In The News

Senior RSA Michael Horowitz talks to BILD about Syria

Senior Regional Security Analyst (RSA) Michael Horowitz spoke to German-language BILD about the Turkish intervention in Syria and a possible agreement between the YPG and Assad regime.

Read the full article in German here  

Senior RSA Michael Horowitz talks to L’Orient Le Jour about Israel and Syria

“Both sides are trying to establish their own rules of the game, especially Iran, who wants to show that since the Assad victory in Aleppo, Israel cannot hope to operate as freely as before in Syria,” Michael Horowitz, a Middle East specialist at Bahrain-based consultancy LeBeck International, explains to L’Orient Le Jour, recalling that last September, an Iranian drone was also shot down in Israel two weeks after an Israeli strike near the Syrian coast.

“It is, therefore, quite possible that the sending of the Iranian drone represents both a response from Tehran to the strike against the Jamraya research center, but also to the Israeli efforts to mobilize Russia to contain the ambitions of its partner in Syria.”ill probably continue and pro-regime forces will probably be able to continue to advance on Saraqeb,” he said.

Read the full article in French here  

Senior RSA Michael Horowitz talks to The Telegraph about downing the Russian jet

Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at the Le Beck geopolitical consultancy, said the shoot down was not “a game changer” as the Su-25 flies low in support of ground troops and is therefore vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire.

“On the tactical level it could change things because the Russian are probably not going to use the Su-25 as much. But on the strategic level I don’t think it’s going to change anything it terms of military balance even in this specific area.

“The offensive will probably continue and pro-regime forces will probably be able to continue to advance on Saraqeb,” he said.

Read the full article here  

Senior RSA Michael Horowitz talks to Buzzfeed about Turkey’s intervention in Syria

How well Kurds perform in Afrin could determine Turks’ future plans, raising the stakes of the current battle. “In the long term, the YPG can’t win,” said Michael A. Horowitz, an analyst at Le Beck, a security and risk management consultancy. “But they can make sure the operation will be costly enough that the Turkish threat to extend their operations to Manbij and eastern Syria will lose some of its edge.”

Read the full article here  

Le Beck analysts write about the conflict in Yemen post-Saleh in The Cairo Review

Regional Security Analyst (RSA) Team Lead Miriam Eps and RSA Intern Kierat Ranautta-Sambhi wrote about Yemen in the aftermath of former President Saleh’s death for The Cairo Review of Global Affairs.

“It is not clear, however, whether his death was a turning point. This still largely depends on Saleh’s former allies—the Houthis—and how they perceive their strategic and tactical position. On the one hand,  the collapse of the alliance impacted Houthi military capabilities and their upperhand position while Saleh’s assassination created an additional enemy from many of his supporters who are adhering to the alliance’s break. On the other hand, the Houthis are not without friends and they continue to receive external backing from Iran.

With Russia, one of the last diplomatic holdouts in Sanaa, recently moving its embassy to Riyadh due to the “deteriorating security situation” and Saleh’s son promising to destroy the Houthis, the needle seems to point more toward continued conflict than finding a political solution. However, because conflicts are tricky—and Yemen’s is particularly so—it is not impossible that Saleh’s death will, in fact, be a turning point that will help lead to a resolution rather than represent just another reason for the fighting to continue. So what happens next?

The worst case scenario will be to continue pursuing the military option. This will likely result in increased violence and an intensified campaign against the Houthis instead of a politically navigated path forward.”

Read the full oped here  

The Iranian talks to RSA Intern Kierat Sambhi about Saleh’s death

It’s important to remember that Saleh dissolved the alliance with the Houthis days before his demise, with some suggesting the plan had been in play for months. Furthermore, Saleh’s son, Ahmed, although a somewhat divisive choice of potential successor, was reportedly involved in discussions of a deal with Saudi, which means that there is still a potential for such an agreement.

Given that the Houthis are faced with a significant loss of military might and, consequently, a vital bargaining chip, they may come to realise that negotiations are the way forward regardless. Nevertheless, they are likely to look even more to Iran should the conflict continue due to the loss of their Yemen-based ally and, potentially, in order to improve their bargaining power by, for example, solidifying their control over the capital.

Read the full article here  

Bloomberg talks to RSA Team Lead Miriam Eps about Saleh’s death

“The big question related to Saleh’s death is who will take his place. A clear successor, with many pointing to his son Ahmed as a potential candidate, could allow for the continuity of Saleh’s position, including vis-a-vis any attempts at resolving the conflict,” said Miriam Eps, regional security analyst at Manama-based risk management consultancy Le Beck International.

In the short term, his death is likely to increase violence in Sana’a as Saleh forces will be looking to retaliate and the Houthis might attempt to retake areas of the capital lost in recent days, she said. Ultimately, the dissolution of the Houthis’ alliance with Saleh undermines their military might and their negotiating position, she said.

“Saleh’s death, therefore, is a major blow because it removes a key influencer, but the real question is how the Houthis intend to move forward,” she said. “Continued conflict is certainly an option, and they could turn to Iran for increased support, but they may also realize that the dissolution of their alliance means they have to negotiate.”

Read the full article here  

RSA Team Lead Miriam Eps writes about the Saudi corruption crackdown in Newsweek

Very rarely are major moves, or any event on the international stage for that matter, mono-causal, particularly ones that are—and I do not use this term loosely—unprecedented. But they do not answer some key questions: Why now and why so many individuals who are not members of the royal family?

What if their main goal really is to address white collar, financial crimes?


Saudi Arabia’s citizenry will increasingly be confronted with a centuries-old situation many before them have faced: Taxation without representation. The government realises this is problematic and a serious crackdown on corruption also sends a very clear message to the country’s population, of which two-thirds are under 30 and very aware of the world around them: We may be asking you to give us more money, but we’ll make damn sure that every riyal is spent on improving this country and your quality of life.

Read the full oped here  

The National talks to RSA Team Lead Miriam Eps about Yemen port closures

“It is not clear, however, that this will have a significant impact, with the current blockade and entry limits apparently not achieving this aim,” said Miriam Eps Regional Security Analyst at Le Beck International.

Although humanitarian activities are expected to continue, Ms Eps thinks that the closures are liable to slow down the entry of aid, “impacting the already existing crisis and affecting the average Yemeni more than Houthi fighters.”

Read the full article here  

Bloomberg talks to RSA Team Lead Miriam Eps about the Saudi corruption crackdown

“These arrests achieve three main objectives: Further consolidation of power, concrete action against corruption, and a clear message to all Saudi citizens,” said Miriam Eps, regional security analyst at Manama-based risk management consultancy Le Beck International. “Importantly, I think it also sends another, very clear message that domestic critics should think twice before speaking out, regardless of their position.”

The reaction of the Saudi business community “will really relate to how the arrests are perceived,” she said. “The main concern here is some uncertainty as to why these individuals were detained, i.e., questions as to whether it truly is just corruption-related or something more.”

Appointing less prominent royals from clans other than King Salman’s to official positions may address some concerns regarding power sharing, she said. But “it is also liable to cause apprehension that the lifestyle many royal family members are used to and expect could be threatened,” she said.

Read the full article here  

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