Matthew RJ Brodsky
Matthew RJ Brodsky
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

Latest Articles

Recalibrating the Rules of Engagement Between Hezbollah and Israel

March 27, 2017  •  The Hill

Since the end of their inconclusive 33-day conflict in 2006, conventional wisdom has always been that another war between Hezbollah and Israel was simply a matter of time, and when it happens, the extent of destruction in Israel and Lebanon will dwarf that of the previous war. The questions have been when it will begin and how will it be triggered? Both Israel and Hezbollah have tended to abide by a set of rules--an algorithm that governs their actions, where each side makes tactical calculations regarding what and where they can target without triggering a full-blown war. What is happening now is likely another recalibration of those rules with the main complicating factor being Russia's entry into the Syrian cauldron in September 2015. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is ultimately responsible for the strategic decision to send Hezbollah to war--not Hezbollah itself. He is unlikely to do so now when he knows his military, economic, and political position will be greatly enhanced by waiting a few years for the provisions of the nuclear deal to expire.

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Can Trump Refrain from Repeating His Predecessor's Mistakes in Syria?

March 18, 2017  •  The National Interest

Having reached the six-year anniversary of the Syrian civil war, the death toll is now counted by the hundreds of thousands with a refugee crisis tallied in the millions. When it comes to the Middle East, newly elected American presidents have a tendency to veer toward overcorrection. The Middle East, however, is never shy about presenting its own lessons, regardless of presidential intentions. For a president who eschewed force for finesse with his own form of overcorrection, it turned out that Barack Obama was clearly overmatched and subsequently outplayed by both Russia and Iran. Now, in the early months of his presidency, Donald Trump finds himself at a fork in the road in terms of foreign policy. When it comes to Syria, there are no good choices available today. It's about finding the best bad option. The United States is in need of a Goldilocks policy—solutions in between the way too hot and way too cold spectrum. Can Team Trump learn the proper lessons from history and from America's successes and failures abroad?

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Assad is Not the Solution in Syria

March 9, 2017  •  The Hill

As the Trump administration considers American military involvement in Syria, there are those who argue that Assad should remain in power as a check against the forces of Islamic radicals. Aside from the fact such a policy would ignore the horrific war crimes and atrocities committed by the regime, the fact is Assad doesn't have the military capability to hold Syria together. What's left of his army is an empty shell, precariously held together by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Moreover, such a move ignores reality in Syria. The very fabric that held society together is irreparably torn. Having turned on the majority Sunni population of his country, Assad stands today as a great magnet to which jihadists of all stripes are attracted. The question is, who can better defend them — groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda's affiliate, Tahrir al-Sham, or the Free Syrian Army and U.S.-backed rebels? There are no pillars left upon which Assad's legitimacy can rest; Bashar Assad can't "Make Syria Great Again."

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Trump, the Golan Heights, and Regional Progress

February 27, 2017  •  The Jerusalem Post

Netanyahu's request for the U.S. to recognize Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights represents a bold move that would help accomplish several American objectives in the Middle East, while jettisoning policy prescriptions that have long lived past their expiration dates. Fully realizing the plan's potential, however, requires the Trump administration to come to the right conclusion about Russia.

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Trump Starts to Put the Squeeze on Iran's International Terror Operations

February 23, 2017  •  The Daily Beast

In the world of counterterrorism, many issues are interlinked. Whether the new immigration order fits that bill or not, one thing is for sure: A combination of vigilance at the border, careful screening for visas, and targeted sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department are tools the Trump administration will need to use to push back against Iran and ISIS, combat terrorist financing, and drain the financial swamp where those who threaten the U.S. conduct illegal business.

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