America’s Turkey Problem, and Israel’s

A member of NATO and once a staunch ally of the Jewish state, Turkey has over the past decade repeatedly provoked Israel, becoming the main sponsor and protector of Hamas and backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, while its president is given to vocal expressions of hostility and anti-Semitism. It has also provoked the U.S., most of all by flirting with both Russia and Iran. At the same time, Ankara has fundamental strategic differences with Moscow and with Tehran, and has engaged militarily with the proxies of both. Thus Turkey’s interests in certain ways align with those of America and Israel, as has been seen on occasion in Syria and, more recently, in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Michael Doran argues that Washington has mistakenly driven away Ankara, which has legitimate grievances against U.S. policies, and that the latter should seek to renew the fractured alliance. Dan Schueftan, however, argues that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made such a renewal impossible, and so long as he is in power both Israel and America should treat Turkey as an enemy. (Moderated by Gadi Taub. Video, 77 minutes. In English with Hebrew subtitles.)

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Read more at Shomer Saf

More about: Azerbaijan, Israeli Security, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey, U.S. Foreign policy

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy