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  • Author: Douglas A. Ollivant
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: American policy in the Middle East is based on outdated assumptions. There are at least four novel elements in or impacting the Middle East that require an adjustment in strategy: North American Oil Independence: The United States no longer relies on the Middle East for its supply of energy and could choose to act without that significant tie. Rise of China: The People’s Republic of China is now a near-peer to the United States and is taking steps to protect its own interests in the Middle East. Diminishing Conventional Threats to Israel: All conceivable regional enemies are now peace signatories, wrestling with internal instability, or both. Unconventional threats continue to challenge Israel’s security, but a ground invasion is now a remote possibility. Rise of Sub-State Actors: In addition to widely recognized terror and insurgent groups, other actors, such as financial firms, technology firms, and private military firms, interact with power that rivals that of weak states. These new factors—alone and in concert—make legacy strategies at least suboptimal, if not unsuitable. Today’s Middle East exhibits very different characteristics than that of the Middle East of the past century. An acceptable and suitable strategy must incorporate these new data points.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Oil, Non State Actors, Geopolitics, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Robert Greenway
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The Abraham Accords constitute the beginning of a transformation of a region that has confounded many, and that will continue to be a vital battleground astride the security and economic interests of world powers. American leadership was a necessary but alone insufficient condition to the emergence of this agreement. American leadership will remain essential to its growth and evolution. The alignment of our regional partners and allies in both economic and security domains will ensure that the agreement endures. It will also incentivize others to join us in pooling critical capacities to advance and defend mutual interests. This transformation serves to constrain Iran – the threat from which has been recognized as causal – even as it constrains the malign influence and predatory practices of China and Russia. They will continue to manufacture and exploit fissures among the U.S. and its regional partners if we fail to exploit the favorable shift in the region’s security and economic architecture. On the other hand, appropriate support will allow the Abraham Accords to advance and secure America’s interests with the use of significantly fewer resources and with more capable partners integrated as never before.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia is strengthening its relations with both the Palestinian Authority leadership and Hamas in Gaza Strip. It is part of Russia’s consistent strategy towards the Middle East to build a network of influence among regional actors and boost its image as an attractive political partner. In developing relations with the Palestinians, Russia exploits Israel’s sensitivity to Russian activity in Syria, poor relations between Palestine and the U.S., and the deadlock in the peace process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Hamas
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ilan Goldenberg, Nicholas Heras, Kaleigh Thomas, Jennie Matuschak
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and especially since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran has become highly proficient in using its surrogates and proxies across the Middle East as a tool to achieve its interests while avoiding direct conflict with the United States. Successive U.S. presidents have sought options for pushing back against this Iranian strategy but have struggled to find approaches that could deter Iran’s actions or degrade its capabilities. In most cases U.S. administrations have been hesitant to respond at all, for fear of starting a larger conflict. The recent killing of Qassim Soleimani represents the opposite problem, in which the United States and Iran came unnecessarily close to a much larger war. In contrast, Israel’s “campaign between the wars” (the Hebrew acronym is mabam) against Iran and Iranian-backed groups in Syria has been one of the most successful military efforts to push back against Iran in the “gray zone.” Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, and especially since early 2017, Israel has conducted more than 200 airstrikes inside Syria against more than 1,000 targets linked to Iran and it’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGCQF), and against IRGC-QF backed groups such as the Lebanese Hezbollah. This campaign has slowed Iran’s military buildup in Syria while avoiding a broader regional conflagration that would have been damaging to Israel’s interests.1 This study examines Israel’s mabam campaign and asks what lessons the United States can draw and how they may be applied to future U.S. actions in gray zone conflicts, both against Iran and more broadly.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Military Affairs, Conflict, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Syria
  • Author: Thair Abu Ras
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: This paper provides an historic overview of Israel's relationship with the Arab world followed by an in-depth review of cooperation between Arab states and Israel on solving and managing the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinian issue served to enable and limit relations between Israel and Arab states along the years. Reviving Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and improving the status of the Palestinians have been the central tenants of cooperation between Israel and Arab states. The Palestinian issue serves as a legitimizing factor for Israeli-Arab cooperation, and the occupation remains an obstacle to accomplishing regional stability. The Abraham Accords may intensify Israeli-Arab cooperation on the Palestinian issue, thus making the quest for a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian issue more central to Israel's regional foreign policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Conflict, Regional Integration, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Ksenia Svetlova, Mor Yahalom
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Cooperation can yield stability, continued development and strengthened ties between states. Broad, fruitful Israeli cooperation with Arab states will open many economic, security, intelligence, energy, tourism, and medical opportunities, with the potential for more to come. Therefore, this goal must be identified and pursued. This paper is intended to enrich the theoretical and practical knowledge of Israel’s regional cooperation and provide background for understanding and assessing the variety of existing practices that Israel employs, on the governmental level, to advance regional cooperation and implement it. The paper details the various Israeli ministries and agencies tasked with managing and developing cooperation with Arab states, the division of responsibility among them and the practices they employ. It also identifies current opportunities and characterizes the challenges hampering and delaying potential cooperation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Turkey is strengthening its role in the Middle East as the main political patron of the Palestinians. Turkish policy towards Palestine is reinforced by the tensions in relations with Israel, the country’s desire to be a world leader of Islam, and the growing rift between the Palestinians and their Arab allies. Turkey will use its involvement in Palestinian affairs in its regional rivalries. Opposition to Israeli-Arab normalisation and close ties with Hamas will diminish Turkey’s relations with the U.S.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Regional Integration, Hamas
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Valeria Talbot, Ugo Tramballi, Paola Magri, Zhao Jianming, Kabir Taneja, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Jeongmin Seo, Naser Al-Tamimi, Nael Shama, Sara Bazoobandi, Anshel Pfeffer
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: As the world’s economic and political centre of gravity moves increasingly towards East and South Asia, we can expect a number of countries in these regions to devote more attention to the Middle East. The relations between East and South Asia and the Middle East have significantly expanded as a result of the global rise of Asian economic powers, particularly China, India, Japan and South Korea. Not only oil but also trade, investment, infrastructure, and tourism is the name of the business with the MENA region. Beyond energy and economic interests, questions arise about the potential geopolitical dimension of these evolving ties. What are the strategic implications of the projection of Asian countries in an unstable, fragmented and volatile region? How do they interact with each other and with other international players? Last but not least, will the Covid-19 pandemic be a game changer in (re)shaping relations in the future?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Oil, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Geopolitics, Business , Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Iran, Middle East, India, Israel, Asia, South Korea, Egypt, Gulf Cooperation Council, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The significance of the Eastern Mediterranean for Israel has increased in the last decade, an outcome of interlocking factors associated with the civil war in Syria, the deterioration of relations with Turkey, and discoveries of new gas fields. The effectiveness of Israeli policy, especially in energy issues, depends on strengthening relations with the states of the region, such as Egypt or Cyprus. Hence, regional cooperation will deepen, which may have a positive impact on Israel-EU relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Cyprus, Mediterranean
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Due to developments in the international diplomatic arena, as well as the information revolution, foreign relations are no longer the sole purview of government officials. Increasingly, civil society organizations, businesses and private entrepreneurs are playing a pivotal role in international relations among states. Nevertheless, Israeli foreign policy is still considered the exclusive domain of experts. Indeed, significant sub-groups of the population – women, Palestinian citizens of Israel, ultra-Orthodox Jews, new immigrants and residents of the country's geographic periphery – do not participate meaningfully in the Israeli public debate concerning foreign affairs, let alone the corresponding decision- making process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Thomas Juneau
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: In this MEI Policy Paper, Thomas Juneau examines Iran’s role in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and the Arab-Israeli conflict to explain why Iran is not a “rising regional hegemon” but rather a “mid-sized regional power frustrated at not reaching its ambitions.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Power Politics, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Yemen, Palestine, Syria
  • Author: Fatma Zehra Toçoğlu
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Sakarya University (SAU)
  • Abstract: Bu çalışmada Avrupa Birliği’nin Ortadoğu’ya olan ilgisi ve bu bağlamda Filistin-İsrail meselesine yaklaşımı incelenmektedir. Avrupa Birliği’nin kuruluşuna kısaca değinildikten sonra dış politika konusunda yapmış olduğu çalışmalar ele alınacaktır. AB’nin genişleme sürecinden sonra komşuları ile güçlü ilişkiler kurmak için oluşturduğu Avrupa Komşuluk Politikası birimi ile sınırları dışındaki bölgelere olan ilgisi artmış, Filistinİsrail çatışmasında ortak bir dış politika belirleme çabasında olmuştur. AB kendisi için siyasi, stratejik ve ekonomik nedenlerden dolayı daima önemli bir bölge olarak gördüğü Ortadoğu ve özelde Filistin konusunda özel politikalar geliştirmiştir. Son zamanlarda Avrupa Birliği üye ülkeleri Filistin’i devlet olarak tanımayı gündemlerine aldı. Bu çerçevede makalede Avrupa Birliği’nin Filistin politikasının ekonomik ve siyasi yaklaşımları ortaya konulacaktır. | In this article, the question of how the EU is established and what kind of studies the EU undertook concerning foreign policy so far, is briefly discussed. The interest of the European Union in the Middle East is examined regarding the approach of the Palestinian - Israeli conflict. After the enlargement process, the EU has increased its interest in areas outside the borders of the EU Neighborhood Policy in order to build strong relationships with its neighbors and made efforts to define a common policy for the Palestine-Israel conflict. The EU developed particular policies for the Palestinian issue and the Middle East that are sprung from political, strategic and economic reasons. Recently, some EU member states put the recognition of the state of Palestine on their agenda. In this context, the EU’s approach toward the historical process of Palestine and the Palestinian issue is explored in this article.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, European Union, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Alon Liel, Ibrahim Soliman
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Global Political Trends Center of Istanbul Kültür University hosted two leading figures, Dr. Alon Liel and Dr. Ibrahim Soliman, who conducted the secret and unofficial negotiations held under the auspices of the Swiss government from 2004 to 2006. The eight rounds of dialogue, led by Dr. Liel and Dr. Soliman, concluded in an unofficial blueprint for an Israeli-Syrian peace agreement. In a round table discussion held on the premises of Istanbul Kültür University, Dr. Alon Liel and Dr. Ibrahim Soliman shared their assessments regarding the current Middle Eastern Politics and the possibility of peace between Israel and Syria. This Meeting Report was published with the aim to provide insight into the complexity of the regional dynamics of the Middle East as well as Second Track Diplomacy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Syria