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.

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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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Codes of violence

This week, Alpher discusses whether there are new components to the Israeli-Hezbollah equation and if the attack of the IDF convoy is the end of this round of violence between them; how that relates to Iran; how Alpher understands the Washington Post’s revelation that the CIA and the Mossad collaborated in the 2009 assassination in Damascus of Hezbollah military chief Imad Moughniyeh; what his take on the film American Sniper and its controversial view of several aspects of US military involvement in Iraq; and why the recent Houthi coup in Yemen brings back interesting memories among a select group of Israeli security veterans.

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This week, Alpher discusses the repercussions of the invitation to Netanyahu to address Congress; the Mossad advisory against escalating sanctions and Israel’s tactics against Iran; the attack last week across the Golan border that was attributed to Israel that resulted in the death of an Iranian Quds Force general; strategic ramifications for the elections given the united electoral list of Arab citizens of Israel and the Labor primaries having produced a list with an unusually large, young contingent of women reform advocates; the strategic balance sheet that King Salman inherits after the death of Saudi King Abdullah last week and a coup staged in Yemen by a Zaidi-Shiite sect;

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