Yossi Melman at PostGlobal

Yossi Melman

Tel Aviv, Israel

Yossi Melman is a senior commentator for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He specializes in intelligence, security, terrorism and strategic issues. An author of seven books on these topics, his most recent book, The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran was published recently by Carroll & Graf. Close.

Yossi Melman

Tel Aviv, Israel

Yossi Melman is a senior commentator for the Israeli daily Haaretz. He specializes in intelligence, security, terrorism and strategic issues. An author of seven books on these topics, his most recent book, The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran was published recently by Carroll & Graf. more »

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June 17, 2009 11:39 AM

Cries for Freedom, Cries for Bread

The Current Discussion: Are we witnessing a pro-regime coup in Iran? What should the world do in response? How will the election aftermath affect Iran's projection of power into the Middle East?

The scenes from Tehran are beginning to remind us of the tumultuous period leading to the fall of the Shah over three decades ago. Yet it is still too early to eulogize the Ayatollah's regime. Who better than the clergymen to understand the structure and the history of revolutions in Iran?

Street protests, marches, and strikes make up the formula that has twice brought about regime change. It happened the first time in 1953: a large-scale strike of workers in the oil industry led by Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq, who was swept into power and who forced the young Shah Reza Pahlavi to flee the country.

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May 12, 2009 4:59 PM

U..S-Israel Tension Is Exaggerated

The Current Discussion: Are Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama on a collision course over Iran and the Palestinian problem? What would be the consequences of a breach between the United States and Israel?

Yes, with a capital 'Y', the two countries seem to be on a collision course these days.

From President Obama to Vice President Biden to Secretary of State Clinton to National Security Advisor Jones, the message is clear: Israel must enhance peace talks with the Palestinians in order to fulfill its own previous governments' commitments to a "two-state solution," i.e. an Israeli state side-by-side in peace and security with a Palestinian state. That means Israel has to dismantle all Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and hand the territory over to the Palestinians.

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January 7, 2009 4:53 PM

Hamas Benefits From Palestinians' Misery

Israel had no choice but to launch a military strike against Hamas. No nation on earth would have tolerated a constant shelling of its towns for eight years. Only three years ago, Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip while dismantling settlements and relocating their 8000 Jewish settlers. It was a painful decision which almost brought Israel to the brink of a civil war.

What was the reaction? A Palestinian reciprocation? No. Not at all. Instead, 18 months ago, we witnessed an armed and ruthless coup d'etat by Hamas, which toppled the legitimate regime of the Palestinian Authority (led by President Mahmoud Abbas "Abu Mazen") and took full and cruel control of Gaza. Since then Hamas has constantly fired at Israel more than 5000 rockets and mortar shells. Hamas targeted especially the border crossings with Israel and Egypt which serve as lifelines to supply food, medicines, and oil for the impoverished 1.5 Palestinian inhabitants. Thus, Hamas deliberately signaled that its true aim was to disrupt normal life, to thrive and benefit from the misery of its people.

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November 6, 2008 2:35 PM

Missing From Talks: Sincerity

TEL AVIV - The Turkish-sponsored indirect talks between Israel and Syria, which have been taking place for a couple of months already, have not changed the regional status. Both Israel and Syria have conflicting interests and agendas. Israel is interested in the "peace process," with emphasis on the "process" - that is, Israel wishes to prolong the talks without reaching an agreement. A peace accord would force Israel to abandon the Golan Heights. Such a decision would be met by a strong domestic political, security religious and ideological opposition which will further polarize Israeli society. Thus, this is a too heavy and too risky price for an Israeli government to pay. All Israeli prime ministers since 1992 with the exception of Sharon - Rabin, Netanyahu, Barak and now Olmert -negotiated deals with Syria but, at the last moment, backed off.

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September 18, 2008 11:17 AM

Wall Street's Latest Round of Suckers

The Current Discussion: Does the crisis on Wall Street mean that the American style of capitalism is no longer the model for the world?

I have lost very little money for two reasons: One, I didn't have a lot; Two, I never bought shares. So I assume I am among the very few lucky ones whose personal concerns in this crisis are limited.

There is a saying in Hebrew that suckers never die, they are only replaced. The gospel spread from Wall Street to the rest of the world has been very simple: Trust us, the spin economic doctors. We know what we are doing. And sure enough, there have been sufficient herds, numbering in the hundreds of millions around the globe, who believe them. They refuse to learn from history, or from the lessons of 1929 and of all the other black days since then, when stock exchanges collapsed time after time. There has been always enough fresh blood to believe that it won't happen again or it won't happen to us. Suckers never die.

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August 18, 2008 10:10 AM

Not Running in Beijing

BEIJING, China - It was a dark Friday morning. I pulled aside the curtain and peeked out at the view to which locals have grown accustomed: low clouds obscuring the skies. But when I went outside, I realized they weren't clouds, but a heavy, grayish yellow haze.

I thought about the hell that awaited the long-distance runners, especially the marathon runners. The organizing committee had promised clear skies and fresh air, but my experience turned torturous.

I decided not to change my daily routine, which I had imported from Tel Aviv: I donned a track suit, a cap and sunglasses, and went for a morning run. I turned left down a narrow alley near my big, impressive, tacky Communist-style hotel. I saw such massive buildings only in Moscow.

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July 2, 2008 4:09 PM

Israel Won't Move Without U.S. Approval

The recent leaks to the U.S. news media (New York Times and ABC News) have created a wrong impression and sent a false message that an Israeli attack on Iran is imminent. Far from the truth. No decision to attack Iran has been made in Israel. Certainly no date has been fixed. Israel will decide, if at all, to disrupt Iran's nuclear program only as a last resort after international diplomacy fails. More importantly, such a decision will be taken only after serious consultation with the American administration. Coordinating its actions with America is the key factor in all Israeli crucial decisions. This has been the Israeli practice since 1967. Israel launched its combat campaigns since then only after realizing or understanding that the U.S. either sanctions the military operation or has no objection to it or turn a blind eye. These were the cases in June 1967, in June 1982 and in July 2006. In two other cases Israel didn't respond as it had wished, fearing that the U.S. would be against it. In October 1973, the Israeli cabinet, led by Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan, decided against a preemptory strike against Egypt and Syria. For the same reason, In January 1991 Israel didn't respond to the launching of 40 Iraqi Scud missiles against its urban centers. The George H. W. Bush administration said to Israel: don't do it. So Israel didn't do it. If the U.S. doesn't approve an Israeli military operation, Israel will not attack Iran. Full stop.

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May 12, 2008 3:52 PM

Israel Will Thrive, Flaws and All

The Current Discussion:Israel celebrated its 60th birthday last week. Will it survive to celebrate its 100th?

This is an ill-drafted question that shouldn't have been asked in the first place. Israel shouldn't be singled out. The same question could be asked about many states whose existence is questioned or challenged by conflicting claims of sovereignty – in the Balkans, the Russian Federation, China, Africa or South America, and above all in the Middle East. Almost every state in this region must confront territorial demands from neighbors or from minority groups seeking to destroy or disintegrate them. The same question could apply to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Syria, Iran or Iraq.

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March 5, 2008 11:03 AM

Forget Annapolis: Nine Steps to Peace

The Current Discussion: With the Israeli re-invasion of Gaza, it's clear that the "Annapolis Peace Process" is collapsing. Does it matter? Who's to blame?

Who’s to blame? Nobody and everyone. The Palestinians. The Arab world. The Israelis and the Bush administration. All are to blame for showing lack of vision, willingness and readiness to compromise and achieve genuine peace.

I don't like to boast about my previous writings in the style of I TOLD YOU SO. But I did. This is what I wrote four months ago, in Nov 2007 before the Annapolis Summit was convened:

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February 21, 2008 3:01 PM

Assassination Is A Two-Edged Sword

By Yossi Melman and Dan Raviv

Last week’s funeral for the founder of Hezbollah’s military wing, Imad Mughniyah, was a grand ceremony of the kind usually reserved for heads of state, not master terrorists. The display reflects the importance and respect that Mughniyah enjoyed from senior delegates from Iran, Syria and Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Middle East conflicts are not a zero sum game, but the death of one of the most wanted terrorists on earth is a net gain for Israel. So it’s no wonder that no one is taking seriously the Israeli government’s denial of any involvement in Mughniyah’s assassination last Tuesday in Damascus, the Syrian capitol. The successful operation demonstrates the professional skills of the various branches of Israeli intelligence and above all the Mossad. The operation has rehabilitated Mossad's reputation and prestige, which has been in decline over the last decade.

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