Jonathan Spyer

Jonathan Spyer is a journalist and Middle East analyst. He is director of research at the Middle East Forum and the author of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict. He is a veteran of the Israel-Hezbollah war of 2006.

Bibi’s plan for a post-war Gaza

Sharp differences within Israel’s governing coalition have emerged into the open in recent days. On the face of it, the dispute centres on preferred post-war arrangements in Gaza. But the rival stances also reflect underlying, contrasting views concerning the conduct and aims of Israel’s now eight-month long military campaign in the Gaza Strip.   The divisions

Hamas is playing for time

Israeli, international and Hamas officials are currently awaiting the decision of Yahya Sinwar, the terror group’s military leader on a proposed ceasefire deal. Egypt has put forward a phased release of Israeli hostages and a temporary end to the fighting in Gaza. Sinwar is looking at the deal. As the talking and the diplomatic manoeuvring

What Israel should do about Hezbollah

On Tuesday, Hezbollah launched its deepest attack into Israel since the current round of hostilities between Jerusalem and the Iran-supported Islamist group began last October. Sirens sounded in the town of Acre as drones and rockets were launched at what pro-Hezbollah media described as ‘military targets’ between Acre and Nahariya. There were no casualties. In

Will Israel continue its strikes on Iran?

The reported Israeli strike on an Iranian air installation near the city of Isfahan in central Iran appears to have been the most significant of a series of attacks carried out by Israel in the course of last night. While the full picture is still emerging, there are indications that an additional strike of some

Iran’s attack was just a taste of what could be to come

The Iranian drone and missile attacks of 13 April brought less drama for many in Jerusalem than one might have imagined. War brings with it the disappearance of expectations of daily continuity, or of a reasonable and logical sequence of events.  It has been wartime for six months now here in Jerusalem; in another way it

Iran’s four options for revenge against Israel

I recently returned from a trip to the south east Syrian province of Deir al Zur, where I witnessed Kurdish and American soldiers in a tense face-off against Iranian and proxy forces along the Euphrates River line. After making my way home to Jerusalem via Iraq, Jordan and northern Israel, I had hoped for a

Biden’s Iran policy has backfired

Nine years ago, Barack Obama, with his vice president Joe Biden at his side, announced the Iran nuclear deal. Ayatollah Khamenei’s regime would not enrich weapons-grade uranium for 15 years. The US would lift economic sanctions in return. It was ‘historic’, said Obama. The Iranians had been close to developing their first nuke: this agreement

Time is running out for Israel to defeat Hamas

Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza is making steady progress. They moved into the strip on 27 October after a sustained air campaign which paved the way for infantry, armoured and engineering units to enter. Despite military analysts predicting that Israel would sustain heavy combat losses, because of decent intelligence gathered in the preceding three weeks,

New world disorder

38 min listen

On the podcast: In The Spectator’s cover piece Jonathan Spyer writes that as America’s role in international security diminishes history is moving Iran’s way, with political Islam now commanding much of the Middle East. He is joined by Ravi Agrawal, editor in chief of Foreign Policy and host of the FP Live podcast, to discuss whether America is still the world’s

Political Islam now commands the Middle East

No sane American president takes office hoping for war. Woodrow Wilson, a 56-year-old Princeton academic, said it would be ‘the irony of fate’ if his presidency came to be dominated by foreign affairs. He spoke in 1913. Joe Biden came to office in 2021 promising to end the ‘forever wars’ of Iraq and Afghanistan. But

An Israeli ground assault would be devastating for Gaza

On a patch of scrubland outside the Zikim kibbutz earlier this week, I came across a platoon of Merkava 4 tanks positioned among the trees. One of the tank commanders recognised my colleague and we exchanged a few words. ‘This is our Yom Kippur,’ he told us. ‘We haven’t even begun to grasp the implications of this.’ Yom

Who should rule Syria?

The long civil war in Syria is still far from conclusion. Any real possibility of rebel victory ended with the entry of Russian forces last autumn — but while the initiative is now with the Assad regime, the government’s forces are also far from a decisive breakthrough. So who, if anyone, should the UK be