A 3,200-Year-Old Shipwreck Reveals Mediterranean Trade Routes

A team of Hebrew University professors studying shipwrecked cargo found off the coast of Israel have shed new light on the commercial and diplomatic life of the Mediterranean Sea basin in the Late Bronze Age. As Judith Sudilovsky writes,

Especially during the 13th and 14th centuries BCE, there was a very elaborate trade system, along with formal levels of exchanges and gift-giving, between the palatial centers all around the Mediterranean, from Babylon, Greece, Anatolia, and other areas along the basin. The terms and conditions of these exchanges were set out in ancient archives found in Ugarit, an ancient port city and economic center in what is today northern Syria.

“These spelled out how these interactions would go on,” said the Hebrew University archaeology professor Naama Yahalom-Mack, who collaborated with Professor Yigal Erel at Hebrew University’s Institute of Earth Sciences to determine the source of four lead ingots among a shipwreck’s cargo found near the port of Caesarea several decades ago. “But what we know less of is the smaller traders who were taking advantage of this informal trade when there was a really high demand for raw material and prestigious objects. They had smaller boats and were not sent out by a formal king or kingdom.”

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Mediterranean Sea

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy