Yesterday, after Israel's election committee published its final results from the election last Tuesday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin gave incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the first mandate to try and form a new governing coalition. This follows an intense but unsuccessful effort by Rivlin to broker a national unity government between Netanyahu and his chief rival, Benny Gantz.
This Update is devoted to analysis of the US Middle East policy in the wake of the firing of US National Security Advisor John Bolton by President Donald Trump on Wednesday - with a special focus on the future on the US policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran to renegotiate the controversial 2015 JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) nuclear deal.
This Update deal with the situation of Hezbollah in its confrontation with Israel in the wake of a complex series of incidents last Sunday when the group launched cross-border anti-tank missile fire to try to take revenge on Israel for alleged Israeli attacks on Hezbollah sites the previous weekend.
Last weekend saw four separate attacks on Iran-linked targets in Lebanon. Syria and Iraq which many sources have attributed to Israel. This Update follows up by looking at the broader implications of recent events in terms of Israel's general strategy for confronting the build-up of Iranian-affiliated forces, bases and military manufacturing capabilities in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
This Update deals with some recent analysis of Israeli policy toward Syria as the civil war there winds down, and some specific concerns vis-a-vis Syria for Israel, other regional actors, and the international community more broadly.
This Update is focussed on the Iranian approach to the "tanker war" in the Persian Gulf - and to the seldom understood reality that Iran is not merely seizing and attacking tankers in response to the pressure it is under, but is actually asserting a direct claim to control and ownership of the economically vital Strait of Hormuz and wider Persian Gulf.
This Update is focused on analysing the wider picture behind some recent events affecting Israel's defence strategy - namely, claims Israel launched raids on Iranian targets in Iraq over recent weeks, reports that Hezbollah has now established a presence in Syria on the Golan border with Israel, and the recent successful test of Israel's new Arrow-3 missile defence system in Alaska
In the wake of yet more tensions in the Persian Gulf - including Iran's seizure of a UAE tanker, and a US claim to have downed an Iranian drone - this Update offers some views and reporting on US and Western efforts to manage that tension.
This Update features two pieces on the state of the current Hamas-Israel confrontation around Gaza, and the current strategies of the two parties - five years after the last major Gaza war... We also offer a unique insider's perspective on the Bahrain "Peace to Prosperity" workshop
As expected for several weeks, this week the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had breached the 300kg limit on stocks of enriched uranium it is allowed to hold under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear plan.