The Mossad Head Suggests That Turkey Might Be More Dangerous Than Iran

Two years ago, Yossi Cohen—the director of the Mossad who has been praised for his role in making peace with the UAE and presided over such successes as the theft of the Iranian nuclear archive—commented that in the long run it may be Turkey, rather than the Islamic Republic, that poses the greatest threat to Israeli security and regional stability. Roger Boyes seeks to explain why:

“Iranian power is fragile,” [Cohen] reportedly told spymasters from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates, “but the real threat is from Turkey.” His point . . . was not that Iran had ceased to be an existential menace but rather that it could be contained: through sanctions, embargoes, intelligence sharing, and clandestine raids. Turkey’s coercive diplomacy [and] its sloppily calculated risk-taking across the Middle East posed a different kind of challenge to strategic stability in the eastern Mediterranean.

At present, writes Boyes, the biggest problem lies in Ankara’s attempts to exploit oil and gas reserves located beneath Greek territorial waters:

Greece and its many islands are preparing to exploit the deep-sea gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean basin and thus turn the sea into a prosperous Greek lake. The ambitions of the Republic of Cyprus have also drawn Turkish anger: it surmises that Turkish-dominated Northern Cyprus will not be able to share in the Greek bonanza.

The dream of mutually beneficial wealth returning to this corner of the Mediterranean . . . is shared not only by Greece and Cyprus but also by Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Italy and even the Palestinian Authority. Yet Recep Tayyip Erdogan views regional energy co-ordination as a project designed chiefly to marginalize Turkey. Here, then, is why the eastern Mediterranean has become such a volatile mess: it is torn between Erdogan’s drive to make Turkey into the indispensable Eurasian power [and] Russian opportunism. . . . Neither the European Union nor NATO seems ready to calm the waters.

Read more at The Times

More about: Greece, Israeli Security, Middle East, Mossad, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 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