A New Alliance Is Emerging to Contain Turkey, and Israel Is a Key Part of It

Yesterday, the defense ministers of Israel, Cyprus, and Greece met in Nicosia, where they issued a statement condemning Turkish efforts to impinge on Cyprus’ coastal waters. The summit marks the solidification of a broader coalition—with these three states at its forefront—committed to restraining Ankara’s increasingly aggressive policies. As Oved Lobel explains, both Jerusalem’s warmer relations with the Gulf states, and the discovery of fossil-fuel reserves in the Mediterranean, strengthen this coalition:

The first trilateral meeting between the three countries took place in November 2017, at which stage military cooperation deepened dramatically.  Cyprus hosted a trilateral meeting with Israel and Greece earlier this year, and the three countries signed an agreement on deepening even further tripartite military cooperation a month ago. In July, the Greek parliament ratified a further defense agreement with Israel.

[In addition, there] is the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), established officially in Cairo in January 2020. The culmination of major gas discoveries within the [coastal waters] of Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt over the past decade and consequent energy partnerships, the EMGF is meant to serve as a regional forum for energy discussions and policy coordination among all the regional states, except Turkey.

France has applied to join as a full member, with the US participating as a permanent observer. . . . Egypt also announced a second explicitly anti-Turkey coalition consisting of France, Greece, the UAE, Cyprus, and Egypt.

The most important element of all of these partnerships is the strong U.S. backing they have received, and the deepening U.S. political and military support for all the countries involved.

Read more at Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC)

More about: Cyprus, Greece, Israeli gas, Israeli Security, Turkey, United Arab Emirates

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security