Turkey’s Growing Influence in Africa

For many years, Ankara has been an important player in the Libyan civil war, backing one of the primary belligerents. But Turkish influence extends far further across the African continent, in keeping with a strategy developed in the 1990s and adopted by Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he came power in 2003. Erdogan has visited 33 African countries in the past twenty years; Turkey is a partner of the African Union and has extensive trade relations with numerous African states, which include arm sales. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak explains:

[State institutions like the Directorate of Religious Affairs, known as] the Diyanet, help Turkey increase its influence through religion by constructing mosques. In doing so, Turkey challenges Saudi Arabia and Iran, especially in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Chad. A concrete example of this policy could be seen in Djibouti. The Diyanet finalized the construction of the Ottoman-style Abdülhamit II mosque in 2019, but this impressive mosque cannot overshadow the Turkish-built Nizamiye mosque in Somalia. The mosque was crowned as the biggest in East Africa. In addition to constructing its own style of mosques, Turkey also launched restoration projects for repairing Somali mosques.

To secure its ventures in this unstable country, Ankara inaugurated its most extensive military base abroad in Somalia in 2017. In the first stage, Turkey deployed 200 Turkish soldiers on the base to train 10,000 Somali soldiers against al-Shabab, [the Horn of Africa’s al-Qaeda affiliate]. In addition, Ankara also dispatched tanks and UAVs to collect intelligence and safeguard the base from al-Shabab attacks.

Somalia invited Turkey to research and discover hydrocarbon reserves in a 47,000-square mile area.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Africa, Al Qaeda, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey


The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7