Last month, the Israeli navy took control of a Panamanian ship off the coast of Sudan that was carrying Iranian munitions to Gaza. The Red Sea operation underscored the growth of the navy’s role in Israel’s power projection, which has accelerated in the 21st century after many decades in which maritime strategy was something of an afterthought for Israel’s military. A maritime perspective was central in pre-state Zionist strategic thinking, because the seas were the gateway for Jewish immigration into Palestine. However, once the state of Israel was created in 1948, the seas and the navy lost their significance in […]

It was no surprise when pro-Russian forces seized eight European military monitors in eastern Ukraine last week. A growing number of international observers have deployed to Ukraine over the past two months, and it was only a matter of time before some were snatched. A United Nations envoy, Robert Serry, had to make a quick exit from Crimea in early March after an encounter with a posse of armed men. The monitors’ captors have accused them of being NATO spies and forced them to make a humiliating appearance before the press, although one officer has since been released for medical […]

Launching a new round of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians last July, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry set a deadline for the two sides to reach a peace deal within nine months. Today, that deadline is passing with the sides seemingly no closer to resolving their long-running dispute. Israel suspended the negotiations last Thursday, after rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas announced that they would form a unity government in the coming weeks. The move to form a unity government presented perhaps the final complication to the United States’ recent push for peace. Hamas refuses to recognize Israel […]

President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia this past week seemed to push the “legacy” cliche button in the minds of editors everywhere. I’ve lost track of how many times I was asked about it, and, embarrassingly, the question took me by surprise the first several times. We’re still six months from the midterms, after all. For right now, at least, a more interesting question to ask might be: In national security and foreign policy, how has Obama set the stage so that he and his team can construct a legacy over the next two years? Presidential administrations always deny that […]

The standoff in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and the central government in Kiev is far from resolved. But whatever its outcome, NATO needs to take urgent measures to deter Russian military intervention in Moldova and reinforce its security guarantees to NATO members Bulgaria and Romania. These two countries are no less vulnerable to Russian pressure than the NATO members to their north, namely Poland and the Baltic states. In addition, Bulgaria and Romania’s strong support is needed to advance Western goals in the Balkans, the Caspian region and Central Asia. Ideally NATO would reassure Moscow that Moldova will not […]

Russia is on the hunt again, determined to engulf another part of Ukraine and possibly more. Moscow’s complex, multidimensional offensive uses intimidation, misinformation and any organization or group that can serve its interests. As Ukraine teeters on the edge of bankruptcy, Russian President Vladimir Putin is tightening the economic screws by threatening to require advance payment for essential natural gas shipments. Pro-Russian separatists have launched demonstrations across eastern Ukraine, attempting to goad the government into an overreaction that could give Moscow an alibi for open invasion. Meanwhile, Russian and pro-Russian troops have seized government buildings and police stations, engaging in […]

From the start of John Kerry’s push for a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, nobody except the secretary of state held very high hopes for success. Kerry declared confidently he expected a comprehensive deal, a “final status agreement over the course of the next nine months.” Everyone else responded to his optimism with little more than a benign smile. Eight months later, what the parties have reached instead of an agreement is a deep impasse. The inevitable question arises: What’s next? The nine-month period concludes at the end of April, and negotiations have produced what seemed almost impossible: a […]

While Americans debate when and where the United States should use drones to strike at insurgents and terrorists who cannot be reached by other means, they may be overlooking an important trend: the move to supply a targeted killing capability to allied nations. This began when the Bush administration decided to provide technology and advice to help the government of Colombia kill the leaders of its narco-insurgency. Today, the U.S. military is also helping the armed forces of Yemen field systems for the targeted killing of anti-government extremists associated with al-Qaida. This is the beginning of a trend, as more […]

Advocates working to end a sad chapter in American history were given new hope last year when President Barack Obama renewed his push to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. The substantive challenges to closing the prison remain, though events have shifted the risk calculus to favor closure. And even though the president is in a far weaker position politically than he was when he took office, different public attitudes on national security issues should make it easier to close Guantanamo. What seemed a hopeless and nearly forgotten project for Obama a year ago—closing Guantanamo by the end of his […]

With Chad’s announcement in early April that it was pulling its peacekeeping troops out of the Central African Republic (CAR), the country finally seemed to be bending to widespread criticism of the actions of its soldiers. Things had gone from bad to worse for Chad’s armed forces, the ANT, from a high point last year when its role in support of France’s Operation Serval in Mali was widely praised. The ANT’s achievement in Mali has been overshadowed by recent events in the CAR, including reports from the African Union’s MISCA peacekeeping force in Bangui that Chadian soldiers in a suburb […]

In the wake of Russia’s military intervention into Ukraine, no states are feeling as unsettled by the fear of a revanchist Russia as Moscow’s erstwhile conquests along the Baltic and Black Seas. Though some of these states can now look to NATO as their safety net, nonmember Georgia, itself a recent victim of Russian aggression, appears isolated and badly exposed. Russia’s newly heightened aggressiveness could not have come at a worse time for Tbilisi. Just over a month ago, the context looked remarkably different. Though still smarting from the devastation wrought by Russia’s 2008 invasion, Georgia had managed to restart […]

The effects of Russia’s military takeover of Crimea are being felt far beyond Ukraine’s now-disputed borders. The crisis has put a spotlight on NATO, placing it once again at the center of European security discussions. For Russia, the move into Ukraine comes with great risk, as Moscow’s control of European energy supplies has weakened in recent years while a long-running military modernization program has yet to transform Russian forces. And in Washington, next steps depend on an assessment of exactly where U.S. interests lie. This special report reviews the key regional actors in the Ukraine crisis through recently published articles. […]