2020 challenges and opportunities for Israel


December 27, 2019

JERUSALEM, Israel—Experts at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, an Israeli foreign affairs and defense think tank with close ties to the Israeli security establishment, believe that in 2020 Iran will escalate its enrichment of uranium and intensify brazen IRGC and Qods force operations against Western and Israeli targets. Israel, they say, must be ready to tackle Iran on its own and fight a pre-emptive warfare with Hizballah.

On the other hand, Tehran could agree in the latter half of 2020 to talks with the U.S. on the nuclear accord and other matters, if Iran faces extreme economic peril and political crisis, or if a Trump re-election victory seems assured. JISS says that Israel must be prepared for this “problematic possibility” of renewed U.S.-Iran talks, and work to ensure full coordination with Washington regarding the demands to be made of Iran.

These are among the likely developments that JISS experts foresee in their forecast for the Mideast strategic environment in 2020. Other “trends and twists” in the think tank’s forecast include:

• A succession crisis in the Palestinian Authority, which may require IDF intervention to prevent a Hamas takeover.

• The possibility that Russia may move to actively oppose Israel’s freedom of action against Iranian targets in Syria.

• A major terrorist attack in the U.S. or Europe by ISIS or other Islamic groups, which shifts the global political dynamic and brings about renewed Western intervention in the Mideast.

• A weakening of the long-standing bipartisan Democratic-Republican consensus of support for Israel, as the U.S. presidential and congressional elections become increasingly fierce.

“With considerable regional and global uncertainty defining Israel’s strategic environment, Israel must ensure that it possess national cohesion with which to face the challenges ahead,” said JISS president Prof. Efraim Inbar. “Israel also must improve its military preparedness, especially the readiness of its ground forces for decisive maneuver in enemy territory. Israel must strengthen its primary diplomatic alliances, especially its alliance with the U.S., to ensure maximum strategic flexibility against enemies and to capitalize on key diplomatic opportunities.”

Established in 2017, the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security provides counsel to the highest echelons of Israeli government and trains the next generation of Israeli national security specialists.


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