Kingdom Come: Saudi Arabia worries about its future

April 28, 2016

Last week, US President Obama visited Saudi Arabia – at a time when it is generally agreed that ties between Riyadh and Washington have been at a low ebb. A few days later, Saudi Arabia announced a new plan to try to wean its economy off its dependence on oil exports – a plan said to be the brainchild of Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the 31-year old son of King Salman who is looking increasingly like the power behind the throne. This Update looks at the future of the Saudi kingdom both in terms of the apparent decline of the long-standing relations with the US, and economic changes in the region.

Concerns rise over Iranian missiles

Concerns rise over Iranian missiles

April 15, 2016

Since the completion of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, last July, an ongoing concern has been the continuation of the Iranian ballistic missile program, with provocative missile tests by Iran last October and in March. For instance, last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the region to attempt to mollify Arab state criticism from Arab states of US handling of the Iran nuclear deal, including issues regarding missiles.

This Update features some analyses of the concerns about the missiles and suggestions about what more can be done.

Is the latest Palestinian terror wave ending?

Is the latest Palestinian terror wave ending?

April 14, 2016

Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service reported to Israel’s cabinet on Sunday that there had been a sharp fall in the number of major terror attacks over the past month. This has prompted speculation that the wave of near daily Palestinian terror attacks, often by lone wolves armed with knives or other simple weapons, that has been occurring since last October may be coming to an end. This Update looks at the evidence for this view, and some explanations for the decline now being offered.

An Australian Premier's Trip: The Israeli Perspective

An Australian Premier’s Trip: The Israeli Perspective

April 14, 2016 | Gareth Narunsky

NSW Premier Mike Baird’s trip to Israel last week – the first by a sitting state premier – generated much media interest here at home. Here’s how media in Israel reported on the visit:

Palestinian Authority Officials and Official Media Respond to Belgian Atrocities by Blaming Israel

Palestinian Authority Officials and Official Media Respond to Belgian Atrocities by Blaming Israel

April 8, 2016 | Glen Falkenstein

“The kind of violence we saw yesterday, the failure to condemn it, the rhetoric that incites that violence, the retribution that it generates, has to stop… This cannot become an accepted modus operandi.”

Israeli Democracy under threat?/ Abbas under fire for talking to Israelis

Israeli Democracy under threat?/ Abbas under fire for talking to Israelis

April 8, 2016

This Update features an important essay discussing the oft-heard claim – originating primarily from the political extreme left in Israel, but often echoed by commentators abroad – that Israel’s democratic institutions are being eroded rapidly by various measures put in place by right-of-centre governments of recent years. It also addresses the recent controversy in Israel over a soldier charged with manslaughter after shooting dead an apparently disarmed terrorist in Hebron, and the significance of the reaction to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas’ interview on Israeli television last week.

Reviewing Implementation of the Iran Nuclear Deal

Reviewing Implementation of the Iran Nuclear Deal

April 7, 2016

This Update features three pieces commenting on the status of efforts to implement the Iran nuclear deal, just a little over one year since the preliminary framework for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was agreed on last April, and three months after the deal went into effect in January.

Israel’s gas deal at risk?

Israel’s gas deal at risk?

April 1, 2016 | Sharyn Mittelman

Israel’s gas finds in the East Mediterranean could set the stage for the Jewish State to become a regional energy powerhouse, creating new strategic and economic opportunities. However, following an Israeli Supreme Court ruling, that potential appears at risk.

The Hamas time bomb in Gaza/ Palestinian views on terror

The Hamas time bomb in Gaza/ Palestinian views on terror

April 1, 2016

This Update features two valuable pieces on the situation in Gaza – which looks very likely to deteriorate into another round of conflict in the not too distant future. It also includes an important analysis of the polling data on Palestinian views on the current round of terrorist violence – which also offers bad news about the prospects of a lull in the violence emanating from the West Bank.

Brussels: Preventing similar attacks

Brussels: Preventing similar attacks, and what Israeli experience can teach

March 24, 2016

While much ink is already being spilled about the latest ISIS terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday, this Update tries to add to the coverage by offering the views of counter-terror experts as to what went wrong in Belgium to allow these attacks, and what more might have been done to prevent them.

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