him to forfeit the East Jerusalem expansion and resume peace talks with Palestine. ++ “The Americans are hinting

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March 15, 2010 | Is Netanyahu Compromising the Peace Process?

Leaders claim they want to bring about peace and stability between Israel and Palestine, but they haven’t demonstrated their commitment to it. ++ Netanyahu’s actions are compromising any chance at constructive dialogue with Palestine. ++ Neither Israel nor Palestine seem ready to make the necessary concessions for a successful 2-state solution. ++ For the peace process

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February 19, 2010 | Israel's Obama-Anxiety is Subsiding

Israelis had been riddled with anxiety since Obama took office. ++ Obama is believed to be naïve about Middle East policy and is seen as being too much of a leftist. ++ Over the past year evidence has emerged to disprove that assumption- Obama has increased the US military budget, has come to terms with some Israeli settlements, and is refusing to deal with Hamas. ++ Obama is trying to

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December 17, 2009 | Iranian Leadership Does Not Fit the Soviet Cloth

Washington’s containment policy towards Iran is based on outdated Cold War logic. ++ The doctrine of mutually assured destruction does not work as even the most ardent hawks have doubts about US resolve to obliterate Iran in case of a nuclear attack. ++ Although many question whether Ahmadinejad would use a nuclear weapon, “no-one knows whose finger is on Iran’s nuclear trigger.” ++ Relying on

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November 30, 2009 | Turkey Comes First

Turkey, rather than Iran, is emerging as the real beneficiary of the US misadventures in the Middle East. ++ America sits on the sidelines as Turkey expands its regional influence. ++ The souring of Turkish-Israeli relations has been watched with great anxiety in Washington, where it is feared that Ankara’s new foreign policy is driven by “thinly concealed Islamist ideology.” ++ But

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November 16, 2009 | Israel's Strategic Imperative

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s call for the resumption of negotiations with Israel, demonstrates his commitment to reaching a peace deal. ++ Netanyahu should accept his offer for talks as a peace agreement with Syria would give Israel important strategic advantages. ++ The alliance Iran is leading against Israel would weaken, Hezbollah would be reined in and Israel would gain another recognized

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October 8, 2009 | US-Containment Policy is Main Hazard for Peace in the Middle East

The Obama administration’s middle east policy is largely unsuccessful due to its containment policy towards Iran. ++ The „US’ moves meant to contain the power of Iran, are the main stumbling block on the path to a US-brokered two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.“ ++ In order to reach sustainable peace in the greater middle east, and particularly in Israel and

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September 14, 2009 | Land First, Then Peace

Obama’s speech in Cairo raised expectations in the Arab world. ++ In order to stop the bloodshed in the Middle East Israel must be willing to give back Arab territory. ++ Saudia Arabia, as the key actor in the region, will refuse to engage Israel as long as the country maintains its occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights. ++ “Until Israel heeds President Obama’s call for

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August 25, 2009 | Middle East: A Peace Guide for the Muslim World

Months after President Obama’s speech in Cairo, it is still upon Muslim states to react. ++ Being the first US President credible enough to be accepted by the Palestinians, Obama called on Muslim countries to finally implement true democracy. ++ They must: 1. Convene an Arabic special summit offering Israel full diplomatic acceptance in exchange for the end of settlements; 2. Support Iraq

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August 12, 2009 | The Two-State Solution Solves Nothing

The Israeli-Palestinian consensus on the two-state solution has little meaning. ++ It is “a catchphrase divorced from… issues it is supposed to resolve.” ++ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sticks to demands for a Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty and the expulsion of Palestinian refugees. ++ Hamas pleads for a Palestinian state within the borders of 1967, and full

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July 28, 2009 | American Answer Needed to Mideast Problems

As both the Israeli and Palestinian parties have settled on a two-state solution, the US must now show them the way. ++ The rivals’ ability to negotiate bilaterally has reached its limit. ++ “An American proposal that offers clear parameters for all the issues at hand” could break the stalemate. ++ Negotiations must be accompanied by continued construction of a Palestinian state

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July 8, 2009 | Israel's Sea of Enemies

Biden’s words giving Israel the green light for a military strike should Iran obtain nuclear capabilities caused public discomfort. ++ Yet anything less would be irresponsible: Jewish history taught Israel it cannot wait for the worst case scenario - realization of Ahmadinejad’s threat of a nuclear attack. ++ The West must give the checks and balances of Israeli democracy the respect they deserve

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July 7, 2009 | Obama: Hard on Israel, Soft on Egypt

The Obama administration’s sternness toward Israel seems over the top considering its friendliness towards Egypt. ++ Both countries receive some of the highest percentages of US Development Aid. ++ Israel “needs little reminder of the slights, both petty and large, that the American administration has inflicted.” ++ In contrast to predecessors, Obama and Clinton have failed to make foreign aid to

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June 29, 2009 | Iran Gives the US Another Chance at Israel Peace

The Obama Administration should use the upheaval in Iran to “creep away from the corner into which it has painted itself in the Arab-Israeli peace process” - that is, insisting on a total “freeze” in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and even
East Jerusalem. ++ This approach of “raising the stakes” even though Israel is making an effort is flawed because it is politically unnecessary. ++

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June 26, 2009 | Peace in Gaza: Principles, Not Preconditions

Any chance at Middle East peace requires recognizing that Hamas, labeled a terrorist group, remains a popular force. ++ Historical conflict regions such as South Africa and Northern Ireland teach us that even “terrorist groups” can and must be valuable parties in peacemaking. ++ During my interviews with Hamas, they stated their desire to heal rifts with Fata and establish a state alongside

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June 19, 2009 | Donors Should Demand More from Middle East Players

The buzz around Middle East peace is on again, with all major players stating their negotiating position. ++ Yet, donors, who are tired of seeing their efforts repeatedly ruined, are leaving the Palestinian Authority to crumble. ++ Donors need to urgently exert demands: that Israel live up to the roadmap agreements, freeze settlements, and lift the blockade; that the Palestinians have a united

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June 16, 2009 | Israel Comes Around to Two-State Solution

For the first time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has mentioned the Palestinian state as a solution for the Middle East. ++ Some commentators have labelled this as “a great step for Netanyahu.” ++ “He wants to appease Obama by joining his peace mission.” ++ Although Netanyahu is prepared to accept the possibility of a two state solution, he has refused to back down on Israeli

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June 12, 2009 | US' New Approach Could See Two-State Solution

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is concerned about US President Obama’s lack of attachment to Israel. ++ “Obama doesn’t fit in the pattern of former US presidents.” ++ “The thrust of his Middle East policy - reconciling the US with the Arab and Muslim world - clashes with Netanyahu’s strategy.” ++ Obama sees a vital link between an Israeli-Palestinian peace and the containment of the Iranian

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June 10, 2009 | Arab Peace Initiative an Historic Opportunity for Israel

Even though the momentum for peace in the Middle East Peace is supported by the Arab world and the US, Israel is hesitating. ++ The Arab
Peace Initiative - a tactical and strategic regional plan - may bring Israel peace, prosperity, security. ++ The two state solution is the best way forward. ++ Other alternatives -“one state for two nations” or the current de facto reality of “three states for

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May 19, 2009 | Speaking Softly With Israel Risks a Catastrophe

Israel is determined to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb, even with military strike. ++ Such an act of preventive aggression would have disastrous consequences: it would end all Iranian hesitations to build a bomb; the Middle East would be in an uproar, with popular discontent also targeting the USA, ending Obama’s attempt at easing relations; and Israel’s popular support in the West would be

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May 18, 2009 | US Diplomacy Failure Risks Middle East War

If the US and Europe cannot peacefully convince Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons, Israel may consider using force - a move that could trigger a war worse than that in Iraq and make or break both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership and that of Barak Obama’s. ++ For the Israelis, Iran has become an unrivalled threat. ++ “Never before have the Israelis had to confront a rabidly

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May 13, 2009 | Obama Key to Peace Between Arab World and Israel

Dialogue between the US and Syria is alive even though President Barack Obama renewed sanctions on Damascus, which were due to expire. ++ Syria immediately dismissed it as a routine procedure. ++ The key to removing sanctions is peace between the Arab world and Israel which should be approached at a regional level, otherwise war could break out within two years. ++ Only Obama will be able to make

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May 12, 2009 | US Middle East Policy Will Cause Rupture With Israel

US builds Middle East policy by distancing itself from Israel.++ Calling on Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; demanding a freeze of settlements and pushing towards a two state solution despite Israeli opposition causes frosty relations between these allies.++ Simultaneously, the US is working towards a wider Arab Israeli peace that would include a 57-State-Deal with Israel,

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April 29, 2009 | Iranian President Considering Obama's Olive Branch

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have softened his stance on Israel after saying his country would recognize the State of Israel - if Palestine signed a two-state peace deal. ++ The Obama Administration has extended an olive branch and the jailing of an Iranian-American journalist on spy charges last week may have been a maneuver by the regime to manufacture a crisis in order to test

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April 3, 2009 | Bleak Economic Future for Palestinian Regions

The conflict with Israel and the inner political crisis have set back the Palestinian autonomous areas a long way. Furthermore, the promise of the international community at the most recent donor conference in Sharm el-Sheikh to support the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip with 4.5 billion US dollars cannot solve the main problem: a constantly growing number of young people urgently needs work.

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March 20, 2009 | Iran Should Imitate the EU

It is silly to think that Mr Ahmadinejad is not aware of the enormity of reprisals to which he would be exposed should he attack Israel. ++ Thus, it is by no means excludable that the sole reason behind Iran’s insistence to continue its nuclear program is to be regarded as an equal partner. ++ After all, several countries such as France or Israel went through the same logic. ++ Yet, reproducing

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March 17, 2009 | Quick, Sell Arms to India

India’s reliance on Russia for defense equipment is largely ineffective and increasingly dangerous. ++ The entire Russian fleet of MiG-29 is seen to suffer structural defects and adds to the fact that “Russia’s defense manufacturing base is facing shortfalls in capabilities and capacities.” ++ This effects India in terms of missed deadlines, greater expense and harms

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March 9, 2009 | An Empty Special Relationship

Gordon Brown, like several of his predecessors, is incapable of admitting how unbalanced the UK’s special relationship with the US really is.++ But has it ever been a relationship amongst equals? ++ Even Churchill, who coined the phrase, was aware of how uneven the relationship was. ++ The disequilibrium reached its peak with Blair; his behavior towards the US highlighted “how much of a satellite

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March 5, 2009 | Obama Sets Out to Make New Friends

Obama decided to send two high level US officials to visit Syria and participate in “preliminary conversations.” ++ The decision is a complete shift from the Bush attitude. ++ It comes as a pleasant surprise to those who believe that the US should support Syria-Israel talks and use it as a stabilizer in the region, luring Syria away from Iran and into American arms. ++ Syria is also

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February 25, 2009 | The International Community to the Rescue

Peace in Gaza should be brought about by the international community. ++ Great idea, but opposition from the Israeli government and Hamas are difficult obstacles to overcome. ++ There are therefore two options left: the international community should provide humanitarian relief in cooperation with Hamas, or it should focus on “genuine Palestinian reconciliation.” ++ The latter

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February 23, 2009 | The Paradox of Jews Living in Peace in Iran

There are many paradoxes that characterize Iran, and here comes another one. ++ The Iranian-Jewish community lives in peace in Iran and Iranian tolerance towards the community reveals a lot about “its sophistication and culture.” ++ The community keeps in touch with its Jewish roots but at the same time criticizes Israeli atrocities — such as Gaza — and complains about the

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February 13, 2009 | Israel: Two Winners in Rotation?

Livni and Netayahu are like Schröder and Merkel, but may go another way. ++ Both “have won,” Livni with the largest party, Netanyahu due to the strength of the right. ++ Lieberman, leader of the secular far right, could deal with Livni at the expense of the Ministry of Defense. ++ Pres. Peres might tell the “winners” to form a rotational coalition, with two years as PM each. ++ This has

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February 10, 2009 | "Iran's New Satellite Challenges China"

Iran celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Republic by launching a satellite (Omid) into space. ++ While the world over criticized this move, China’s awkward silence has been stirring suspicion. ++ Let’s not forget that Iran participated in the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization and that the Chinese Great Wall Industry Corp has been punished by the US for selling

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February 9, 2009 | Advocate For More War

Netanyahu aims to be Israel’s PM on the promise of more war: “we must smash Hamas power in Gaza.” ++ This attitude would complicate Obama’s policy of using diplomacy to address ME conflicts. ++ While US concerns are not ungrounded — during his last term in office, Netanyahu’s sheer stubbornness suffocated the Oslo accords— this time might be different. ++ He spoke of a

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February 2, 2009 | Personal Chemistry No Solution to US-Israeli Division

The Netanyahu-Clinton relationship in 1996-99 was seen as a clash of personalities. ++ Clinton campaigned for Peres, and Netanyahu retaliated, supporting Christian conservatives in the US. ++ All this affects the elections in Israel, with Livni pushing a line that she would be better for talking to Obama. ++ But the clash was mainly on politics, and the gap between Israeli and US policies will

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January 26, 2009 | Oxfam and Other Charities Guilty of Anti-Israelism

Mark Thomson, DG of the BBC, has refused to broadcast the appeal of Disaster Emergency Committee for aid for Gaza, fearing that it would ruin the corporation’s impartiality. ++ The BBC itself is actually a clear pro-Palestinian institution but several of the charities that make up the DEC, Oxfam among others, are strongly anti-Israeli and guilty of “gross ideological bias.” ++ “Violence against

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January 22, 2009 | Solution Lies In "Isratine"

As difficult as it might be to believe in view of the events of the last decades and the recent activity in Gaza, hatred between Jews and Muslim is a recent phenomenon. ++ Both descendents from Abraham, they not only coexisted but due to their cruel history of repeated persecution frequently “found refuge with one another.” ++ Thus, long lasting peace is not unreachable but may only be possible

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January 21, 2009 | Europe Responsible For War in the Middle East

Is the massive reconstruction aid currently being sent by Europe to the Middle East mere compensation for having been unable to prevent the recent Gaza War? ++ If the Palestinians lived in their own state, they wouldn’t need humanitarian aid. ++ “By not recognizing a freely elected Palestinian government, Europe has actively undermined the creation of one.” ++ Preventing the Palestinian people

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January 19, 2009 | Peace in Gaza?

After 22 days of conflict in Gaza the much desired ceasefire has been reached. ++ In no way, however, does this ceasefire preface peace, as the core sources of the problem have not been addressed: Hamas is still dominant in Gaza and the various crossings are still barred. ++ Indeed, this conflict may give birth to more fighting as it has upset power relations among Middle Eastern states. ++

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January 15, 2009 | Egypt and Syria: Power Struggle Via Gaza

The struggle between Egypt and Syria over their respective negotiations with Hamas demonstrate power politics in the Arab world for hegemony in the Middle East. ++ With Egypt stand western-leaning allies Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and behind Syria are Qatar, Yemen and Algeria as well as Iran, who supports Hamas and Hizbollah. ++ Meanwhile, the Quartet is unlikely to dismiss their criteria for

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January 14, 2009 | Peace Talks With Hamas? An Illusion

Another war in the Middle East and the same question re-emerges: To what extent should Hamas be engaged in peace talks? ++ The answer is none. ++ No discussions can be held with a group which - despite differences - views Hezbollah as a role model and firmly believes Jews are “a cosmological evil” and that “God is opposed to a Jewish State in Palestine.” ++ On the contrary, if there is a tiny

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January 13, 2009 | Obama's Middle East Team

Despite the war in Gaza signaling the need for an urgent change in US policy in the Middle East, Obama’s Middle East team made up of “liberal, Jewish (or half-Jewish) males’’ does not meet the cultural diversity needed for new thinking to emerge. ++ Change cannot wait any longer as rage against Israel is translated to rage against the US and stirs up the fury of the Arab

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January 12, 2009 | Overactive, Mr Sarkozy?

Taking office upon a promise of “a rupture” with French national and foreign policy, Nicolas Sarkozy differentiates himself from his predecessors through the active role he assumes in the international arena. ++ The current crisis in Gaza is a crisis which may well “measure up to Sarkozy’s metabolism.” ++ His different approach towards the US and Israel — he publicly stated that he

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January 12, 2009 | Failures of Statecraft: Bush and the Middle East

A series of failures during the eight-year Bush administration are culminating in the current Gaza war. ++ Bush failed to capitalize on Arafat’s nationalistic and peace making potential; he then shunned Iran despite vital intelligence aid during the Afghan war. ++ Furthermore, “Bush insisted on holding Palestinian elections in January 2006,” resulting in a Hamas victory; militarily backing

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January 9, 2009 | In Spite of Defiance, Hamas Faces Defeat

Hamas will not receive expected support from Hezbollah. ++ Palestinians have often been instigated to fight by others promising support, only to be left alone. ++ The relative accuracy of Israel’s bombings shows intelligence from within Gaza, from paid informers but also those opposing Hamas. ++ 50 Fatah-supporters were tortured by Hamas last week. ++ The war cannot change the regime in Gaza, but

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January 8, 2009 | Palestinians Must Strategize Media Campaign

Palestinians in Gaza need international support to protect their rights and lives. ++ This support is won through media campaigns, and the Palestinians and Hamas are losing. ++ Hamas’s aggressive rhetoric consistently plays into Israel’s hand: warning that Gaza would be a “graveyard” for Israeli soldiers and talk of killing Jewish children all support Israel’s claimed “security concerns.” ++

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January 6, 2009 | UN Must Condemn Palestinian Abuse of Civilians

Palestine’s exploitation of its refugees and use of children as human shields are among the most shameful practices in the Israel-Palestine conflict. ++ The international community has for years sustained these abuses: the UNRWA perpetuates the misery of Palestinian refugees, doing nothing to dismantle camps or help them rebuild their lives, acting as “facilitator for the

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January 5, 2009 | Three-State Solution Ought to be Considered

The war in Gaza is evidence that the current governance paradigm has failed the Palestinian people. ++ It is bizarre that a two-state solution continues to be advocated; “instead, we should look to a three-state approach, where Gaza is returned to Egyptian control and the West Bank in some configuration reverts to Jordanian sovereignty.” ++ The suboptimal character of this solution is clear, as

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January 5, 2009 | Israel Must Acknowledge Futility of War On Terror

Israel, America’s protegée, assigns positive value to the policy of the war on terror. ++ Israeli FM Livni has said the country is “part of the free world and fights extremism and terrorism […] you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists.” ++ At a time when the war on terror is labeled as America’s gravest foreign policy mistake and the world condemns the

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January 5, 2009 | Bush: Packing His Bags

President Bush appears comfortable with his legacy. ++ This includes the battle against Islamist terrorists, his executive order in support of faith-based initiatives, and an unsuccessful drive to reform Social Security - however, Bush notes that his efforts made it “politically safe to campaign on changing Social Security and then actually seek to change it.” ++ Bush also noted the importance of

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December 17, 2008 | Turkey Knows How to Mediate In the Middle East

Over the last year Turkey has accomplished more in the Middle East than the entire transatlantic contingent. ++ Last week Erdogan negotiated with the Afghan and Pakistani presidents over economic projects, in which both countries are interested. ++ The Turkish Parliament is not only preparing further projects in the Gaza strip, but is also promoting talks between Israel and Syria regarding the

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December 10, 2008 | The Opportunity for Human Rights

Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo lost the US its position as champion of human rights. ++ As a result, democracy and rights activists face a global backlash. ++ Obama can close Guantanamo and stop torture by executive order. ++ The US undermined the rule of law in Pakistan with Musharraf, and must now help those who would restore it. ++ Activists in Egypt need help, and the Israel-Palestine conflict

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December 3, 2008 | "Try Tough Love, Hillary"

In view of the upcoming Israeli elections next year, PM Olmert has stated that disputes with Palestine and Syria need to be settled by giving up parts of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. ++ In return, Palestine must compromise on the right to return to a “new viable Palestine” and must be willing to renounce terrorism. ++ A two-state deal close to the 1967 borders will not be accomplished without

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November 26, 2008 | Syrian-Isreali Peace is the Key to Success

Instead of focusing on an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement, Obama should invest in Israeli-Syrian negotiations. ++ Talks between Syria and Israel will focus on “withdrawal, peace, security and water - and the gaps are clear and ready to be bridged.” ++ Cementing such a deal would restructure the whole region in favor of US interests, giving Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran less options.

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November 25, 2008 | Solving the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

Obama’s administration should continue President Bush’s efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. ++ The US could benefit from such a solution by regaining Arab governments support in dealing with regional challenges. ++ President-elect Obama should push for “1967 borders, with reciprocal and agreed-upon modifications; compensation in lieu of the right of return for

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November 3, 2008 | No Deal in Sight Between the EU and Syria

Last week, the EU held talks with Syria, but refused to set a date for signing a partnership agreement. ++ After multiple attempts to please the EU, Syria is vexed by what it saw as European inflexibility; however, Syria has made little improvements on its human rights record, a requirement for the deal. ++ In result, it has turned to Asia and Latin America in search of friends, but trade with

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October 28, 2008 | Syria: Taking First Steps Toward Indirect Talks

The Syrian leadership has denounced attacks carried out by US forces near its Iraqi border. ++ Syria, however, is known for sponsoring attacks on its neighboring countries. ++ The “US is no longer prepared to respect the sovereignty of a criminal regime.” ++ The Syrian government has taken steps to participate in indirect talks with Israel and has “granted Lebanon diplomatic recognition.” ++ The

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October 15, 2008 | Europe on Deck In Palestine

Europe is showing willingness to take greater part in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but willingness isn’t readiness. ++ The EU must first stop treating Israel with sensitivity, while simply treating Palestine like a poor country. ++ Israel shuns EU involvement, claiming Europe is soft on terror and rampant with anti-Semitism; thus, its role has always been defined by the US and Israel.

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October 7, 2008 | "Israel and Iran Have Much in Common"

On Israel’s 60th anniversary and the Islamic revolution’s 30th, both countries are actually more similar than one may think. ++ Israel fears a loss of power from shifting demographics, and similarly Iranian conservatives fear losing power to supporters of former president Mohammad Khatami. ++ Both countries also feel isolated: Israel, a Jewish state in an Arab region, and Iran, a Shiite state

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October 2, 2008 | Economic Crisis Provides Cover for Military Blunders

By odd coincidence, or perhaps providence, $700bn is roughly the same amount of money squandered on Bush’s “preposterous war in Iraq.” ++ Ironically, the greatest economic crises since the great depression means Obama and McCain won’t have to discuss the “greatest military crisis in America’s history since Vietnam.” ++ This has provided the cover for a strange narrative developing in the US:

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September 30, 2008 | McCain's Policies Favor Israel

McCain’s perception of the Middle East conflict deems Israel a critical ally. ++ McCain accepts the military facet of the conflict, while Obama considers diplomacy the tool to triumph over a minority of Islamic extremists. ++ The root cause of Islamic terrorism is also disputed: McCain believes it is an ideological conflict, and Obama assumes that it is driven by poverty and despair. ++ Obama

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September 29, 2008 | Livni's Election may Further Peace Process

Tzipora Livni is the newly elected leader of the Kadima party and may become Israel’s prime minister. ++ She represents those who favor a two-state solution instead of a Greater Israel, because they just want to live safely. ++ It is likely that she would negotiate “with pragmatic Palestinians and offer them full sovereignty in exchange for full peace.” ++ If Livni wins the elections and

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September 25, 2008 | UN Should Further One-State Solution

The peace process based on the two-state solution is stagnant and one alternative which is increasingly popular among Palestinians and some Israelis is an unitary state, providing both parties equal rights. ++ Abbas and Bush still support the two-state solution, but they are on the wrong track. ++ It is up to the UN to act, but the one-state proposal can only be discussed at the organisation if

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September 23, 2008 | "A Peace From the Bottom Up"

The Bush administration’s attempt at reconciling the Palestinian problem has been a dismal failure. ++ The peace process is unlikely to restart anytime soon; a plethora of elections, scandals, and spoilers will preclude a substantive, top-down agreement from taking shape. ++ A different approach is needed – one that works towards the “construction of a healthy and vibrant

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September 16, 2008 | Brewing Palestinian Crisis, Rice's Attention Elsewhere

Negotiations are in limbo as Palestinians and Israelis attempt to endure their respective political transformations at home and in the US. ++ Mahmoud Abbas’ presidential term is set to expire in January, but presidential elections are not scheduled until a year later. ++ The result will either be a legitimacy gap for Abbas or an ensuing power vacuum. ++ Hamas is looking to exploit this

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September 11, 2008 | Do Not Ask If but When Israel Strikes Iran

Israel is known for not tolerating a deadly threat, and so it is only a matter of time before it strikes Iran. ++ The international community failed to pressure Iran, as it did not block the Strait of Hormuz thereby harming Iran’s oil-based economy. ++ This option would have had a negative impact on the oil market in the short run, but could have averted a new war. ++ The outcome of the elections

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August 28, 2008 | Palestinians Should Challenge Hamas, not Israel

It is the Hamas’s illegitimate rule that prevents progress between Israel and the Palestinians, not Israel itself. ++ However, Palestinian protesters stick to the anti-Israel dogma and do not question the extremists’ destructiveness even though they need to ask Israel more and more often for help. ++ Therefore, “it is time to realize that bashing Israel will not build Palestine.” ++

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August 27, 2008 | EU Must be Interim Supervisor for the Middle East

Before the new US administration is approved and in full operation, there will be a pause in early 2009 in US involvement in the Middle East. ++ Even though EU cannot complete the job for the US, it can act as a trustee to keep the peace processes alive. ++ EU should offer Javier Solana as an interim mediator for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. ++ As an active trustee, the EU could show its

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August 22, 2008 | An Attack on Iran Would Backfire

A strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, whether by the US or Israel, is a disastrous idea. ++ If Iran is attacked oil prices may rise to $200 a barrel which would be a hard hit for the global economy. ++ Iranian nuclear facilities are too widely dispersed to be fully destroyed by warplanes, which means an attack would only delay the progress towards getting a bomb; it is also likely to harden

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August 18, 2008 | Burnish Legacies with Intensive Peace Effort

There is a wide gap between declarations that a two-state solution is vital for Israel’s security, and actually doing something about it. ++ Both Olmert and Bush have a few months left in offices: they will not go down in history as great leaders, but can still burnish their legacies by truly engaging in the peace effort. ++ They should freeze the expansion of Jewish settlements, cease

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August 8, 2008 | Palestinian Civil Society is the Key to Peace

Regarding the issue of Palestine, Israel, the US, and the free world overemphasized the aim to have a strong partner in the peace process, and in doing so even supported corrupt and violent leaders. ++ But the path towards peace must pursue a radically different approach and must be linked to strengthening Palestinian civil society and the rule of law in the Palestinian territories. ++ The

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August 6, 2008 | New Sect Widens Palestinian Dispute

As the chasm between Hamas and Fatah appears to widen, another organisation called Hizb ut-Tahrir emerges. ++ It has the aim to reestablish an Islamic Caliphate to govern the whole Muslim world under Islamic law, but opposes the use of violence and tries to gain supporters through education instead. ++ Even if Hizb ut-Tahrir does not stand in elections yet and is opposed by Fatah in the West

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August 1, 2008 | Olmert's Resignation Will Disrupt Peace Talks

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert unexpectedly announced he will resign from his post in September. ++ The decision was a result of corruption accusations which made it increasingly difficult for him to fulfil his duties and prompted calls for his resignation. ++ The US State Department declares his departure will not affect American efforts to schedule some kind of peace agreement with PA by

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July 28, 2008 | Israel is Likely to Follow US Lead on Iran

Israel faces a dilemma: If European diplomacy fails to halt Iran’s uranium enrichment program and Americans prove reluctant to launch another war in the Middle East under Bush, should Israel strike alone? ++ An attack could dangerously unite Iranians behind their president and influence the presidential race in the US. ++ But Israeli leaders believe in an emergency - estimates suggest Iran could

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July 25, 2008 | A One-State Solution for Israel and Palestine

Some scholars recently advocated a single-state solution, based on the idea of justice, during a public debate. ++ The delivery of justice would require conditions in which Palestinians could lead normal lives in their homeland. ++ But the realization of such an idea would mean the end of the Zionist project. ++ Moreover, it would require of Israeli society to face its heterogeneous character

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July 21, 2008 | Al-Qaeda in Israel

For the first time, Israelis have been arrested because it is believed that they were members of al Qaeda. ++ Scientists now discuss whether al Qaeda has become a loosely organized network or whether it still has a strong leadership. ++ The crucial role of bin Laden is out of question. ++ Nonetheless, the network has branches throughout the Middle East which are in contact with the center, but

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July 15, 2008 | US Should Help Israel if it Strikes Iran

The situation in the Middle East is past the point when sanctions and diplomatic talks can still make a difference. ++ The Islamic Republic is not going to yield, it is simply playing for time while trying to produce deliverable nuclear weapons. ++ Instead of insisting on the measures which apparently do not work, the US should consider helping Israel if it decides to strike Iran or at least not

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July 11, 2008 | Demonizing Iran Does Not Serve the West

The West is more concerned about who proliferates than whether someone degradates the Non-Proliferation Treaty. ++ A manageable relationship with Iran requires understanding its world view and equally and respectfully acknowledging its interests. ++ Security rewards should replace sanctions: Israel could for instance be warned “that any unilateral attack on Iran would force the US to reconsider

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July 10, 2008 | Iran's Hard-and-Soft Foreign Policy

Iranian diplomacy reflects pride, self-confidence, and a decreasing fear of the US and Israel. ++ Whereas Tehran’s hard-liners are using the argument of Western weakness to justify their rejection of compromise, pragmatic voices believe it is time for Iran to negotiate and “consolidate its gains.” ++ At present, Iran’s course is unclear: “even as they talk about diplomacy, the Iranians continue

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July 8, 2008 | Global Nonpolarity: A New World Order

Globalization means that international affairs no longer occur in a bipolar, unipolar, or even multipolar world, but rather “under conditions of nonpolarity.” ++ In this nonpolar world, coordination between actors is increasingly difficult, and agreements are rarely reached. ++ The problem of Iran, currently Israel’s top concern, will unlikely motivate the international community to act in

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July 1, 2008 | Israel Progresses Despite, Not Because of US Absence

By launching diplomatic initiatives with Hamas, Syria, and Lebanon, Ehud Olmert has demonstrated his readiness to take risks and his unwillingness to be constrained by “Washington’s indeological blinders.” ++ Yet because of the weakness and the mutual distrust of leaders in the Middle East, US support and involvement would be a real asset. ++ Israel has shown it can pursue negotiations “despite

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July 1, 2008 | Israel Threatens to Attack Iran

Israeli government claims the extent of the Iranian threat is being underplayed and that no diplomatic pressure can prevent Iranians getting nuclear weapons. ++ Shaul Mofaz, member of Israel’s security cabinet, announced last week that “attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable.” ++ Despite Israel’s skepticism, the only solution is diplomacy and sanctions. ++ Present

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June 26, 2008 | A Palestinian State From the Bottom up

Representatives at the Berlin Middle East Conference reaffirmed their commitment to the US-initiated peace process in Annapolis. ++ Yet the approach has been changed. ++ The creation of an efficient security mechanism aims at setting the preconditions for the Annapolis “two-state solution.” ++ A major investment in the Palestinian police and judicial structures would enable the creation of a

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June 26, 2008 | West Must Prevent Israel Attacking Iran

Despite positive developments between Israel and many of its adjacent neighbors, the increasing frequency with which Israel speaks of attacking Iran must not be ignored by the West. ++ Israel either truly plans to attack and “is preparing the ground, militarily and politically,” or it is trying to “spur the rest of the world into action.” ++ The West must act now, before Israel does anything that

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June 23, 2008 | India Foresees Collective Security in the Middle East

Coercive diplomacy is America’s only remaining option as its influence declines in the Middle East. ++ Especially in the case of an Obama presidency, this “changed constellation” in the region calls for India to readjust its strategy. ++ India needs to balance Israel and Syria, and constructively engage Iran. ++ Like China, India should acknowledge the region’s importance for its own energy

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June 19, 2008 | The Paradox of Middle East Moderates

The guiding idea that empowering moderates in the Middle East will squelch the appeal of radicals is faulty reasoning. ++ First of all, defining a “moderate” is impossible. ++ A social “moderate” in Egypt, for example, calls for less religion in society, but condones suicide bombings as a legitimate means of diplomacy. ++ Secondly, the record has shown that moderates do

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June 16, 2008 | Israeli-Syrian Peace Could Stabilize Middle East

Today, a Syrian-Israeli peace, which would enable Syria to recover the Golan Heights and protect the country’s interests in Lebanon, is complicated by Syria’s alliance with Iran. ++ Yet if Syria achieves peace with Israel, its good relations to Iran could turn out to be a good thing. ++ “Syria’s stance might limit, rather than extend, the reach of Iran’s strategy of regional destabilization.” ++

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June 11, 2008 | Upholding Sanctions Against Military Action

Attacking Iran would be disastrous, many civilians would die, the nuclear program would subsist, and Israel’s involvement would create a serious backlash in the region. ++ Iran’s threats toward Israel give reason for concern but sanctions and diplomatic incentives - both endorsed by Obama and McCain - should be favored over military action. ++ If the UN does not authorize applying punitive

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June 6, 2008 | US Must Engage Syria Diplomatically

US cooperation with Syria - “not based on shared values, but shared interests” - should replace the policy of non-engagement to support Israel, isolate Iran, and ameliorate the situation in Iraq. ++ Waiving economic sanctions against Syria could provide huge leverage when addressing issues such as Lebanon’s right to sovereignty, Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations, and

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June 3, 2008 | US Marginalized by its Own Policy in the Middle East

The recent easing of tensions in the Middle East, which is occurring without US mediation, reveals America’s loss of credibility and leverage. ++ Indeed, negotiations are taking place with groups and authorities the US boycotts - Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah. ++ Yet these are the only stakeholders that can offer Lebanon and Israel the compromises they really want. ++ The US has marginalized

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May 29, 2008 | Palestinian Concerns Over Syrian-Israeli Negotiations

Although the recent negotiations between Israel and Syria give an encouraging push to the peace process in the Middle East, some Palestinian faction leaders and analysts expressed concerns about this issue. ++ They believe that focusing on an Israel-Syria peace track would have a negative impact on both direct talks with the Palestinian National Authority and indirect talks with the Islamic Hamas

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May 27, 2008 | Iranian Threat: 5 Minutes to Midnight

Failed US foreign policy pushed Iran into a hegemonic role it never could have attained under its own power and in such a short time. ++ Iran’s nuclear program threatens to tilt the regional strategic balance enduringly. ++ It is very likely that the US and Israel will solve this problem before Bush steps down. ++ “Iran’s nuclear program will be handled militarily, not

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May 27, 2008 | US Losing Ground in Middle East Power Game

The Qatari-brokered power sharing agreement between Lebanon’s feuding political factions puts into perspective the new Middle East power equation, in which the US is no longer a dominant factor and the rules are now being written by regional players. ++ The accord will succeed, precisely because it is grounded in realism and ignores idealistic and unreasonable American demands. ++ Even Israel,

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May 21, 2008 | America's Paralysis in the Face of "Hezbullahization"

At the Knesset plenum, Bush’s declarations regarding America’s political and military commitment to Israel’s defense were most promising. ++ Yet the Hezbollah’s recent take over of Lebanon was met with absolute silence on behalf of the US and its Allies. ++ “America is tired, emasculated, and torn on the inside. It can only provide its protectorates in the Middle East with words.” ++ Since the US

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May 15, 2008 | Bush's Failed Policy in the Middle East

During his last Middle East Tour, President Bush will have to accept the failure of his policies in the region. ++ Since Bush undertook to revive peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians at Annapolis in late 2007, no progress has been made. ++ The American hope for a Palestinian-Israeli agreement before the end of the year seems illusory. ++ The positions of Israeli negotiators

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May 15, 2008 | Obama's Middle East Will be Business as Usual

Obama advocates leading open and direct negotiations with everyone, from Iran to Cuba. ++ His opposition to the Iraq war, his rational stance on Iran, and his “understanding of US imperialism” suggest he will reshape American foreign policy. ++ Yet Obama’s readiness to compromise does not apply to the Middle East. ++ Since Obama’s presidency would provide for high expectations, the predictable

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May 8, 2008 | Israel at 60, and Beyond

In a sort of ‘State of the Union’ address, the Jerusalem Post marks the 60th anniversary with the struggles, triumphs, and miracles that have brought about the first geographically defined Jewish civilization since millennia. ++ Accompanying these successes are, however, huge challenges for the next 60 years. ++ Israel struggles with its own definition of Jewishness, religious

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May 8, 2008 | Carter Accuses Israel of Human Rights Violations

After a research visit to Israel, former US President Jimmy Carter implores the international community to condemn Israel for what he considers “terrorism” against Palestinians. ++ Recent strikes against civilians, massive plans for Israeli housing projects in Palestine, and increasing roadblocks on the West Bank suggest that Israel is not holding up its end of the peace process

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May 7, 2008 | Bleak Prospects for Peace in the Middle East

Decades of conflict have created economic, demographic, and political conditions that are compromising achieving peace in the Middle East. ++ Disincentives for the creation of two states are proving stronger than the rationale for peace. ++ Palestinians’ animosity toward Israel, their scarring experience of war and violence, the influence of Islamic groups, and the ever blurrier ethnic and

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May 6, 2008 | The Threat of the New Middle East

The old Middle East and the secular nationalism that went along with it is being replaced by a new, modern Middle East in which political Islam and anti-Western nationalism play a decisive role. ++ There is now a serious threat of “a confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia for sub-regional supremacy, and between Iran and the US for regional hegemony.” ++ The entire state system in the

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April 30, 2008 | Negotiation Over Isolation

Policy in Washington favors punishing and boycotting governments and political factions who do not adhere to US mandates. ++ This approach gives leaders little incentive to moderate their policies. ++ “In the Middle East, as in Nepal, the path to peace lies in negotiation, not in isolation.” ++ Recently, after discussions with Jimmy Carter, Hamas leaders made progress towards enhancing the

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April 30, 2008 | Israel: Peace at Home Vital for Regional Stability

Israel’s amazing development over the last 60 years into a regional leader necessitates ending the conflict at home. ++ A strategic alliance with moderate Sunni Arabs in the Middle East is contingent upon Israel’s ability to live peacefully alongside a Palestinian state. ++ At the same time, Palestine must accept and respect its Israeli neighbors. ++ Only in this manner will the

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April 22, 2008 | Improving America's Image in the Arab World

Recent Arab public opinion polls confirm a “gap between the aims of American policies and Arab public perceptions of the US.” ++ They also highlight that the US could improve its image by brokering peace between Palestine and Israel and by withdrawing from Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula. ++ While US policies are clearly opposed, middle ground could be found regarding democratic values and

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March 31, 2008 | Getting the US out of Iraq is the Smart Thing to Do

US disengagement in Iraq will increase long term stability in the region. ++ Al-Qaeda is not behind most of the insurgency. ++ Disengagement should include serious dialogues with Iraqi leaders and those of neighboring areas, including Iran. ++ Overall goal of US strategy should be to stabilize the Middle East by ending the war in Iraq, negotiating with Iran, and leading Israel and Palestine to

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March 27, 2008 | Russia is an Offender in the Nuclear Arms Race

Israel’s legitimate nuclear program is not a valuable excuse for Russia to jeopardize international security by supplying a reactor to Iran and by agreeing on nuclear cooperation with
Egypt. ++ The international community should strive to prevent unstable democracies from acquiring nuclear weapons, acknowledge that Iran is not just a threat to Israel but to the world, and hold Russia

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March 18, 2008 | Germany's Position on Iran is Crucial

During Merkel’s visit, Israel needs to clarify that Germany must support tougher sanctions, break diplomatic ties, and end governmental trade subsidies with Iran. ++ Brown and Sarkozy are already supportive of more restrictive sanctions, but if Germany remains indecisive, effective action against Iran will be impossible. ++ Israel only further endangers itself claiming that Germany is doing

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March 13, 2008 | Israel: Make Peace with Syria, Palestine Will Follow

Eventually the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be settled by the formation of two states. ++ Bringing Hamas into negotiations is one option to speed up process. ++ Making peace first with Syria would end confrontation with Hizbullah and Hamas, and create settlement with Palestinians. ++ The biggest obstacle towards a peaceful resolution is the Bush administration, which refuses to allow talks

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March 11, 2008 | Creating the Conditions for Negotiations and Peace

Given the current logic of violent retaliation which dominates actions of the weak and divided political systems in Palestine and Israel, there is no foreseeable end to the conflict. ++ Yet if an end to the strangulation of Gaza, a cease-fire with Hamas, and security cooperation with Egypt and Abbas are achieved and followed by democratic elections, most Israelis will show moral commitment to

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March 5, 2008 | The Palestinian Authority Deserves Israeli Cooperation

West Bank NGOs that channeled funds to Hamas have been brought under supervision, Hamas groups have been disarmed, and the Palestinian Authority has neutralized hundreds of radicals. ++ In return, Israel needs to remove settlements, checkpoints, and roadblocks in the West Bank. ++ This would help solve Israel’s security problems and allow for the improvement of the lives of Palestinians.

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February 25, 2008 | Europe and Annapolis: A Focused Agenda

Failure to make the most of the Annapolis process would be fatal for both Israel and the international community. ++ The US needs to be “the major responsible supervisor of the negotiation process.” ++ The EU must move beyond its traditional role of paymaster and focus on state building and economic reconstruction in Palestine. ++ The EU must simultaneously demand concrete results from other

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January 18, 2008 | Bush's Middle East Tour

In his visit to the Middle East, President George W. Bush, in an unusual note of diplomatic urgency, has insisted that Israel and the Palestinians conclude a peace accord before he leaves office in early 2009. Speaking with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders six weeks after hosting a conference in Annapolis, Bush tried to force the change that has yet failed to materialise on the ground.
In

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November 29, 2007 | Restrain, Modesty, and Multilateralism: A New American Grand Strategy

The last 16 years provide valuable hindsight into the grand strategic approach of the United States and highlight the need to reshape American foreign policy around the principle of restraint, argues Barry R. Posen, director of the security studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Writing for the American Interest, he points out that US policy makers have struggled to

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October 29, 2007 | Route to Success in Annapolis

Henry A. Kissinger dampens hopes on the outcome of the meeting on the Palestinian peace process in Annapolis. Even if parties manage to agree on the Taba Plan of 2000—essentially Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders—the implementation remains uncertain. Israeli and Palestinian interlocutors have shaky domestic positions. Additionally, it needs to be clarified what the willingness by several

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September 21, 2007 | Israel's Air Force Raid on Syria. Its Silence. And What It All Means.

Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens breaks down the intrigue surrounding Israel’s military operations over Syria on September 6. “In a country of open secrets,” Israel’s customary fleet of spokesmen and pundits has remained conspicuously silent, says Stephens. But why? None of the explanations circulating in the news media—the theory that North Korea was using Syria as a safe

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June 19, 2007 | Yossi Mekelberg on Open Deterrence Against Iran Israel's New Old Option

Yossi Mekelberg, Associate Fellow at Chatham House, analyzes Israeli policy options towards Iran and potential consequences.

Though Israel would prefer that issues with Tehran be resolved diplomatically through the international community, it perceives Iran’s nuclear ambitions as an existential threat and cannot rule out the military option.

However, Menkelberg argues that military

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June 11, 2007 | Sarkozy and the Arab world: French policy at the crossroads?

New French president Nicolas Sarkozy could initiate a historic shift in French Middle East policy, says Pascal Boniface, director of the IRIS Institute for International and Strategic Relations.

For forty years, French policy has been viewed as pro-Arab, an approach which has been attributed to French commercial interests and a large Muslim population. According to Boniface, however,

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April 12, 2007 | Yaakov Amidror Warns Israel's Defeat in Lebanon Will Come Back to Haunt Them

Since Israel failed to declare victory in the 2006 war in Lebanon, the Shi’a axis (Iran-Syria-Hezbollah) has only grown stronger and will continue to do so once the US withdraws its troops from Iraq, or Iran builds a nuclear warhead. So writes Yaakov Amidror of the Israeli Army in his account of the outcome of the war. Despite religious conflict with Sunni countries in the region, the revitalized

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Comments

October 4, 2011 | Mr. Bunnik, Developments since the...

September 24, 2011 | "Physical damage and real kinetic...

September 11, 2011 | Mr. Anzinger, I would find your...

August 30, 2011 | Mr Taylor makes much of the need for Turkey to...

August 23, 2011 | Saba, thanks very much for writing on this...

April 13, 2011 | Here's a suggestion: enforce a no-fly-zone...

July 20, 2010 | Although the AKP's behaviour towards Israel is...

June 13, 2010 | Samir, You are obviously biased and highly...

June 9, 2010 | Question for Mr. Lucke regarding potential...

June 4, 2010 | The Gaza Flotilla is a model example of...

October 20, 2009 | From my point of view Iran has the same right...

March 10, 2009 | Thank you all for your insightful comments...

January 14, 2009 | A sustainable solution needs to be found....

January 14, 2009 | Dear Mr. Swierczynski (or Marek, if I...

January 11, 2009 | In a mammoth piece of journalism the NYT...

December 31, 2008 | GAZA WAR: COULD BALKAN HISTORY SHOW WAY...

November 5, 2008 | The world has forgotten...

November 5, 2008 | Dear Mr. Petek I completly agree with you...

May 26, 2008 | One technical remark. The Author claims that...

February 25, 2008 | I agree the EU should take a larger role in...

February 8, 2008 | Dear Ms. Alizadeh, yes, of course Chinese...

February 6, 2008 | Two of your main arguments find my full...

June 15, 2007 | While I agree with the diagnostic part of the...

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