Publications - Articles

Is Iran pursuing its own version of Sykes-Picot in the Middle East?

MARKAZ, May 11, 2017

In 2012 and 2013 when the “Arab Spring” gave way to the “Arab Turmoil,” the term “the end of Sykes-Picot” came into vogue. It was short-hand for the contention that the political order and state system that Britain and France constructed in the core area of the Middle East in the early 20th century had come to an end. Today, we might speak of “a new Sykes-Picot,” but of a very different ilk: The term could now refer not to the imperial designs of European colonial powers, but to the hegemonic ambitions of Iran.

After the airstrike, what Washington should do next in Syria

MARKAZ - Brrokings, April 17, 2017

A week later, the raid launched by President Trump on a Syrian air force base in response to yet another chemical weapons attack continues to resonate. Trump’s response boosted his domestic rating, introduced tension into his ambiguous relationship with Russia, has sent a signal to North Korea, and has drawn praise from Washington’s Middle Eastern allies as a sign of America’s return to a forceful, proactive posture in the Middle East.

Egypt’s Role in the Middle East: The View from Jerusalem

The Caravan, March 13, 2017

During the past sixty years, Israel’s relationship with Egypt completed a full cycle. In the late 1950’s in the aftermath of two wars with Egypt and Gamal Abdel Nasser leading the revolutionary pan Arab camp, it was Israel’s most formidable and implacable Arab enemy.

Israel’s Last Founding Father

Project Syndicate, September 28, 2016

TEL AVIV – In 2006, a year before Shimon Peres was elected as Israel’s president, Michael Bar-Zohar published the Hebrew edition of his Peres biography. It was aptly titled Like a Phoenix: by then, Peres had been active in Israeli politics and public life for more than 60 years.

The Syrian Civil War Comes to the Druze

The American Interest, June 2015

After years of steering clear of the fight, Syria’s Druze are now in danger of being drawn into the war’s horrors .

After more than four years of successfully evading the brunt of the Syrian civil war, the country’s Druze community, which constitutes some 3 percent of the country’s population, is now in danger of being drawn into the war’s horrors. The bulk of the Syrian Druze live in the area known as the Druze Mountain in the south of the country, close to the Jordanian border. Two smaller clusters can be found in the north near Idlib and on both sides of the ceasefire line in the Golan, in several villages under Israeli control, and in the village of Hadar in the area contested by the Syrian army and a variety of opposition groups.

 

Israel and the Middle East’s Grim Realities

Complexity and ambivalence are inherent in Israel’s relationship with its Middle Eastern environment. Gaining a more than basic understanding of the current complexities involved requires an examination of at least two questions. First, how does Israel respond to the tumults affecting many of its neighbors and much of the Middle East? Second, how should observers think about the new challenges posed by a rapidly shifting strategic environment?

Israel and the Changing Middle East

Middle East Memo, no. 34 (Brookings, 29 January 2015)

Complexity and ambivalence are inherent in Israel’s relationship with its Middle Eastern environment. Israel’s national security agenda is shaped by the hostility of a large part of the Arab and Muslim worlds. During the past 66 years, Israel has been able to crack the wall of Arab hostility, to make peace with two Arab neighbors, and to establish semi-normal relations with several Arab states. But the Arab-Israeli conflict, and its Palestinian core in particular, rages on, and Iran has joined the fray as a powerful and determined adversary.

Bold decisions: Three Israeli Prime Ministers who went against their grain

Israel’s short and turbulent political history is punctuated by critical decisions both taken and not taken by its leaders. In 1948, David Ben Gurion carried his associates with him to declare statehood and independence, disregarding the uncertain odds and Secretary Marshall’s dire admonition. In the aftermath of June 1967 war, Levy Eshkol’s government coping with a complex new reality failed to make a decision regarding the disposition of the territories captured in the Sinai, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Middle Eastern Studies: A Celebration

Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 50, no. 6 (2014), page 851.

The late Elie Kedourie and his wife Sylvia G. Haim (Kedourie) have had a profound dual impact on Middle Eastern studies: as authors and editors of the most significant books and essays in the field and as founders and editors of the premier journal in the field, Middle Eastern Studies.

 

Ethnic politics in the Levant: A fresh perspective on the political careers of Zaki al-Arsouzi, Suleiman al-Murshid, and Antun Sa'adeh

Article published in: Meir Litvak and Bruce Maddy-Weitzman (editors), Nationalism, Identity and Politics: Israel and the Middle East – Studies in Honor of Prof. Asher Susser. Tel Aviv University: The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, 2014, pp. 13-28.

The Levant and the Fertile Crescent are in turmoil. These terms refer to two overlapping geographical entities. In its broadest sense, the term "Levant" refers to the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, but it is normally used in a narrower sense to designate the coastal area of Syria and Lebanon. The term "Fertile Crescent" refers to the relatively fertile area that surrounds the Arabian and Syrian deserts and comprises Iraq in addition to Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. Iraq, Syria and Lebanon conform to the definition of a "failed state." Since the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the destruction of Saddam Hussein's regime, and certainly since its departure in December 2011, the country has in fact been divided into three. Syria, since the outbreak of the crisis there in March 2011, is in a state of civil war and the government's effective control is limited to less than half of the country's territory. In Lebanon, Hezbollah is more powerful than the state. It has demonstrated its ability to take over the country but prefers not to do so and instead to continue to operate under the umbrella of the Lebanese state.