Publications - Op-Eds

"The Devil We Know” Revisited

Moran Azoulay

Israeli Thinking on the Future of the Assad Regime

INSS Insight No. 427, May 19, 2013

On May 17, 2013, The Times of London quoted “Israeli intelligence sources” who argued that “an intact, but weakened, Assad regime would be preferable for the country and for the whole troubled region.” The paper went on to quote “a senior Israeli intelligence officer” in the north of the country: “Better the devil we know than the demons we can only imagine if Syria falls into chaos and the extremists from across the Arab world gain a foothold there.” We do not know who the Israeli sources were, but the Times story provides a window into the deliberations and disagreements within Israel’s national security establishment as to the country’s priorities with regard to Syria.


Syria: Time for Israel to reassess

Moran Azoulay

Times of Israel, May 15, 2013

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s brief trip to Russia on May 14 highlights the change that has recently taken place in Israel’s view of and policy toward the Syrian civil war. The change has been given further volume by the prominence of the Syria issue during Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s meeting with President Obama and by the dispatching of Russian ships in the direction of Syria. Israel clearly now finds itself in the midst of a far more complex regional and international game.

The US and Israel differ on Syria and that’s fine

Moran Azoulay

The Times of Israel, April 9, 2013

As the Syrian civil war enters its third year, the US and Israel are pursuing increasingly different policies. This is the product of diverging outlooks, not conflicting interests. During the past two years Washington and Jerusalem conducted low profile, often passive, policies in the Syrian crisis. More recently pressures have been mounting on the Obama Administration to become more involved in putting an end to the human tragedy and explosive crisis in Syria, while Israel adheres to a policy of careful watchfulness .

Obama’s visit is moment of truth for Netanyahu

Moran Azoulay

Announcing the president’s visit is an unprecedented attempt to shape an Israeli coalition amenable to the peace process. Resolving the conflict, in Obama’s view, is key to the U.S.’s relationship with the Arab and Muslim worlds; for Israel, the dividend would be smoother coordination over Iran and Syria.


Haaretz, February 6, 2013


The White House's surprising, dramatic announcement this week that President Obama will come to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan has had an immediate impact on Israel's domestic political agenda and on the larger Middle Eastern political and diplomatic landscape.

The Drone In the Desert

Project Syndicate

TEL AVIV, October 11, 2012 – A drone recently penetrated Israel’s airspace from the Mediterranean. It was allowed to fly for about half an hour over southern Israel before being shot down by the Israeli air force over a sparely populated area. It is still not known who dispatched the drone and from where, but it is now assumed that it was launched from Lebanon, either by Hezbollah, acting in Iran's service, or by forces of the Iranian regime itself.