Judicial Challenges to the Dominance of Pakistan’s Army (BESA Center)

The government of Pakistan, led by the PTI party, has filed a review petition before the Pakistani Supreme Court against the Court’s decision that the term of Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa continue for another six months, during which time the parliament should legislate on the position’s extension or reappointment. The government argues that Bajwa’s term should be extended not for six months but for three years, and that the position’s term is none of the parliament’s business. This leaves no doubt that a civilian politician wishing to enjoy his stay at the prime minister’s residence has essentially no option but to bend to the will of the Army Chief, who is the most powerful person in Pakistan.



The Triangle Area in the “Deal of the Century” (BESA Center)

The “Deal of the Century” suggests that a triangle of Israeli Arab communities that were disputed by Israel and Transjordan during the 1949 armistice negotiations can become part of the state of Palestine at such time as the state is established. This suggestion has raised the ire of Israeli Arabs and Jews who view it as an attempt at population “transfer”, though no residents due to come under Palestinian jurisdiction will be required to leave their homes. It is also historically suspect, as it depends on a faulty reading of the history of the armistice negotiations.



A Short History of Palestinian Rejectionism (BESA Center)

The consistent and enduring Palestinian rejection of any and all peace initiatives with Israel, most recently the “Deal of the Century,” calls into question the commitment of the Palestinian leadership not only to peace but to the very welfare and safety of the Palestinian people.



Turkey’s “Defense Line”: An Ideological Front (BESA Center)

Turkey’s latest moves in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean should be viewed in the context of the recent Kuala Lumpur Summit, which announced the emergence of a new ideological bloc to counter Saudi Arabia consisting of Iran, Turkey, Qatar, and Malaysia. Turkey’s new geopolitical strategy is as much ideological as it is “defensive.”



Operation “Shahid Soleimani”: Iran’s Revenge (BESA Center)

Operation Shahid Soleimani, the Iranian revenge attack for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, was less spectacular than the Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities last September and was apparently controversial even within Iran’s top leadership. Still, Israel can learn lessons from it: that Iran’s regime is willing to take extraordinary risks when it feels humiliated; that in certain scenarios precision missiles can be as effective as combat aircraft; that even a few precision missiles can disrupt the operation of modern air bases; and that good public diplomacy is crucial for crisis management.



China’s Response to the Killing of Soleimani (BESA Center)

China and Iran have a close relationship, but Beijing’s influence over Tehran is questionable. Its response to the killing of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani  offers clues to its view of its own role in the Middle East.



The “Deal of the Century” Is a Stimulus, Not a Blueprint (BESA Center)

President Trump’s peace plan must be understood as a systemic impetus toward a new breakthrough rather than as a practical blueprint for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  



The Mountain Ridge Will Save Tel Aviv from Ecological Disaster (BESA Center)

Most of the talk about the ravages of last month’s floods in Israel’s coastal cities concerns the responsibility of state authorities that failed to invest sufficiently in infrastructure development. But that is only part of the story. The main problem, which is repressed to the point of denial, stems from a planning failure at the macro level. This is not just a matter of flawed local planning for local drainage systems. This is a greater conceptual failure that results from ignoring the basic geographic conditions of the Land of Israel.



Iran’s Strategic Mistake: Too Many Enemies (BESA Center)

A photo showing an Iranian general surrounded by flags of the Islamic Republic’s proxies in Arab states illustrates that it has accumulated too many enemies—a condition that has caused many regimes throughout history to disappear. ISIS is a recent example. If the Islamic Republic persists in accumulating enemies, it might share the same fate.



SDI: A Basis for a Multi-Layered Defense Against Ballistic Missiles (BESA Center)

The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, or Star Wars) program was developed in the US in the 1980s with the aim of providing a hermetic defense against Soviet intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles. SDI did not reach final implementation and was canceled in 1993. It nevertheless created a basis for the development of a multi-layered theater defense against ballistic missiles. That defense was realized by Israel in its development of the Arrow ballistic missile interceptor system and other systems to defend against rockets and short-range missiles.