Homeland Security Portal

Homeland Security Portal

Area Studies: Palestinian Affairs

Iran Is Courting Hamas

, September 6, 2016

With the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal refused to take the side of President Bashar Assad, and Hamas’ political leadership found itself at loggerheads with Iran; it has since faced a cooling in relations. Since then, Iran has not remained inactive. It is now resuming its courtship of Hamas in an attempt to add it to the Shiite camp and restore its former ties with the movement, exporting its particularly virulent strain of radical Islam in the region. Read More »

The Fraying Palestinian Political Entity in the West Bank

, August 2, 2016

The Palestinian Authority is failing to control extensive parts of the West Bank. As a result, some districts of the West Bank are developing in different directions, thereby accelerating the process of the PA’s disintegration. In particular, this piece focuses on three West Bank cities - Hebron, Ramallah, and Nablus (Shechem) - and the different forces threatening to tear them apart. Read More »

The Internal Palestinian Fight for Jerusalem

, April 14, 2016

East Jerusalem, despite being linked with both Israel and the West Bank, has developed an independent political system. The main public activity in East Jerusalem occurs at the plaza of the mosques on the Temple Mount where the Islamic movements are the dynamic political forces. Both regional powers and Islamic movements vie for control of the plaza and the city’s Arab population. Read More »

Dying for Allah

, March 23, 2016

The sensitivity to criticism of the Islamic fundamentalist attitude on the “death for Allah” value, which has been fully adopted by the Palestinian cultural code, is a further instance of our difficulty in understanding a different culture, which leads us to project our own values onto the other in a mirror-perfect image. The value of “dying for Allah” has been adopted by Radical Islam’s distorted interpretation of Islam’s tenets. Read More »

The Knife and the Message:
The Roots of the New Palestinian Uprising

and , February 29, 2016

The latest wave of Palestinian violence against Jews is something new, an insidious wave of seemingly un-orchestrated attacks, perpetrated by unlikely assailants, and generally untraceable to any particular organization. They were also characterized by brutality and the purposeful use of the knife, to drive home the intent of bringing a new and unrelenting wave of slaughter to the Jews; a message to all Israelis that neither they, nor their children, will ever be able to live in this land in peace. However, the Mahmoud Abbas and those under his authority are indeed instructing young Palestinians what to do. Read More »

Connecting the Terror in Paris with the Terror against Israel

, December 1, 2015

Despite the apparent lack of a true connection between the Islamic terror against the West and the Palestinian terror against Israel being confined to technical aspects, a link exists between the two; both are expressions of radical Islamic struggle against the West. Read More »

Hamas Looks beyond Jerusalem … to Rome and Beyond

, November 24, 2015

Despite the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Europe, Europe is in no hurry to equate global terrorism to Palestinian terror, the latter is still considered justified by some because Palestinians are supposedly fighting for the sake of independence and to be free from the “yoke of occupation.” A more careful examination of the roots of the Palestinian struggle reveals that it is also calculated against Europe, and is not geared towards an end to occupation, but rather to the eventual takeover of Europe. Read More »

Hamas’ Tunnel Network: A Massacre in the Making

, February 26, 2015

In the past decade, Hamas methodically built a sophisticated network of tunnels that would enable its fighters to infiltrate Israel and carry out terrorist attacks and abductions on an unprecedented scale. Operation Protective Edge exposed and targeted this tunnel network, eliminating one of Hamas’ strategic assets and preventing a devastating and broad surprise homefront attack. According to IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, “Hamas had a plan. A simultaneous, coordinated, surprise attack within Israel.” Read More »

Hamas’ Order of Battle: Weapons, Training, and Targets

, February 26, 2015

In the course of their 50-day war against Israel, Hamas and its terrorist partners in Gaza fired more than 4,500 rockets and mortars at Israel. The weapons’ ranges varied from two to 160 km., and the gross inaccuracy and inconsistency of the rocket fire meant that Hamas had unleashed truly terrorizing weaponry. Hamas, Fatah, and Islamic Jihad’s rockets were fired at major strategic targets: ports, industrial parks, power stations, water plants, reactors, military bases, and Defense Ministry facilities, demonstrating their respective organizational desires to indiscriminately harm Israelis. Read More »

Hamas’ Strategy Revealed

, February 26, 2015

The war in Gaza in July and August of 2014, fought between Israel and Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations, was viewed by Hamas as a critical link in the chain of jihad and armed struggle, whose long-term goal is the liberation of all of Palestine and the destruction of Israel. Since its establishment in 1987, Hamas has enshrined its goal in the Hamas Charter which it steadfastly has refused to modify. The analysis that follows will show that destroying Israel remains its goal and, that there are signs that it has adopted genocidal doctrines as well, directed against the Jewish people as a whole, beyond its militancy toward the Jewish state. Read More »

The Hidden Hand of ISIS and Its Impact on Palestinian Escalation

, November 13, 2014

In recent months, the State of Israel has been facing what military jargon terms “popular terrorist activity.” Much of this violence is a product of both Hamas and Fatah incitement. However, there is also an ominous “hidden hand” at work directly impacting events throughout the Middle East and the Palestinian arena. Read More »

Hamas Policy after Operation “Protective Edge”

, September 18, 2014

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal recently revealed Hamas’ unfolding strategy in the wake of the Gaza war, particularly the use of the international system as an economic safety net after every terror offensive. Hamas will use international legal instruments to participate in the Palestinians’ delegitimization campaign that seeks ultimately to bring an end to the State of Israel, all the while trying to gain access to the PLO and wrest away control from within. Read More »

Palestinian Reconciliation and the Rising Power of Hamas and Islamic Jihad: An Iranian Windfall

, May 14, 2014

Fatah and Hamas are continuing to talk in an attempt to translate the reconciliation agreement which was signed on April 23, 2014 into a series of operative steps. These primarily involve integrating Hamas and Islamic Jihad into PLO institutions, setting up a unity government, and preparing for new parliamentary and presidential elections. Abbas is inadvertently providing Hamas and Islamic Jihad the tools to take control of the Palestinian national movement. Read More »

The Myth of the Moderate Hamas

, April 27, 2014

Every time the profile of Hamas rises as a result of some development in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, there is an effort undertaken to repackage Hamas as a moderate organization. Read More »

Hamas Sends a Signal to Iran

, October 18, 2013

Musa Abu Marzook, deputy to Khaled Mashal, head of the Hamas politburo, gave a recent interview to the pro-Assad Al Mayadeen TV station in Lebanon that has not received appropriate attention. This significant interview demonstrates Hamas’ willingness to join the international network of terror. Read More »

After the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Is Hamas in Gaza Next in Line?

, October 1, 2013

For the first time since it was founded, Hamas is showing signs of panic. Egyptian newspapers quoted Palestinian sources as saying that 90 percent of the smuggling tunnels along the border with Gaza have stopped functioning as a result of Egyptian measures, leading to the potential loss of nearly 40 percent of Hamas’ revenues. Read More »

The Palestinian Authority’s Responsibility for the Outbreak of the Second Intifada: Its Own Damning Testimony

, February 20, 2013

Despite revisionist claims, extensive testimony during and following the Second Intifada demonstrates the Palestinian Authority’s role in initiating and managing the Second Intifada as an extensive terror onslaught, designed to impose a unilateral, unconditional withdrawal upon Israel, and improve conditions in anticipation of the battle for realizing Palestinian demands for the return of the refugees. Read More »

Deception: The Palestinian Authority’s Public Commitments and Its Actual Activities and Messages

, November 2, 2012

Within Palestinian society, numerous examples exist of anti-Semitic websites that demonize Jews and openly call for Israel’s destruction that are condemned by Western leaders. However, there is an incorrect assumption that those messages are no longer part of the official PA world. This piece sheds light on and then disproves that false assumption. Read More »

Palestinian Incitement and Peace: An Insurmountable Incompatibility

, November 1, 2012

Incitement to hatred and violence is a weapon of political warfare. Potentially, it is also one of the basic steps in the sequence of stages leading to genocide. As a weapon of political warfare, incitement belongs to the same category as agitation and propaganda. Today, Palestinian leadership is guilty of just such this type of warfare, with near daily cases of incitement occurring. Read More »

The Role of Hamas in the Formation of Global Jihadi Networks in Sinai

, August 15, 2012

After the Rafah attack (which Egyptian security sources told the newspaper al-Youm al-Saba that the Palestinian Army of Islam was responsible for), it was noticeable that the Egyptian government refrained from condemning terrorists’ plan to carry out a mass-casualty attack in Israel. Egypt and Hamas share a similar policy toward the Salafi terror organizations within their territory - the regime views the organizations as legitimate and does not intend to proscribe them so long as they do not undermine the central government or harm its basic interests. Read More »

The Palestinian Refugees on the Day After “Independence”

, December 1, 2011

The Palestinian demand for a “just peace” is essentially a death sentence for Israel, as it requires the immediate resettlement of Palestinian “refugees” in Israel, which would eliminate Israel’s identity as a Jewish state. Furthermore, this may lead to a humanitarian crisis among the refugees themselves; Israeli accession to this Palestinian demand could trigger the expulsion of Palestinian refugees from other Arab lands. Read More »

Key Principles of a Demilitarized Palestinian State

, November 12, 2011

Without demilitarization, a Palestinian state is likely to become one of two things: either a base for Palestinian terror attacks or a conduit for threats from further east. Read More »

Area Studies: Iran

Rethinking the Iran Agreement

, January 25, 2017

President Trump’s invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu to visit Washington for a summit meeting is likely to bring into relief the question of the future of the P5+1 agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program. As currently constituted, the Iran agreement is extremely dangerous for Israel, Western European countries, and for the United States, and requires careful consideration about whether and how the West should proceed with it. Read More »

Trump’s Big Decision on Iran

, December 7, 2016

During the election campaign, Donald Trump affirmed that immediately upon entering the White House he would “renegotiate the “disastrous” and “horrible” nuclear agreement with Iran. (Vice President-elect Mike Pence called for “ripping up the Iran deal” during the election campaign.) Following President Trump’s inauguration, Trump has three potential paths of action. Read More »

Iranian Missiles in Houthi Hands Threaten Freedom of Navigation in Red Sea

, October 13, 2016

Iran and its proxies could throttle regional choke points and disrupt international commerce. Playing down Iranian proxy aggression will play into Iranian propaganda and bolster Iran’s already overconfident and defiant stance. Read More »

“The Iran Wars” – Briefing by Jay Solomon

, October 6, 2016

Jay Solomon is the author of The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, and the Secret Deals that Reshaped the Middle East, and the chief foreign affairs correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. Here, he further expounds on the threat that Iran poses to the region. Read More »

Interview with Jay Solomon, author of “The Iran Wars”

, September 29, 2016

The Iranian sanctions and the covert actions against Iran’s nuclear program began under the Bush Administration. When did the Obama Administration start changing directions? Are there any positive changes in Iran’s foreign policy since the nuclear agreement in 2015? Are the Iranian’s adhering to the JCPOA? Read More »

Iran Is Courting Hamas

, September 6, 2016

With the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal refused to take the side of President Bashar Assad, and Hamas’ political leadership found itself at loggerheads with Iran. However, anti-Israel solidarity has since trumped Sunni-Shiite animosity. Read More »

Iranian Dissidents Visit Israel, View Iran after the Nuclear Deal

and , August 21, 2016

After the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) in 2015, a group of Iranian dissidents met with researchers at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs to discuss Iran in the post-agreement era. While the dissidents who visited Israel cannot be named, two Israeli experts who met with them describe the outcome of the meeting. Read More »

Ethnic Opposition to Iran’s Regime Is on the Rise

, July 24, 2016

Since June 2016, Iran has been enduring terror attacks and assassinations which are a reaction to Iran’s ongoing repressive policy against its ethnic minorities, such as Kurds (who are distinguished from Iran’s Shiite population by their language and Sunni beliefs) and Arabs (who are also mainly Sunni). Iran’s security forces have been cracking down on the Arabs, augmenting this population’s discontent along with its separatist aspirations. The Iranian regime, which so far has been spared the regional repercussions of the Arab Spring – or Islamic Awakening as the regime calls it – is now starting to feel the effects. Read More »

One Year after the Iran Nuclear Deal

, July 21, 2016

Iran is reaping the benefits of the deal, while the West pays the price of its weakness. In the meantime, we are all living with the consequences. Read More »

Cracks in the Iran-Syria-Hizbullah-Russia Axis

, June 20, 2016

Reports from Syria are proliferating about clashes between the Syrian army and Hizbullah fighters in the Aleppo area on June 16, with seven or eight Hizbullah men having been killed, some after an attack by Syrian aircraft. Even a scorecard won’t explain who’s shooting at whom today. Read More »

Iran in the Post-Nuclear Deal Era: Iranian Dissidents’ Perspective

and , May 19, 2016

The JCPOA is perceived by most participants as a “game-changer.” By studying the original insights of various Iranian dissidents, these personalities’ unique observations as well as their recommendations are highlighted and are able to contribute to a better understanding of Iran in the post-JCPOA era. Read More »

Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps: The Revolution Continues beyond Iran’s Borders

, May 17, 2016

After the JCPOA was signed on July 14, 2015, the Gulf States felt all the more threatened by Iran and concerned that the support the United States had given them previously was eroding. Iran, for its part, particularly by means of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), stepped up its involvement in the region - notably in Yemen, making use of Lebanese Hizbullah fighters among others. It also continues its clandestine intelligence activity in the Gulf States. Read More »

The Iranian Penetration of Iraqi Kurdistan

, January 21, 2016

Iran has positioned itself as a reliable military backer of Iraqi Kurdish forces, filling a vacuum the West has left as a result of its tepid support. Iranian penetration of Kurdistan allows Tehran to render it less likely that its major adversaries, including Israel and the U.S., will gain a secure foothold in a region that has a 400-mile border with Iran. Expectations of Kurdistan becoming an ally of Israel, America, and Europe may be in danger if the West continues to prioritize Iraqi and Turkish interests over those of the Kurds. The writer taught at Salahaddin University in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2012-2013. Read More »

Will the West Defend Its Own Values Against Radical Islam?

, December 23, 2015

The West is now reaping the fruits of its weakness in the Middle East, as it turns to the “extremist-realist” camp in the region for cooperation. This can be seen in Iran’s flouting of many aspects of the JCPOA which it agreed to - it is only technically cooperating with the JCPOA’s parameters. The West must make clear that it is committed to its own values and prepared to defend them. Read More »

Terror Is Terror Is Terror

, November 23, 2015

Iran keeps promoting its long-term strategic policy in Syria; it views the country as an integral component of its national security. Russia, which has moved urgently to help Assad’s regime survive, has paid a heavy price with the downing of a Russian passenger plane by the Islamic State. Iran is exploiting the West’s weakness, especially the United States’ fecklessness and lack of a clear policy on the Middle East’s future in general and on Assad’s in particular. Read More »

Iran’s Stake in Syria

, October 22, 2015

According to Hojjat al-Islam Mehdi Taeb, a former senior official of Iran's Basij militia, Iran's line of defense passes through Syria, and that is why the Iranian government proposed creating battalions of Basij-style militias in Syria.The crisis in Syria is gradually turning from a protracted regional crisis into an international one. For Iran, Syria constitutes the first line of defense against Israel, and also a line of defense for the Shiite population in Lebanon against Islamic State incursion. Read More »

The Mistaken Rationale behind the Iran Nuclear Deal

, September 9, 2015

The claim that Iran’s enrichment routes to a nuclear bomb have been blocked has no basis. In fact, Iran will have four routes to enriching uranium to a military level.The nuclear agreement with the main world powers is set to enable Iran safely, legally, and without economic hardships or changes in its rogue policies, to overcome the main obstacles on its way to possessing a nuclear weapons arsenal and becoming a regional hegemonic power. Read More »

Questions and Answers about the Iranian Nuclear Agreement

, August 26, 2015

The deal leaves Iran having enough fissile material to "break out" to a bomb within six months, and not within one year as the Administration claims (because the excess centrifuges and infrastructure are not destroyed). So far, all the Administration's prophecies of doom whenever measures were taken against Iran have turned out to be false. So far, the record of American intelligence (and that of Israeli intelligence, too) when it comes to revealing foreign nuclear programs, including those of Iran, is far from impressive (one thinks of North Korea, Syria, Iraq, India, and Pakistan). Read More »

Iran’s Fortunes Rising in a Middle East Vacuum

, March 19, 2014

Iran is implementing a plan to expand its influence over the Middle Eastern region. As a primary sponsor of Hizbullah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the “long arm” of Iranian influence may be attempting to establish itself as a regional power player, in the wake of the U.S.’ declining prestige. Read More »

How Nuclear Talks Help Iran Dominate the Middle East

, February 25, 2014

The nuclear talks are creating an atmosphere where the economic pressure will subside as Iran gains time to fill in the missing pieces of its nuclear program. Iran’s foreign policy is gaining momentum as Gulf States are persuaded to align with Iran. Ongoing negotiations with the United States are proceeding at a relaxed pace that allows Iran to continue working towards its strategic goals. Read More »

The Internal Iranian Struggle in the Aftermath of the Geneva Nuclear Agreement

, January 14, 2014

The Geneva nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 has become a source of tension in Iran between the conservatives and Revolutionary Guard on one side, and President Hassan Rouhani, the nuclear negotiating team, and those considered the reformist camp on the other. The regime’s security establishment continues a crackdown on the opposition and social networks in an effort to protect Iran’s revolutionary Islamic nature. The intensity of public support for Rouhani is of no significance when it comes to Iran’s nuclear progress, nor is it likely to have substantial implications for the state of civil society and human rights in Iran. Read More »

Conflicting Expectations from the Geneva Document between the P5+1 and Iran

, December 11, 2013

Questions of interpretation have arisen from both sides about the Geneva document’s obligations to the relevant parties. Parties disagree on what the document means for nuclear breakout, U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran, and uranium enrichment Read More »

Iran Looks Beyond the Nuclear Talks

, November 26, 2013

Khamenei underlines the decline in American power and influence (even among its friends) and the economic problems afflicting it, contrasting this with Iran’s rising power compared to the past. Iran does not come to the nuclear negotiations out of weakness, but, indeed, from a position of strength, and rather than having anything to lose from the talks, it only stands to gain from them, as it did in the interim agreement. Iran’s considerations in coming to the negotiating table are its assessment of America’s declining regional and international status and its own expanding reach. Read More »

The Emerging Geneva Agreement with Iran

, November 12, 2013

Eliminating Iran’s 20-percent-enriched uranium, but allowing the Iranians to continue to produce 3.5-percent-enriched uranium is an unacceptable option if the goal of the West is to prevent Iran from advancing a nuclear weapon. Allowing Iran to enrich to the 3.5-percent level will not address the threat emanating from Iran’s latest generation of faster centrifuges and the scenario of a fast dash by Iran to weapons-grade uranium, known as “nuclear break-out.” Read More »

Iran vs. the West: Endgame?

, October 15, 2013

Despite direct negotiations with the United States, Iran has no intention of halting their nuclear enrichment program. Iran could be within a few months of building a bomb. Read More »

Rowhani’s and Jalili’s Election Propaganda

, June 12, 2013

Election Propaganda from Jalili and Rowhani present the two sides of Iran’s nuclear negotiating tactics. The “principalist” [hard-line] candidates, represented by Jalili, take a dogmatic, uncompromising line on Iran’s foreign relations and its stance on the nuclear issue. The “pragmatic” candidates, represented by Rowhani, show a readiness to open a new chapter in Iran’s dealings with the world and conduct the nuclear talks in a calmer atmosphere. Read More »

Iran Fears Growing Israel-Azerbaijan Cooperation

, May 17, 2013

Through a mutual distrust of Iranian intentions, Israel and Azerbaijan have enjoyed a closer relationship. Iran is concerned by this tightening of Israeli/Azerbaijani relations, as Azerbaijan could be used for a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear sites. Iran has also sponsored a great number of terrorist cells in Azerbaijan, including factions of Lebanese Hizbullah, and has been accused of attempting to sway Azerbaijan’s political structure. Read More »

Understanding the Current State of the Iranian Nuclear Challenge

, March 24, 2013

Over the last decade, a clear international consensus has slowly emerged that Iran was not just pursuing a civilian nuclear program, but rather was seeking nuclear weapons. The IAEA has raised concerns about the possible existence of certain areas of military research in the Iranian nuclear program, which, when coupled with Iran’s expansionist goals, presents a challenge to regional stability. Negotiations and proposals to protect the International Community from Iranian nuclear weapons must take into account all aspects of Iranian nuclear research. Read More »

The Iranian Role in the 2012 Gaza Conflict

, December 2, 2012

Iran’s supply of rockets to the Palestinians shows a lack of fear of Israel and the Western powers. The rift between Sunnis and Shia that is evident in various Middle Eastern conflicts makes clear that Iran will confront Sunni states like Egypt and Turkey over issues of regional hegemony and influence. These changes are becoming clear not only in actions in Gaza, but in the Syrian conflict as well. Read More »

The Role of Iranian Security Forces in Syria

, June 20, 2012

Iran views the confrontation in Syria as a critical battleground with the West regarding the reshaping of the Middle East and its own role in the region as a key, vital and influential player. Hizbullah is currently serving under Iran’s command as a part of Assad’s forces, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have been involved in Syrian events. Iran’s aid to Assad illustrates Iran’s goal of becoming a power capable of countering the West’s influence. Read More »

Iran: From Regional Challenge
to Global Threat

, 2012

This anthology of 31 recent studies by eleven leading security and diplomatic experts outlines the Iranian threat to Israel, the Middle East region, and the West. Included are discussions of Iran’s progress of developing nuclear weapons, sponsorship of terrorism, and use of resources to drive Western policies. Read More »

Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas and the Global Jihad: A New Conflict Paradigm for the West

, 2011

Iran’s primary vulnerability is the economic sphere. Although half of the Iranian government’s revenues come from the export of crude oil, without foreign investment, production of crude oil will falter. In order to convince Iran to give up the nuclear program, the U.S. and its allies must exploit their economic leverage, backed up by a credible threat of military force against the nuclear program and other targets in Iran as necessary. Read More »

Iran’s Race for Regional Supremacy: Strategic Implications for the Middle East

, September 21, 2011

Iran has accelerated its quest for regional supremacy through its mobilization of both Shiite and Sunni terror surrogates, including Hizbullah in Lebanon, Shiite militias in Iraq and in the Gulf, the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades in the Palestinian territories. These actions could destabilize the entire region, creating a threat to global security. Read More »

The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West

, 2011

In the West, liberal politicians and pundits are calling for renewed diplomatic engagement with Iran, convinced that Tehran will respond to reason and halt its nuclear weapons program. Yet, countries have repeatedly tried diplomatic talks and utterly failed. Gold examines these past failures, showing how Iran employed strategic deception and delay tactics to hide its intentions from the West. He argues that Western policymakers underestimate Iran s hostility toward us and explains why diplomacy will continue to backfire, no matter which party or president is in power. Read More »

Can Cold War Deterrence Apply to a Nuclear Iran?

, March 1, 2011

The Obama Administration’s policy of Cold War-style deterrence with regards to Iran fails to take into account various issues. The ideology of the Iranian leadership, the threat of a polynuclear Middle East, and the idealization of martyrdom are all issues which do not fit into a model of cold war style deterrence. Furthermore, should nuclear weapons become a reality in the region; it is possible that they may filter down to quasi-states, terrorist organizations, and rival ethnic groups. Read More »

The Sources of Iranian Negotiating Behavior

, August 26, 2010

This report identifies patterns of Iranian culture that are relevant to Western policymakers which have been ignored for decades. Understanding of these cues can better enable the West to negotiate with Iran regarding their nuclear weapons programs, and to convince the Iranian population to liberate themselves. Read More »

Halting Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program: Iranian Vulnerabilities and Western Policy Options

, July 8, 2007

Iran’s primary vulnerability is the economic sphere. Although half of the Iranian government’s revenues come from the export of crude oil, without foreign investment, production of crude oil will falter. In order to convince Iran to give up the nuclear program, the U.S. and its allies must exploit their economic leverage, backed up by a credible threat of military force against the nuclear program and other targets in Iran as necessary. Read More »

Area Studies: Egypt

Hamas’ Terrorism in Egypt

, March 10, 2016

Egypt has officially accused Hamas of training the terror operatives who assassinated Egyptian Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat last year. Hamas now fears that Egypt will declare the movement a terror organization and torpedo Turkey’s efforts to ease the blockade of Gaza. Read More »

Saving Gazans or Saving Gaza’s Terrorist Tunnels?

, December 29, 2015

Fourteen Gaza tunnel diggers were rescued on December 28, 2015 after their smuggling tunnel collapsed, purportedly because of Egyptian flooding of the extensive tunnel system in Gaza. Four days earlier, a militant Palestinian advocacy group, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), published an article and photographs headlined, “Egypt’s seawater pumping project endangers Gazan’s lives.” Read More »

Egypt Fights a Terror Onslaught

, July 13, 2015

Egypt's endurance is vital to the continued existence of a sane Middle East that opposes the establishment of a caliphate based on sharia law. Some in the West fail to understand Egypt's key role as a country fighting radical Islam. They view Sisi as a military dictator who overthrew an elected president, while they turn a blind eye to the fact that his predecessor, Muhammad Morsi, aimed to turn Egypt into an Islamic dictatorship. Israel is trying to help Egypt as much as possible, pressing Egypt's case in Washington and pursuing security and intelligence cooperation far from the eyes of the media. Read More »

Egypt’s Projection of Military Power in the Middle East

, June 10, 2015

Egypt has abstained for more than 40 years from projecting its military forces as a component of its foreign policy.​ ​After events in Sinai and Libya President Sisi has demonstrated that he advocates the use of force and the projection of force in order to secure vital Egyptian national interests.​ ​Sisi considers Egypt and its moderate allies to be the victims of a colluded effort from jihadi Islam and as such he advocates a united Arab effort to counter this danger. Read More »

Egyptian Field Marshal Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi: A Profile

, February 27, 2014

A profile of the popular Egyptian Commander in Chief. Read More »

Sisi Fever: Will the General be the Next President of Egypt?

, October 29, 2013

Observers of the Egyptian scene are repeatedly stressing the change in the mood of the Egyptians towards the United States, from friendship and admiration to open hostility. In turn, the U.S. administration is questioning his legitimacy and presenting him as the leader of a coup and a usurper of power. This creates an opening for a possible Russian comeback in Egypt and through it to a reinforced Russian position in the region. Read More »

Egypt after Morsi: The Defeat of Political Islam?

, July 12, 2013

The Muslim Brotherhood’s 80-year dream to take over Egypt ended in a fiasco, barely one year after one of its own was democratically elected to the office of President of Egypt. The Brotherhood’s loss sends a message that political Islam can be subdued by moderate and liberal forces, providing hope to those struggling against Jihadist and MB-associated groups. The new regime in Egypt allows Israel maintain the status quo with regards to the Egyptian/Israeli Peace Treaty. Read More »

Is Egypt Heading toward a Military Regime?

, May 20, 2013

After President Mohamed Morsi’s “victory” over the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in August 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi himself began signaling their intention to turn Egypt into an Islamic state, arousing the fears of liberals and religious minorities. The opposition turned hostile to the regime and began castigating it, exploiting the newly acquired freedom of the press. Today, Egypt is on the verge of chaos. As Morsi’s government fails to achieve true democracy, respect human rights, restore security, or improve economic welfare, an increasing number of people are calling on the army to return to the political scene as Morsi’s only possible replacement. Read More »

Egypt’s Shiite Minority: Between the Egyptian Hammer and the Iranian Anvil

, September 23, 2012

Since the Egyptian Revolution, many of Egypt’s 2.2 million Shiites began demanding rights after the repression of the Mubarak era. However, these requests have been met with threats from hardline Salafi groups. The election of Mohammad Morsi radicalized the issue. In response, Iran has distanced itself from Egyptian Shiites. However, with the growing sectarian divide between Sunni and Shia, this could easily strain relations between Egypt and Iran and ignite a regional flashpoint. Read More »

Area Studies: Syria

Why the Islamic State Is in Retreat

, June 7, 2016

Two years ago the Islamic State’s blitz assault across a swath of land as big as the United Kingdom led to the establishment of the self-proclaimed Caliphate and fragmented both Syria and Iraq. Today, the American-led and the Russian-led coalitions succeeded to contain the advance of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq because of several factors: attrition, manpower, firepower inferiority, and diminishing financial support. Read More »

Explaining the Islamic State Phenomenon

, January 20, 2016

The Islamic State is a terrorist state with almost all of a typical state’s governing elements. ISIS rules today over a swath of land bigger than the United Kingdom, with a population of almost 10 million. Never in the modern history of the Muslim world has a conflict drawn so many jihadists, who seek to participate in the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate to rule the world after the defeat in battle of the Western powers and their local Arab allies. Read More »

Terror Is Terror Is Terror

, November 23, 2015

Iran keeps promoting its long-term strategic policy in Syria; it views the country as an integral component of its national security. Russia, which has moved urgently to help Assad’s regime survive, has paid a heavy price with the downing of a Russian passenger plane by the Islamic State. Iran is exploiting the West’s weakness, especially the United States’ fecklessness and lack of a clear policy on the Middle East’s future in general and on Assad’s in particular. Read More »

Are There Any Moderate Rebels in Syria?

, November 22, 2015

In the Syrian Civil War, the CIA has assisted those it considers "moderate rebels." In the face of this policy, The Free Syrian Army has chosen to cease its cooperation with other, more Islamist groups like Ahrar Al-Sham, ceding its role as the leader in the fight against the Assad regime to said Islamist groups. Many of the different Islamist coalitions present on the ground today can hardly be defined as being "a moderate opposition." Read More »

Iran’s Stake in Syria

, October 22, 2015

According to Hojjat al-Islam Mehdi Taeb, a former senior official of Iran's Basij militia, Iran's line of defense passes through Syria, and that is why the Iranian government proposed creating battalions of Basij-style militias in Syria.The crisis in Syria is gradually turning from a protracted regional crisis into an international one. For Iran, Syria constitutes the first line of defense against Israel, and also a line of defense for the Shiite population in Lebanon against Islamic State incursion. Read More »

The Disintegration of Syria and Its Impact on Israel

, August 31, 2015

Syria's fragmentation into separate, battling enclaves is intensifying. The two main enclaves are "central Syria," controlled by the Assad regime, and the Islamic State. The nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers has boosted Iran's capacity to support the Assad regime. Iran and Hizbullah's attempts to create a base for terror activity against Israel from the northern Golan Heights continue, relying on released terrorist Samir Kuntar and Druze elements. Read More »

Implications of the Fall of Key Syrian and Iraqi Cities to ISIS

, May 27, 2015

The fall of the major cities of Palmyra in Syria and Ramadi in Iraq to the Islamic State is part of the disintegration of the Middle East’s nation-states​. ​Assad-controlled Syria has shrunk to half its size and lost control of almost all of its borders. The Islamic State (IS) finds itself almost within shelling distance from Baghdad and bordering Saudi Arabia and Jordan, raising acute fears in both countries. The battles have proven that the Shiite armies had no resolve or will to fight the Sunni jihadists. This leaves open the option of Iran and its proxies enlarging their involvement.​ ​ Read More »

Israeli Security Policy in Syria

, April 28, 2015

The attempted Hizbullah attack thwarted in the northern Golan Heights on April 26, 2015, and the air strikes apparently carried out by the Israeli Air Force on April 21 and 24 against military targets in Syria, as reported in Arab media, join a series of similar incidents over the past three years. Apart from isolated cases, Israel has avoided directly responding to reports on the strikes and merely made declarations about its general policy. Hizbullah's involvement in Syria creates legitimacy for anti-Lebanese activity by Sunni radicals. Its deep involvement in the Syrian civil war is nowhere near its conclusion and will continue to exact a heavy price. Read More »

The Syrian Constellation before the Geneva 2 Peace Talks

, January 22, 2014

Since the Egyptian Revolution, many of Egypt’s 2.2 million Shiites began demanding rights after the repression of the Mubarak era. However, these requests have been met with threats from hardline Salafi groups. The election of Mohammad Morsi radicalized the issue. In response, Iran has distanced itself from Egyptian Shiites. However, with the growing sectarian divide between Sunni and Shia, this could easily strain relations between Egypt and Iran and ignite a regional flashpoint. Read More »

What Might Be Expected in Monitoring Syria: Lessons from Past Middle East Weapons Inspections

, September 17, 2013

In light of the Russian/US agreement to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, the world’s accumulated hands-on experience in Middle Eastern arms control in Iraq, Iran, and Libya should be remembered. Read More »

The Role of Iranian Security Forces in Syria

, June 20, 2012

Iran views the confrontation in Syria as a critical battleground with the West regarding the reshaping of the Middle East and its own role in the region as a key, vital and influential player. Hizbullah is currently serving under Iran’s command as a part of Assad’s forces, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have been involved in Syrian events. Iran’s aid to Assad illustrates Iran’s goal of becoming a power capable of countering the West’s influence. Read More »