Israel Must Contain Turkey’s Attempt to Expand into the Mediterranean

In November, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, signed an agreement with Libya’s official government in Tripoli, with which it shares a pro-Muslim Brotherhood orientation. The agreement recognizes Ankara’s economic rights and control over natural resources as extending deep into the Mediterranean Sea. It thus contradicts the claims of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF)—consisting of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Italy, Greece, and Cyprus. Meanwhile, Turkey has also been backing Tripoli militarily in its civil war with the forces of Khalifa Haftar, who has the support of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, and France. Eran Lerman sees in Erdogan’s actions an attempt to push apart the EMGF while expanding his influence in Africa:

Israel’s interests, at this tense time vis-à-vis Iran—and for many other good reasons—require an effort to avoid a violent confrontation in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey may be hostile, but it is not yet an active enemy. Everything short of a military confrontation needs to be done, though, to deter Erdogan from establishing a barrier diagonally across the Mediterranean, barring Cyprus, Egypt, and Israel from connecting their gas infrastructure to Greece and hence to Europe.

While keeping a necessary low profile on Libyan internal affairs, Israel’s role should be focused upon working hand in hand with all EMGF partners, and in particular Greece and Cyprus. The latter have some influence on all three fronts—lobbying in the U.S.; using their EU status; and utilizing the links of common heritage that connect them to Russia.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Israel diplomacy, Israeli gas, Libya, Mediterranean Sea, Turkey

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