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

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.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

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

 

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7