Israel, Greece, and Cyprus Emerge as a Bulwark of Freedom in the Eastern Mediterranean

Dec. 20 2018

Today, the leaders of Cyprus, Greece, and Israel are meeting for what will be the fifth such summit of this new alliance, which has been built in part on plans to cooperate in the extraction of natural gas. The three countries also share concerns about the increasing influence of Russia, Turkey, and Iran in the eastern Mediterranean. Each of the latter three has established a presence in both Syria and the Balkans, and both Turkey and Iran have significant influence in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile the U.S. no longer maintains an aircraft carrier in the area and appears to have decided to withdraw its troops from Syria. Efraim Inbar comments:

The eastern Mediterranean has always been important to Israel because over 90 percent of Israel’s foreign trade traverses this area. The gas fields discovered and now being mined in Israel’s Mediterranean economic waters have magnified [its] importance. . . . However, Israel’s gas riches are under threat. Hamas and Hizballah are investing in their naval forces. Hamas already has fired missiles against an Israeli-operated gas rig, and Hizballah has threatened to do so. The Russian and Turkish navies might yet adopt more adventurous postures, too. There may soon be an Iranian naval presence commensurate with Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions.

Thus, Israel has one more strategic flank to protect. Unfortunately, the naval component in the Israeli military has not been sufficiently prioritized. Israel needs a bigger and stronger navy. The rationale for a larger Israeli naval force is even more compelling given the enormous missile threat aimed at Israel, making Israel’s airfields and strategic ground assets ever more vulnerable.

Israel’s military deficit in the eastern Mediterranean [stands in sharp contrast to] its diplomatic success. It became a close partner in an eastern Mediterranean alignment that consists of Greece and Cyprus. Egypt is indirectly also a member [of this alliance], although it prefers to interact separately with Israel. The four countries share similar concerns about Turkish foreign-policy directions and have similar energy interests. Cooperation in Washington on eastern Mediterranean issues is also important.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Cyprus, Greece, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Middle East, Natural Gas, Russia

 

Lessons for Israel from Iran’s Response to the Killing of Qassem Suleimani

Feb. 19 2020

On January 8, just five days after the U.S. killed the high-ranking Iranian general Qassem Suleimani in a retaliatory airstrike, Tehran responded by firing ballistic missiles at two American bases in Iraq. At first it seemed possible that the Islamic Republic deliberately aimed its rockets so as not harm U.S. soldiers, but, Uzi Rubin concludes, information made public since then strongly suggests that the lack of American deaths was “a matter of sheer luck.” Iran, which generally prefers to operate through proxies or in such a way as to maintain plausible deniability, not only took credit for the attack but boasted about its success.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy