Europe Should Be Getting Its Gas from Israel and Its Neighbors, Rather Than Russia

In 2020, Greece, Cyprus, and Israel concluded an agreement to build the EastMed pipeline, through which they could export their offshore natural-gas to Europe. Egypt, Italy, the U.S., and other countries were involved in the project, but shortly after President Biden came into office his administration withdrew its support—putting plans for construction on hold. Since Europe gets most of its gas from Russia, the lack of alternative sources of energy has suddenly become a very obvious strategic liability. Shoshana Bryen comments:

Amos Hochstein, now Biden’s senior advisor for energy security, was reported by the Jerusalem Post to have previously said he would be “extremely uncomfortable with the U.S. supporting” EastMed. “Why would we build a fossil-fuel pipeline between the EastMed and Europe when our entire policy is to support new technology . . . and new investments in going green and in going clean?”

Yet Hochstein seems less than consistent in this view:

Hochstein was recently in Lebanon and Israel, trying to resolve a long-standing maritime border dispute to enable Lebanon to take part in the natural-gas drilling and exploration revolution in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Yes, that would be the same Lebanon that is occupied by U.S.-designated terror organization and Iranian proxy Hizballah, and which has built an enormous and increasingly powerful military force aimed expressly at Israel.

To make matters worse, Hochstein has also gotten behind a plan to bring Egyptian natural gas to Lebanon via Syria, as bringing Lebanon gas from neighboring Israel is, of course, out the question. Bryen finds America’s stance “staggering.”

First, . . . that Hizballah would 100-percent rather rule a “failed state” than take gas from Israel is a given. That the U.S. government agrees with Hizballah about this is troublesome, to put it mildly. And, [what’s more], the U.S. will facilitate commerce through the criminal and sanctioned Assad regime, responsible for the deaths of an estimated half-million-plus people, including through the use of chemical weapons, rather than issue an ultimatum to Hizballah—gas from Israel or no gas at all.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Israeli gas, Lebanon, Natural Gas, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, War in Ukraine

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