• 2022-02-16

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoğlu’s official call to his Israeli counterpart was a rarity since the Erdoğan-Peres confrontation in Davos in January 2009. Erdoğan began to initiate overtures toward Israel, opening the door to the exchange of ambassadors to normalize diplomatic relations in the near future and inviting Israeli President Isaac Herzog to visit Turkey. From Ankara’s perspective, repairing ties with Israel is necessary for economic and strategic reasons. Similar to its strategic reasoning for rapprochement with Gulf Arab states, Turkey aims to break its isolation in the eastern Mediterranean and increase its bid for natural gas exploration. Erdoğan expressed his readiness for pipeline talks with Israel, claiming that Turkey remains the only viable route for Israel’s gas exports to Europe.

  • 2022-02-16

    The Syrian governorate of Deir Ezzor is currently a heavily militarized area, where militias and armed forces patrol and pursue their varied interests at the expense of local civilians. Deir Ezzor has faced numerous issues over the past several years due to the buildup of militias, along with threats from the Islamic State and a local youth increasingly recruited or conscripted into the area’s various militias. The most prominent of these militias are Iran-affiliated, and serve to stabilize the Assad regime’s control while increasing Iranian influence on the ground.

  • 2022-02-15

    If we look at the developments of the Ukrainian crisis through a West Asian lens, and measure up the potential profit and loss scenarios for regional players, it is likely that Iran may be the biggest winner, and Israel the biggest loser. Let’s start with Iran. This worsening crisis between the Russian-Chinese axis on the one hand, and the American-European alliance on the other, could not come at a better time for Tehran. The Ukraine stand-off, which has captured the world’s attention, has significantly reduced Iran’s ranking on the list of US priorities by several degrees, and in turn, eased western pressures in the Vienna nuclear negotiations, which is barely a blip these days on the evening news.

  • 2022-02-09

    On the one hand, Abu Dhabi is concerned by Iran’s expansion in the region and works to curb it, including through cooperation with Israel. On the other hand, the UAE is drawing closer to Tehran, through political ties and commercial agreements. How can this duality be explained, and how does this affect Israel? […] An understanding of the political direction taken by the United Arab Emirates is important for Israel, not only because it is a key country in political, economic, and military terms in the Middle East, but also because it charts a course for others. For example, the UAE is generally ahead of Saudi Arabia in its political maneuvers: consider the recent contacts between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which occurred after the Iran-UAE dialogue. Israel must take into account a possible change in the UAE role in the regional front against Iran, particularly in view of additional cracks appearing in this front, and particularly if a new nuclear deal is reached with Iran. In the age of fluid alliances and changing loyalties, Israel must pay attention to reginal dynamics and examine, for example, if and how they will affect further normalization processes in the region – mainly but not only with Saudi Arabia.

  • 2022-02-07

    Talk of Israeli airstrikes on Iran constitute little more than hollow rhetoric, despite repeated verbal threats from Israeli officials. At this moment, Israel has neither the power nor the means to attack Iran, nor can it act unilaterally against US policy.

  • 2022-02-04

    The rapid escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran has obviously affected the calculations of Tehran’s southern and western neighbors, notably Iraq. But much less attention has been paid to the implications for Iran’s eastern neighbors, who also have a lot at stake in preventing a major new conflict on their borders

  • 2022-02-04

    An event of great importance for the geopolitics of the Middle East took place this week: Bahrain and Israel signed an agreement on military cooperation in defense and security. In the midst of the growing tensions that hurt the Middle East, the strategic significance of this type of measure is immense, revealing that this small Arab kingdom is not only willing to remain in peace with Israel as other Arab countries had already done, but also to strategically cooperate with the Zionist government against its eventual enemies in possible conflicts.

  • 2022-01-27

    The Iran Project (IP) and the European Leadership Network (ELN) have released the findings of a major three-year study of missiles in the Middle East. Examining the rapidly changing role of these weapons systems in the region, the project has involved intensive research and convening since 2017. The various changes in regional security and diplomacy since then have only confirmed that a multilateral approach would best cultivate and sustain progress in reducing the risks attributed to the growing proliferation and development of these weapons. We have convened some of the world’s top nuclear, missile, and regional experts and former government officials across the Euro-Atlantic community and come to a clear conclusion: there is no quick fix to the ballistic missile problem and fresh ideas must be carefully and positively considered.

  • 2022-01-13

    The United States military identified Iranian intelligence as being behind a group of hackers widely known as MuddyWater on Wednesday, confirming previous reports by private cybersecurity groups

  • 2022-01-13

    The efforts of Turkey, Israel, and Iran to manage relations with Moscow (and vice versa) could ultimately depend on the ongoing talks on Ukraine between the White House and the Kremlin. Russia’s demand that the Biden Administration renounce any plan for Ukrainian membership in NATO will complicate any bid to reach a compromise, a point underscored by Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent statement that Moscow’s demand is unacceptable to the United States and its NATO partners. Blinken is correct when he notes that Moscow must know that no such demand can possibly provide a path forward. But the exit ramp off the road to a more dangerous US-Russian collision is elusive at present. In the meantime, the Ukrainian conflict will have ripple effects in the Middle East and in Vienna. Moscow could conclude that the dangers of failure in Vienna are too great and thus will still try to get Tehran to back down from some of its demands. But if the Ukraine situation gets any hotter, Russia might be disinclined to push Iran toward compromise. Moscow, which not so long ago envisioned itself as a peacemaker in the Middle East, now has far less space to leverage its relationships with the region’s rivals. The lesson seems to be that even if the United States no longer has the clout it once enjoyed in the region, the course of US-Russian relations remains vital to the prospects for peacemaking in the Middle East and other volatile regions of the globe.

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