Why the Libyan Civil War Should Worry Israel

In recent months the struggle for control of Libya has escalated as the forces of Khalifa Haftar—backed by Egypt and Russia—fight against the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned and Turkey-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). By establishing its influence in North Africa, Ankara hopes to counteract the deepening alliance among Greece, Cyprus, and Israel and cut off its access to European markets. This alliance, under the formal rubric of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMFG), began with collaboration in the extraction of undersea fossil fuels and has evolved into broader economic and military cooperation. Eran Lerman explains what all this means for Jerusalem:

The role played by Russian mercenaries, and now by pro-Assad Syrian “volunteers,” may be troubling; but the consequences of the total collapse of [Haftar’s forces] would be more severe.

[It is thus necessary for] the relevant EMFG nations to coordinate their policies effectively. The key players are Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, and Israel. Tripartite summits should be convened as soon as possible. Italy has long been relatively friendly towards the GNA, but suspicious of Erdogan’s designs: [it now] may be indicating a willingness to act to curb Turkish ambitions.

Israel’s role must, by necessity, be diplomatic and discreet. It should focus upon . . . forging a common position of all EMGF countries.

Meanwhile, amidst many other challenges, the IDF—navy, air force, and intelligence—as well as Israel’s defense and intelligence establishment as a whole should start preparing for the darker scenario of having to face an overt Turkish bid to control fully the eastern Mediterranean sea lanes of communication.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Israel diplomacy, Israeli Security, Libya, Mediterranean Sea, Natural Gas, 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