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  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: On 2 March 2019 Pugwash held a roundtable in Tel Aviv in cooperation with the Israeli Pugwash Group and the Alliance Center for Iranian Studies, University of Tel Aviv. More than 25 participants including former officials, academics, and members of civil society attended, including a small number from Europe, the US and Russia. Discussion broadly focused on the situation in the Middle East and the role of the United States and Russia, as well as China, and with a particular focus on Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. Many Israelis continue to have serious concerns regarding the entrenchment of Iranian influence and the extent of their force projection toward the Levant. Equally, many Israelis were keen to understand the nature of the Russian-Iranian relationship, most acutely expressed through their cooperation in Syria in recent years, and how the direction of US policy appears to be evolving in the region. In general, it was observed that the prevailing tensions in the region – with ongoing conflict in Syria and Yemen, the isolation of Qatar amongst many Arab countries, and the deepening rivalry between Iran and other countries – should be viewed through the lens of the lack of communication between officials and non-officials across the spectrum of complex issues.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America
  • Author: Orna Mizrahi, Yoram Schweitzer
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Voices in the Arab media have recently suggested that war between Israel and Hezbollah may erupt this coming summer. This debate began even before the rise in tension between the United States and Iran in the Gulf, which once again brought to the fore the possibility of Iran using Hezbollah as a proxy against Israel. In recent speeches, however, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah acted quickly to calm the waters, while delivering messages designed to deter Israel from taking measures against Hezbollah. Nasrallah asserted that Hezbollah was capable of striking strategic sites on the Israeli home front and conquering parts of the Galilee. These statements indicate that as far as Hezbollah is concerned, the current circumstances are not convenient for a conflict with Israel, due to Hezbollah's continuing involvement in the war in Syria and a wish to avoid undermining Hezbollah's recent achievements in the Lebanese political system. Also important is Hezbollah's deepening economic plight, resulting in part from American sanctions against the organization and its patron, Iran, although these economic difficulties have not yet affected Hezbollah's continued investment in its military buildup and deployment for a future war with Israel. Nevertheless, even if Hezbollah has no interest in a large scale conflict with Israel at this time, escalation as a result of particular measures by Israel in Lebanon and the organization's response, or from Hezbollah's own actions against Israel aimed at serving Iranian interests, cannot be ruled out. Israel must therefore prepare in advance for the possibility of a military campaign in the north.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Strategy, Hezbollah, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Yossi Mansharof
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Iran is taking advantage of the crises created by ISIS and the Arab Spring to advance its land route project from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. The American withdrawal from Syria will remove one of the obstacles that stand in Iran’s path, yet Israel has demonstrated its determination to prevent the establishment of this route.
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy, Economic Cooperation, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Syria, Mediterranean
  • Author: Micky Aharonson
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Russia seeks to be more involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by presenting it as critical to the stability of the whole Middle East. But the legitimacy that it accords to Hamas rules out deeper Russian involvement from Israel’s point of view.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Hegemony, Conflict, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Elisheva Simon
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Lebanon has neither the desire nor the ability to address Hezbollah’s threat to its sovereignty. The likelihood of Lebanon suffering severe damage in a war against Israel does not change this situation.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Sovereignty, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Jonathan Spyer
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: One way Iran’s efforts are taking place are below the official Syrian state structures – in the arming and sponsoring of Iran-controlled paramilitary formations on Syria soil.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Hegemony, Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Syria
  • Author: Joshua Krasna
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Arab countries are re-normalizing their relations with the Assad regime, seeking to balance the strong Iranian and Turkish influences in Syria and to achieve some degree of influence in a new Syrian political-strategic structure. This further cements a Russian-oriented strategic architecture in the region. In the long term, this could lead to tensions between conservative Arab states and Israel, if Israel targets the Syrian military and government in the campaign against Iran, or if Israel continues to promote diplomatic recognition of its Golan annexation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Governance, Normalization, Annexation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Eran Lerman
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Minister Yisrael Katz should restore and reinvigorate the Israeli foreign service. Israel’s many recent diplomatic breakthroughs require systemic and sustained follow-up by a strong and committed cadre of professionals.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Governance, Leadership
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David M. Weinberg
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Israel must administer Area C effectively and with much more authority, whether it wishes to either hold the territory as an effective card for future bargaining or it intends to annex the lands to Israel.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Territorial Disputes, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Eran Lerman
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: The IDF’s response will be harsher than usual, not because Israelis in the center are more valued than those in the periphery but because of the emerging need to show Hamas that it has grossly misjudged.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Territorial Disputes, Hamas, Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: The government should act with magnanimity towards the civilian population in Gaza while preparing the IDF for intensive warfare against Hamas.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Hamas, Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Jonathan Spyer
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: In the remote deserts of western Iraq, Iran’s servants are busily at work preparing a new front against Israel.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Conflict, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: David M. Weinberg
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: The new JISS national security plan says avoid risky diplomatic escapades and prepare for war.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, National Security, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Yossi Mansharof
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Israel, Russia and to some extent the US stand in the way of Iran’s permanent entrenchment in Syria. Israel needs to continue its strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah infrastructures across Syria.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Strategy, Counter-terrorism, Conflict, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Syria
  • Author: Eran Lerman, Yossi Mansharof
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Israel needs to be prepared for potentially dramatic consequences, including rapid deterioration towards confrontation on all Israel’s borders. Resilience and readiness to act can serve to deter provocations by Iran’s proxies. Ultimately, only a credible military threat from Israel will indicate to friend and foe alike that in a showdown, Iran will be forced to back down.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Conflict, Regional Power
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Eran Lerman
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: The emerging informal alliance in the eastern Mediterranean is becoming increasingly significant. Egypt’s role, Erdogan’s ambitions, energy resources, joint military exercises and coordinated emergency responses contribute to the alliance.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Alliance, Palestinian Authority
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Mediterranean
  • Author: Efraim Inbar
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Israel’s government must nurture a spirit of unity and national purpose by building a policy consensus as broad as possible. This is necessary both in preparation for likely combat operations against Iran and its proxies, and in order to respond wisely to the American peace plan and to intelligently manage conflict with the Palestinians.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Military Strategy, Governance, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Efraim Inbar, Eran Lerman
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: The need to assign American soldiers to fight with Israel might undermine Israel’s popularity in the US and constrain its freedom of action.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Military Strategy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Micky Aharonson
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: Outwardly, Russia is loyal to the idea that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the reason for Middle East unrest. This approach raises the bar on Palestinian demands and makes normal life in the region less likely.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Hegemony, Conflict, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Yossi Mansharof
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS)
  • Abstract: It is complicit in Hizballah’s terrorism and subversion, in Europe and the US.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Military Strategy, Conflict, Hezbollah, State Sponsored Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America