Publications - Articles

Theater and Politics in Oslo

Jewish Review of Books, Summer 2017

In November 1995, the Dayton Agreement was signed, ending the war in Bosnia. This major achievement of American diplomacy was made possible by effective geopolitics and the diplomatic skills of America’s chief negotiator, the late Richard Holbrooke. It put a stop not only to armed conflict, but to civilian massacres and ethnic cleansing. Nonetheless, there is no award-winning Broadway show called Dayton, nor is there likely to be one. There is, however, Oslo. J. T. Rogers’s play dramatizes the negotiations that led to the far-less successful first Oslo Accord, which was signed by Israel’s foreign minister, Shimon Peres, and the Palestinian leader Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) in Norway, and sealed shortly thereafter in the famous Clinton-facilitated handshake between Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993.

Syria and the Six-Day War: A 50-years perspective

Markaz, Tuesday, May 30, 2017

From 1963 to 1967, the radicalization of Syrian politics and the frailty of the Syrian state played a major role in producing the Middle Eastern crisis of May 1967 and in pushing the region into the Six-Day War in early June that year. Since March 2011, the frailty of the Syrian state has resulted in a civil war that has become the single most important issue in the Middle East. This is the thread that connects the events of the mid 1960s to the current Syrian crisis.

50 Voices 50 Years

May 2017

Fifty years later, Israel lives and copes with the mixed consequences of the Six Day War. The war ended a grave crisis, established Israel as a major military and regional power, upgraded its relationship with the United States and laid the basis for an Arab Israeli peace process by providing Israel with the bargaining chips it had not possessed at the end of the War of Independence. The concept of "territories for peace" has underlain the process that led to peace with Egypt and Jordan, to mutual recognition between Israel and Palestinian nationalism and to significant normalization in Israel's relations with parts of the Arab world .

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.