Abstract of Lectures:
“The Storm in the Middle East”
The world today stands before a dilemma of how to respond to radical Islamist movements that are taking over areas and countries in the greater Middle East, from Marrakesh to Bangladesh, from the Atlantic to the Himalayas. I seek to take a long view of the upheavals in the region, and to assess the implications for Western and Israeli security policy.
Among my conclusions are the determination that internal regional processes and external forces have combined to create a “perfect storm” that will last for decades at least and that there is little that the West or Israel can or should do to attempt to direct the course of events. Wise policymakers will focus on identifying the most salient and dangerous trends and conflict zones, and seek to prevent even greater disasters; while exploiting opportunities for new and temporary alliances, as such opportunities emerge.
Israel as a little state should not try to take the lead against the radical Islamic wave, but as the most stable one in the region Israel can find itself as the an anchor for some of its neighbors.
“The National Security Challenges of Israel”
This lecture reviews the main challenges to Israel’s national security following the turmoil in the Arab world. The first issue is the managing the relationship with its main ally – the US. Washington seems to adopt inconsistent and confused policies toward the Middle East and is perceived to be in decline. The second issue, most pressing at the regional level, is dealing with the Iranian quest for a nuclear bomb and the failure of the international community to put a stop to it. The potential for growing terrorism stemming from the collapse of the statist order is the fourth problem. A new challenge is the changing environment in the Eastern Mediterranean that poses a threat to Israel’s sea lines. Finally, the Palestinian issue constitutes primarily a soft power challenge to Israel’s international position.
About the Speakers:
YAACOV AMIDROR recently retired as National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel and the Head of the National Security Council. In March 2014, he joined the BESA Center as the Anne and Greg Rosshandler Senior Fellow. Major General (Res) Amidror (66) served with the Israel Defense Forces for 36 years (1966-2002). During his long military career, General Amidror was commander of the IDF Military Colleges, military secretary to the Minister of Defense, director of the Intelligence Analysis Division (responsible for annual National Intelligence Assessment) in IDF Military Intelligence, head of a large scale technology project, intelligence chief of the Northern Command, and head of the “Devil’s Advocate” branch of Military Intelligence. Since retiring from the armed forces, General Amidror has published “Reflections on Army and Security” (Hebrew); and “Intelligence, Theory and Practice” (Hebrew), along with journal articles on strategy and intelligence matters.
EFRAIM INBAR is a professor of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University and Director of its renowned Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (the BESA Center). Inbar’s area of specialization is Middle Eastern strategic issues with a special interest in the politics and strategy of Israeli national security. He has written over 80 articles in professional journals and edited volumes. Prof. Inbar served in the Israel Defense Force (IDF) as a paratrooper. He was a member of the Political Strategic Committee of the National Planning Council and the Chair of the Committee for the National Security Curriculum at the Ministry of Education. He served on the Academic Committee of the History Department of the IDF and as the President of the Israel Association of International Studies. Prof. Inbar is widely quoted in the Israeli and international press.