Hard Questions, Tough Answers

Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

April 13, 2015 - The region and the Palestinian issue

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This week, Alpher discusses how religious and tribal wars in Iraq, Syria, Egyptian Sinai, Yemen and Libya, and Obama and Netanyahu being at loggerheads over the Iran nuclear deal affects the Palestinian issue; how these events serve as a legitimate distraction, including the current fighting in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus; how they serve as an excuse for Israel to do nothing on the Palestinian issue; what is Qatar doing that should command our interest, including the Gaza aspect; why, despite these tensions, the IDF is facilitating the expansion of PA security forces’ area of responsibility; and April genocide memorials of the HOlocaust and the Armenian genocide, and the exploitation of Israeli fears.

 

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April 6, 2015 - The Iran nuclear agreement

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This week, Alpher discusses the positive aspects of the agreement announced in Lausanne last week from Israel’s standpoint; Netanyahu's response; what the agreement’s drawbacks are where Israel can make a case for a tougher approach; if the Iran agreement could affect Netanyahu’s coalition calculations; and is Netanyahu more likely now to be pressured by Obama and Kerry on the Palestinian issue.

 

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This week, Alpher discusses how significant is it that Saudi Arabia has put together a ten-nation Sunni coalition to fight Iran-backed Zaidi-Shiite forces in Yemen; how does one explain Saudi and Egyptian alarm, given that Yemen is a poor, dysfunctional backwater parts of which are virtually unconquerable due to geography; what is unusual about the participation of Turkey, Qatar and Sudan in the Saudi-led coalition; if a joint Arab army is a serious proposition; what the Saudi-led war effort has accomplished thus far and what strategic challenges remain; if a Saudi-Iranian proxy war could spread elsewhere in the Middle East; if there is really solid evidence of Iranian participation on the side of the Houthis in Yemen; the Israeli angle to the Yemen struggle; and if there is a Palestinian angle.

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March 23, 2015 - Israeli election aftermath: US-Israel relations

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This week, Alpher discusses lessons learned by Israel's center-left following its defeat to Netanyahu; Low likelihood of a Netanyahu-Herzog unity government; The state of US-Israel relations following Netanyahu's statements on the two-state solution and on Arab citizens' voting. 

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March 18, 2015 - Israel’s Knesset elections

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 This week, Alpher discusses what happened in these elections*; what the next government is likely to look like; how Netanyahu engineered such a dramatic come-from-behind victory, despite the polls giving Labor (Zionist Camp) an advantage almost until election day; whether there are winners here, besides Netanyahu; how Herzog and Lapid are likely to respond to their setbacks, and what “losers” on the right who are nevertheless likely to join the coalition are going to do; how to explain the phenomenon of Israel's seeming to be set on a right-wing course, with no end in sight; and assuming Netanyahu now forms a fairly cohesive right-wing coalition, what are the main challenges it will face.

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March 9, 2015 - Netanyahu’s speech to Congress: looking beyond the commentary heard thus far

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This week, Alpher discusses what was wrong with Netanyahu’s speech before the US Congress last week; what were some possibly positive contributions in the speech from the standpoint of Israelis who don’t support the prime minister politically; what issues the event raised; and significant political dilemmas framed by the speech.

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March 2, 2015 - Meanwhile, back home in Israel

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This week, Alpher dicusses Netanyahu's approach to rallying support against a prospective US-led nuclear deal with Iran and getting himself reelected back home in Israel by speaking this week to the United States Congress; why Netanyahu can’t affect the nuclear deal and what damage he is doing to the strategic relationship between the US and Israel; What challenges from Iran in the Middle East Netanyahu is neglecting, and how this is related to the US; the Israeli public’s response to Netanyahu’s congressional grandstanding and the administration’s angry reproaches; why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems right now to be all about money and if there is a timely US-Israel angle here too.

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February 23, 2015 - Knesset election assessment

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This week, Alpher discusses the likelihood Israel will produce a government capable of moving forward toward a two-state solution; whether a right-wing-led government is more likely at this point; what, at this point in time, is the most likely coalition to emerge from these elections; what surprises he envisions in these elections; the possibility of the United States and the international community ratcheting up the pressure on the next Israeli government; and what are the consequences thus far of the tension over Iran between Netanyahu and the Obama administration that has reportedly brought US-Israeli relations to a new low.

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February 16, 2015 - With one month to go, Netanyahu’s election manipulations

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With one month to go, Netanyahu’s election manipulations

 

This week, Alpher discusses Netanyahu's real reasons for speaking to Congress next month; the damage the Congress speech initiative has done to US-Israel relations; whether Israel has any serious objective criticism of US policy regarding Iran, or whether it is all election hype and politics; and what message was PM Netanyahu sending the electorate last week, when he attempted to manipulate the Israel Prize for literature and weaken “leftist” trends?

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This week, Alpher discusses Jordan being dragged into the Syria conflict on the ground in response to the Islamic State’s horrific execution of its pilot; how the escalated fighting in Sinai between the Egyptian army and Ansar Beit al-Maqdes, which has pledged fealty to Islamic State, affects Israel; whether Israel is affected by Russia’s economic crisis; and offers an election update

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