Background Briefing: October 8, 2023



After Declaring War on Hamas, Could the Conflict Escalate Against Hezbollah in the North? 

We begin with an update on the war between Israel and Hamas with the possibility of an escalation on the northern border with Lebanon following an exchange of fire between Israeli forces and Hezbollah. Joining us is Dr. Guy Ziv, a professor in the Department of Foreign Policy and Global Security at American University’s School of International Service and Associate Director of the Meltzer Schwartzberg Center For Israel Studies at American University where he teaches courses on U.S.-Israel relations, and Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. He has worked in the U.S. Department of State, on Capitol Hill, and for leading non-profit organizations that promote American involvement in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking and is the author of Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel and his forthcoming book, out soon, is Netanyahu Versus the Generals: The Battle For Israel’s Future.


The Colossal Israeli Intelligence Failure on the 50th Anniversary of Another Intelligence Failure

Then we examine the colossal intelligence failure on the 50th anniversary of another Israeli intelligence failure resulting in the deaths of 600 Israelis and up to 100 held hostage and speak with Daniel L. Byman, who is a professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and editor of the Lawfare blog. He served on the 9/11 Commission Staff and is the author of a number of books including A High Price: The Triumphs & Failures of Israeli Counter-Terrorism and Road Warriors: Foreign Fighters in the Armies of Jihad. His latest book is Spreading Hate: The Global Rise of White Supremacist Terrorism.


The Future of the Israeli/Saudi Arabia Normalization Deal That Does Not Add Up For the U.S.

Then finally we assess the future of the Israeli/Saudi Arabia normalization deal and speak with Emma Ashford, a resident senior fellow at the Stimson Center as well as a nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point. With expertise in the politics of the Middle East, Russia, Europe, her work focuses on questions of grand strategy, international security, and the future of US foreign policy. She is author of Oil, the State, and War: The Foreign Policies of Petrostates and we discuss her article at World Politics Review, “The Saudi-Israeli Normalization Deal Doesn’t Add Up for the U.S.