Since the United States declared the opening of its new embassy in Jerusalem, violence has broken out along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, where thousands of protesters have gathered for months for what they have dubbed “The Great March of Return” [to Israel]. Earlier this week, Israeli ...

The White House is correct in pointing out the weaknesses of the JCPOA, some of which have even been candidly acknowledged by former U.S. officials who worked on the agreement.  Yet, the question is not whether the agreement is perfect - but whether the alternatives would better serve the interests ...

Bottom Line: Syria’s chemical weapons program not only contributes to a tragic humanitarian situation, but its uninhibited use and maintenance creates strategic implications for the West and Israel. Limited military response seeking to degrade Syria’s stockpiles and logistical facilities sends a message, but Assad has shown his intent to continue ...

BRUSSELS – Director of Israel’s Ministry of Intelligence Chagai Tzuriel came to this European city to get the word out that if Iran tries to build a long-term presence in Syria, Israel would have to act – a conflict that could possibly be avoided if U.S. troops stay there. “Right ...

Just last month, the long-simmering Israeli-Iranian conflict came out of the shadows when Iran sent a drone across the Jordanian border into Israel, and Israel retaliated with air strikes on several targets including the Iranian drone operators at a Syrian base in Palmyra, northeast of Damascus. The two sides appear ...

In an unexpected turn of events, the sequence of dramatically different policies of the Obama and Trump Administrations has exacerbated the problem of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. President Barack Obama’s major legacy in the nuclear realm was the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which rolled back Iran’s ...

When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visits President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday, they might commiserate over the domestic investigations each are facing as well as take great satisfaction over Trump’s affirmation of the opening of a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s existence this ...

Bottom Line: Relations between Egypt and Israel have often been referred to as a “cold peace,” but the emergence of mutual security threats over the past few years has facilitated a growing partnership between the former enemies. Specifically, Egypt and Israel have expanded their cooperation on the security front to combat ...

Bottom Line: As the Syrian regime consolidates power, with the help of Russia, Iran, and Iranian proxy Hezbollah, its combined forces are growing bolder, presenting an increasing strategic threat to Israel. In response, Israel has begun adjusting its policy of selective intervention, recently targeting Assad air defense systems in response ...

It was no surprise when two strategic vectors clashed this weekend on Israel’s northern front: The Iranian determination to build an advanced military force in Syria collided with Israeli determination to prevent that from happening. On a broader strategic level a conflict of this sort was expected, though the timing ...

WASHINGTON — The Palestinian representative says peace talks with Israel can only start as long as other countries – not just the U.S. and Israel – are at the table. “There is no way but an international table to implement international resolutions,” Palestine Liberation Organization Ambassador Husam Zomlot said Thursday, ...

The American vice president delivered another kick in the diplomatic gut to Palestinians, when he announced this week that the U.S. embassy would open in Jerusalem by 2019. Vice President Mike Pence made the statement to the Israeli Knesset during a visit to the Mideast – an unnecessary provocation likely ...

Two recent events illustrate the futility of the Palestinian leadership’s current course in its decades-long quest for a genuinely independent Palestinian state, and highlight the urgent need for dramatic action if they are ever to achieve it. The first is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current six-day visit to India ...

The Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has exacerbated existing tensions between Turkey and Israel, only 18 months after the two countries reconciled. Bucking years of precedent by the international community, President Donald Trump’s announcement provoked wide criticism and prompted an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Istanbul. Turkish ...

President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has left Palestinian leaders questioning the United States’ ability to effectively spearhead any future peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Trump’s announcement has also sparked protests in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which could ...

The decision by President Donald Trump to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could give the U.S. added leverage to demand difficult concessions from the Israelis, possibly breathing new life into the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. However, it could also render the U.S. an untrusted broker, unable to wrangle necessary concessions ...

President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel Wednesday, prompting approval from Israel, and a building rumble of protest across the Arab world. The following is adapted from a conversation with Cipher Brief network expert Farah Pandith, who warns Americans to stand by for blowback. I think ...

From the Arab perspective—and my own—the timing of President Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem makes little sense. The peace process has been slow in developing under Trump, if it has developed at all, offering little sign of any progress that could temper the furor such a decision might generate. Further, ...

The Cipher Brief reached out to network experts retired Amb. James Jeffrey and CIA veterans John Bennett and Emile Nakhleh for their thoughts on the Trump administration’s imminent announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite Palestinian objections that such a move ignores Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem. Among ...

On August 21, Hussein Jaber Ansari, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, arrived in Beirut for a two-day official visit. A detail that did not escape notice: during his 48 hours on the ground in Lebanon, the Iranian diplomat failed to schedule a meeting with Saad Hariri, ...

On August 15, Israel’s Channel 2 news revealed satellite photos of an Iranian missile production facility near the town of Baniyas in northwestern Syria, capable of producing long-range rockets. Iran’s formidable military presence in Syria is nothing new, but the revelation of this production facility underlines how deeply the war ...

In a speech on August 13, Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s Secretary General, reassured his public that Israel will not attack Hezbollah and Lebanon, arguing that Israeli officials believe “any war on Lebanon, no matter its objectives, will not be worth the costs Israel will incur in such a war.” In other ...

Hezbollah - an Iran-backed militia that controls southern Lebanon - boasts a medium-sized army and a whopping arsenal of up to 150,000 rockets and missiles. Now, as certain fronts of the Syrian civil war begin to stabilize along "de-confliction zones" sponsored by Russia, Iran, and Turkey, the possibility that Hezbollah's ...

On July 23, an Israeli security guard shot and killed two Jordanians in the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman. In the aftermath of this incident, tensions between Israel and Jordan have spiked, leading to perhaps the most serious bilateral crisis since 1997, when Israel attempted to assassinate former Hamas leader ...

The recent flare-up at the Temple Mount, also known Haram Al Sharif, in Jerusalem reminds American foreign policy makers of the sensitivity of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Israel increased security on the Haram Al Sharif last month after a shooting at the holy site left two Israeli policemen dead, prompting protests ...

Israel faces a vast array of terrorist threats from groups such as Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and ISIS in Syria and the Sinai, as well as from lone-wolf attackers. The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Dr. Anat Berko, counterterrorism expert and current member of the ...

Jordan finds itself at a precarious strategic position. The Hashemite Kingdom is located at the heart of a degenerating region and has absorbed millions of refugees despite a floundering economy. This state of affairs has led Jordan to increase economic cooperation with Israel, as it attempts to offset some of ...

Rather than take a hard look at past failures and where to go from here, Middle East “experts” are using the Six-Day War’s 50th anniversary to regurgitate old talking points, cast blame on predictably ideological lines and propose meaningless paths back to the negotiating table. In reality, there will be ...

President Donald Trump heads to The Vatican and Brussels on Wednesday, after wrapping up a trip to the Middle East, which started in Saudi Arabia and ended in Israel. The President delivered a speech on his vision for U.S.-Muslim relations in Riyadh, before heading to Jerusalem. There, he pledged to ...

A quarter of a century after the normalization of relations between India and Israel, the strength of Indo-Israeli ties can be measured by the continuing attention and coverage the subject receives in the media and in academic circles. While the scope of bilateral trade is not significant (hovering around $6 ...

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi is at the White House on Monday with the high hopes of receiving strong support from U.S. President Donald Trump. One of the major issues that the Egyptian President will surely stress to attain this favor is the sustainment of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. While ...

Contacts between India and the Jewish people, whether in ancient Israel, in India itself, or in the Diaspora, go back to remote antiquity. But it was only in the 20th century, when both India (1947) and Israel (1948) achieved independence that these contacts became geopolitically relevant.  Today, there are four ...

The Cipher Brief sat down with S. Samuel Rajiv, Associate Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses based in New Delhi, India, to discuss the deepening relationship between India and Israel. According to Rajiv, “Israel is an important partner for India as it aims to achieve its developmental ...

With the Middle East mired in a constant state of turmoil, reoccurring tectonic shifts across the region have encouraged new partnerships, sometimes between unlikely players. One such blossoming relationship is the India-Israel alliance. “Israel and India have a firm alliance, between two peoples and two states with illustrious and greatly ...

With no firm commitment to a two-state solution, U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled a potential shift in U.S. policy in the Arab-Israeli conflict. It was the first meeting between the two leaders since Trump took office. "I'm looking at two states and one state,” ...

Among his numerous campaign promises, U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem continues to reverberate across domestic and international politics. “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem, and we will send a clear signal that ...

The Cipher Brief sat down with Aaron David Miller, Former advisor to Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State on Arab-Israeli negotiations to discuss the potential for reviving Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under the Trump Administration. According to Miller, “The Israeli-Palestinian peace process, can’t be much deader than it is now” and we ...

As has been the case for every one of his predecessors, Donald Trump will attempt to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some resisted for a while, i.e., George W. Bush, while others jumped into the fray fresh after inauguration, such as Barack Obama. Each eventually tried and failed, President Obama most ...

A two-state solution is the only way to secure Israeli-Palestinian peace, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday as he defended the Obama administration's approach to the conflict and decision not to veto a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlement policies. That two-state solution, however, is "in serious jeopardy," Kerry, ...

In a surprising move last week, Egypt postponed a UN Security Council vote on a resolution it had proposed demanding an end to Israeli settlement building in the West Bank. Although the resolution eventually passed, the event provided another of example of the increasingly close cooperation between Egypt and Israel. ...

Despite a historically tenuous relationship, current ties between Israel and Egypt are far better, explains David Schenker, Director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. In an interview with The Cipher Brief, Schenker explained that while “cooperation on the Sinai has largely driven ...

Although relations between Egypt and Israel have often been referred to as a “cold peace,” the emergence of mutual security threats over the past few years has facilitated a growing partnership between the former enemies. In fact, since Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi assumed office in June 2014, many foreign ...

The Cipher Brief spoke to Perry Cammack, a fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, about the current state of Egypt-Israeli relations. According to Cammack, Egypt-Israeli security cooperation has “in many ways never been better” and that the relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin ...

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump refers to himself as “a big fan of Israel.”  He supports moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that would undoubtedly upset the Arabs.   But he also has said he would be “sort of a neutral guy” in any peace talks between ...

With a new administration set to enter the White House early next year, there is hope for a renewal of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.  One of the key players who will play a role in any potential negotiations, Hamas, is set to undergo an election of its own in the ...

The Cipher Brief sat down with Robert Richer, former Associate Deputy Director for Operations at the CIA, to discuss impending changes atop the Hamas leadership and the potential for a restart of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. With peace talks “dead in the water” and living conditions broaching unbearable in the Gaza ...

The upcoming internal Hamas elections, which will be conducted over a number of months in a secretive, phased process, will take place in a radically altered regional landscape. In 2013, when Hamas – the Palestinian offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood – conducted its last elections, it seemed to be on ...

Russia is playing a game of Bismarckian realpolitik in the Middle East – political maneuvering based on current conditions, rather than on ideological premises, that uses the exertion of power to gain benefits for one’s country. Russian President Vladimir Putin is forming as many alliances as he can, in order ...

As threats in the Middle East continue to loom large, Jordan’s successes in battling ISIS on the frontlines and promoting cooperation in the Middle East have proven critical. Jordan, which avoided much of the turmoil introduced by the Arab Spring, has served as an indispensible ally for the United States ...

Jordan’s past experience battling al-Qaeda in Iraq has prepared it for its ongoing offensive against ISIS, explained Dr. Musa Keilani to The Cipher Brief. A former Jordanian Ambassador to Bahrain, Dr. Keilani said that there is popular support in Jordan for airstrikes targeting ISIS and that Jordan has “played a ...