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  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The deadline has now passed for Ehud Barak to step aside in favor of rival Shimon Peres in Israel's prime ministerial face-off next Tuesday, February 6, against Likud leader MK Ariel Sharon. Analysts have already written off this election for Barak, as Sharon's lead in the polls has barely budged from a 16 to 20 point margin over the last two months. Given that Barak won a landslide victory by a 12.1 percent margin less than two years ago, the scope of his probable defeat is striking — perhaps the most lopsided electoral debacle since Menachem Begin's Herut lost to the Labor forerunner Mapai in 1959 by a margin of 24.7 percent. Barak's electoral free-fall is especially remarkable given that his opponent is someone long regarded as unelectable, due to his advanced age, right-wing political views, checkered past, and evident discomfort with the new media age. Nevertheless, Barak has pressed on, insisting that the real campaign has only just begun. His decision to stay in the race has heightened speculation that he may plan on joining a Sharon-led "national unity government," despite carefully worded protestations to the contrary.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Dore Gold
  • Publication Date: 01-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: February marks ten years since the end of the Gulf War. The situation in the Middle East today is vastly more dangerous than in 1991. The favorable regional conditions in 1991 that allowed the current peace process to begin have been reversed. Three key trends are the following: After Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War, it was placed under UN monitoring and extensive sanctions, thereby removing a major threat from Israel's calculus. Today, the situation is drastically different, with the absence of UN inspections for more than two years and the deterioration of sanctions against Iraq. In 1991, Iran was still recovering from its exhaustive war with Iraq and could not fully participate in regional, specifically Arab–Israeli, affairs. By contrast, Iran is currently testing intermediate-range missiles and is expressing its strategic weight in places like Lebanon, where it has increased its support to Hizballah. In 1991, the USSR was crumbling before its eventual collapse and was no longer in a position to offer strategic and military support to the enemies of Israel, while its successor — the Russian Federation — has more or less acquiesced to U.S. positions on the Middle East. Since 1996, however, Russia has taken a contrary approach to many U.S. policies and leadership in the region, in particular with regard to Iraqi sanctions and weapons inspections and the transfer of missile technology to Iran.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Israel last week launched an air raid against a Syrian radar station in Lebanon. The air raid has raised the stakes in the low-level military confrontation between Hizbollah and Israel. It has also exacerbated Lebanese internal divisions and exposed the lack of a national consensus on Hizbollah's cross-border operations. The Israeli raid has set a precedent and raised the stakes in Tel Aviv's confrontation with Hizbollah along the Lebanese border. Although neither Syria nor Israel is interested in a military confrontation, there are no guarantees that the situation will not spin out of control and lead to a limited regional conflict.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Jonathan G. Clarke
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The foreign policy record of the Clinton-Gore administration deserves a less than stellar grade. At the end of the Cold War, there was an extraordinary opportunity to build a new relationship with a democratic Russia; restructure U.S. security policy in both Europe and East Asia to reduce America's burdens and risk exposure; and revisit intractable Cold War–era problems, such as the frosty relations with Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea. The administration's performance must be judged within the context of such an unprecedented opportunity for constructive change.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Israel, East Asia, Asia, North Korea, Vietnam
  • Author: Zalman Shoval
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Ehud Barak's tenure started out with almost everything going his way. He had what was often, though misleadingly, described as a "landslide victory" in the 1999 elections (though, in truth, Jewish voters gave him only a slim 3.2 percent majority over Netanyahu - compared to the almost 12 percent margin by which Netanyahu had defeated Peres in the previous elections). Nonetheless, it is true that Barak achieved better electoral results than most other prime ministers in Israeli history. As a result, no Israeli prime minister in recent memory had begun his term with a greater degree of goodwill from different segments of the population - including many who had voted for the other candidate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Israel this week launched missile attacks against Palestinian security targets in Gaza in retaliation for the bombing of a school bus carrying settlers. Tel Aviv and Washington have blamed Palestinian National Authority President Yasser Arafat for the current crisis, saying he could reduce the violence. In fact, the uprising is a spontaneous revolt against the terms of the Oslo peace process. Far from being undermined by the crisis, Arafat is using it to maximise his political and diplomatic position in the event that negotiations resume. The crisis marks a decisive shift in the Palestinians' conditions for peace with Israel.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Christopher P. Hood
  • Publication Date: 11-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Ishihara Shintaro, known for his strong views particularly on Japan's relationship with the United States, became Governor of Tokyo on 11 April 1999. This paper considers the significance of his election, and whether it symbolizes a rise in nationalism in Japan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Israel, Tokyo
  • Author: Aharon Lopez
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: During the ceremony of the presentation of my credentials as the Ambassador of Israel to the Holy See on April 10, 1997, I told His Holiness that, actually, this was not my first connection with the Vatican. In fact, when I served as Ambassador of Israel to the Republic of Cyprus, in one of the ceremonies there, I was approached by the non-resident Ambassador of Outer Mongolia, who asked me whether I represented the Holy See in Cyprus. Of course I answered that I represented the State of Israel. Then, looking at my head, he remarked: "Oh, you are right, sir; now I can see the difference in the color!" Of course, he was referring to my skullcap.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel, Vatican city