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  • Author: Fuad Olajuwon
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: In recent news, North Korea has been the hot button issue with governments and bureaucrats alike. The geopolitical nature of the country leaves many world leaders apprehensive as to what will happen next. Recent missile tests conducted by Pyongyang as well as brazen rhetoric spouted by Kim Jong Un towards neighboring countries poses a threat as to what actions North Korea will take moving forward. While it’s interesting to note the movements of the country in question, the reaction of the other nations in the region have the potential to shift the geopolitical balance of power. So the questions remain the same; is North Korea an aggressive force that has the resources and capability to fracture East Asian relations? Or can countries use these events to craft a new reality to preserve the sanctity of their respective states?
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Jacopo Maria Pepe
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: China’s increased engagement in Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe has aroused concerns in Europe that China is pursuing a divisive strategy. Its primary goal, however, is to use the region as a gateway to Western Europe’s markets while including the EU in its own Eurasian integration project; in Beijing’s view, a robust regulatory EU is doubtless preferable to a fragmented Europe. China’s deepening involvement in the region could nevertheless increase economic divisions within the EU as whole. As a trade triangle emerges involving China, Germany, and the Visegrad states, the “German-Central European manufacturing core” potentially stands to gain at the expense of the EU’s Atlantic and southern European member states. Germany must address this risk with a triple strategy that balances national interest, EU cohesion, and engagement with China. This involves, first, working with the Visegrad Four, with other European countries, and with EU institutions to forge a deeper and more effective cooperation with China to enhance transport connectivity and economic modernization, particularly in the Western and Eastern Balkans. Second, Germany should increase pressure on China to open up the Chinese domestic market to ensure mutual access. And third, it should promote forward-looking European industrial policy centered on the digitalization of value and supply chains for Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe. This would allow Germany to prevent intra-European divisions from deepening, while taking advantage of its triangular relations with China and the countries of Central Europe and fostering mutually advantageous integration across Eurasia.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The sudden resignation of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri on October 4, 2017, may impose implications on the country’s economy, which showed signs of recovery over recent months. The recovery came on the heels of economic reforms introduced by the government and the parliament. The reforms, which included tax reforms and restructuring the oil industry, led to a rise in tourist arrivals and increasing confidence in the economy. The implications would hinge on how much time is need- ed to form a new government that would complete the economic measures initiated by its predecessor.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Iran appears to be trying to repeat its experience of establishing paramilitary militias, which started after the fall of Reza Shah Pahlavi’s regime in 1979. Yet, this time it is in neighboring countries. On Novem- ber 7 in Tehran, Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, urged the visiting Pakistani Chief of Army Staff , General Qamar Javed Bajwa to establish a Pakistani version of the Iranian Basij militia to back the regular army. He even said Iran was ready to o er its experience to the neighboring Pakistan, and showed o his country’s experience in Syria and Iraq. He further claimed that their previous experiences succeeded in achieving their goals. However, his assertion is not consistent with the realities on the ground, because Iranian-led militias have exacerbated regional crises and blocked efforts to reach settlements.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Raz Zimmt
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The new government proposed by President Hassan Rouhani is the first significant evidence of his intentions, priorities, and limits of power. While forming his government, the President was forced to balance the opposing forces in the Iranian political system. The composition of the government reflects his wish to avoid open conflict with the religious establishment, led by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and his intention to place the economic crisis at the top of his government's priorities, even at the expense of civic reforms. His decision to ignore calls for reforms and the failure to include women and minorities in the government have already sowed disappointment and drawn criticism from broad sections of the public that supported him in the last elections. However, public support depends to a large extent on actual policies and success in realizing promises, mainly in the area of the economy. Putting economic matters at the top of the agenda for his new government requires cooperation with other centers of power in Iran, above all, the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards. This means that with regard to foreign affairs and security issues no significant changes in Iranian policy are expected.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Emily Landau
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: While North Korea’s recent nuclear tests significantly raised the level of fear in the United States, they were not a surprise. North Korea, long a nuclear state, is a dangerous nuclear proliferator that has shirked international commitments. Pyongyang issues highly aggressive rhetoric toward the United States and its regional neighbors on a regular basis; it flaunts its nuclear capability and threatens to use it, and tends to share nonconventional know-how and technologies. And herein lies a link to Tehran: as Iran also remains motivated in the nuclear realm despite the JCPOA, the direct implications of North Korea's activities for Iran's nuclear program must be under constant scrutiny. The indirect implications for dealing with Iran's nuclear motivation invoke the ability to rely on negotiations to stop a determined proliferator. The North Korean case of failed negotiations must be heeded when thinking about Iran.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Amos Yadlin
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The crisis concerning the Temple Mount that erupted in July 2017 appears to have ebbed. Despite predictions to the contrary, the Middle East is not ablaze; peoples and leaders of the region remain preoccupied with other crises; and there is no third intifada at Israel’s doorstep. At the same time, the attack on the Temple Mount that left two Israeli policemen dead brought on serious additional consequences, including the murders in Halamish, the tension with Jordan, worsened relations between Israel’s Jewish population and its Arab sector, and further erosion of Israel’s vague sovereignty on the Temple Mount.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Daniel Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Jerusalem’s holy sites have a way of asserting strategic significance far beyond what their simple physical presence would suggest. Events in the aftermath of the shooting of two Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount highlight this truth. So it was with respect to the Kotel (Western Wall) a month earlier, albeit in a non- security context. Following the Israeli government’s decision to reverse course on an agreement with the liberal streams of Judaism and Diaspora representatives to establish a third section of the Kotel for egalitarian prayer, a crisis erupted that has called into question Israel’s very relationship with Diaspora communities, first and foremost the American Jewish community, which has been steadfast in its support of the US-Israel bilateral relationship. The sense of crisis was deepened further by a separate government decision to advance a law on conversion that could call into question the validity of conversions when Jews converted by Reform and Conservative rabbis overseas come to Israel.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Oded Eran
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The tension on the Temple Mount and the crisis between Israel and Jordan following the attack on a security guard at the Israeli embassy in Amman need more than ad hoc solutions that leave the basic situation unresolved and the strategic opportunities untapped. Israel would do well to seize the political and operational initiative before international and regional entities do, and propose, inter alia, an international meeting on steps that can prevent radical entities from violating freedom of worship and freedom of access to the Temple Mount, a site holy to both Judaism and Islam. The proposals on the Temple Mount issue relate to another key issue, namely, Israel’s response to key regional changes - the accelerated weakening of Arab political unity and the strengthening of the parties threatening the survival of the moderate Arab regimes.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Sima Shine, Raz Zimmt, Anna Catran
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The tension between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Revolutionary Guards that was evident during the presidential election campaign has intensified in recent weeks and evolved into a confrontation that is unprecedented in its openly severe nature. The current confrontation surrounds two main issues: Iran’s missile strike against Islamic State targets in Syria, and President Rouhani’s criticism of the Revolutionary Guards’ involvement in the economy.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Iran