Turkey’s Increasing Belligerence, and What It Means for Israel

Last month, Greece placed its military on high alert when a Turkish research vessel, accompanied by warships, entered waters Athens claims as its own—a sign of heightening tensions over the eastern Mediterranean and the oil and gas reserves that might lie beneath it. Meanwhile, Ankara’s intervention in Libya has pitted its forces against those backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Yaakov Amidror examines President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s belligerence, and what it might mean for Israel:

[Turkey] hosts senior Hamas operatives and allows them to plot terrorist attacks against Israel from Istanbul. It sent troops to Qatar after Doha was accused of supporting terrorism by Arab countries and blockaded. It attacked Kurds in Syria who helped the United States fight Islamic State. And it threatened to cut ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the recently announced peace deal with Israel—even though Turkey has an embassy in Tel Aviv.

Aside from a recent statement in support of Greece, Israel has so far not been involved in either [the Turkish intervention in Libya or its maritime dispute with Athens and Nicosia]. Libya is far from Israel, and Turkey does not threaten to infringe on Israel’s exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean. Turkey’s claims overlap those of Greece and Cyprus. The friction between Israel and Turkey these days concerns Ankara’s support for Hamas, as well as its efforts to gain influence among Palestinians by investing in eastern Jerusalem.

However, Israel has clear plans to connect to Europe via a gas pipeline and power cable that are supposed to pass through Cyprus. Will Turkey try to interfere with these projects, on the basis [of its most recent claims of maritime rights]? That would be a Turkish invitation to a military confrontation with Israel, which will not hesitate to defend its vital interests in the Mediterranean.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Israeli gas, Israeli Security, 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