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A Southern Strategy in the Eastern

Mediterranean
The U.S., Israel, Greece, and Cyprus can enhance cooperation. The U.S. should
leverage its growing and warming military ties with both Israel and Greece to
.repel Russias growing influence in the littoral states
1/29/2014,"",GeorgePapadopoulos

INN:GP

onMuslimcountriesintheregion,Cyprus,Israel,Syria,andEgypt,areseekingout
N
.greatertieswithRussiatosafeguardtheirnationalinterests

TheOldTestamenttellsmankindthatatthebeginningoftimesall
wastohuwabohu,chaosandtumult.Whenexaminingthepresentdayshiftinggeopolitics
intheeasternMediterranean,theOldTestamentsholywordsseemtopresagethe
continuousturmoilandconflictthatwouldbesettheeasternMediterraneanforthenext
.threethousandyears

Theregionhaswitnessedrelativecalmonlyonceinitslongandviolenthistory.Underwise
statecraft,theU.S.designedtheTrumanDoctrineattheonsetoftheColdWartoorient
bothGreeceandTurkeywithintheU.S.ssphereofinfluenceforthedurationofhostilities
withtheSovietUnion.Througheconomicincentives,andarmssales,toGreeceand
Turkey,theU.S.containedtheSovietFleet.Consequently,thesestrategicmovespaidgreat
dividendsbydiminishingMoscowsprojectednavalcapacityintoeithertheeastorwestern
.MediterraneanSeaatmaximumoutput,thusexpeditingitseventualdemise

ThecollapseoftheSovietUnionusheredinanewerafortheeasternMediterranean.One
notoftheutopiaoftheendofhistorysomeanalystspredicted,butanepochwherethebi
polarframeworkceasestoexist,robustenergyfindingshavebeenfound,oldandnew
powersseektocarveouttheirownsphereofinfluence,andtheriseofnonstateactors
suchaswarringjihadistgroupsvyingtoestablishtheirversionofsharialawinfragilestates
alongsectarianfaultlines,hasdominatedthepoliticallandscapeintheeastern
.Mediterranean

Underthesecircumstances,politicsandalliancesareshiftingtoreflectthesechanges.The
militaryrelationshipbetweentheU.S.,Israel,andGreecehasnowbecomethemost
importantlevertheU.S.possessesinitsarsenalinthecomplexgameofpowerpoliticsin
.theeasternMediterranean

OldstalwartalliesoftheColdWarthathelpedtomaintainasemblanceofstabilityinthe
easternMediterraneansuchasTurkeyhaveturnedtheirbackonthewest.Turkeyspolicies
havealsoenflamedthesituationonthegroundintheregionandhaveinvitedaninsidious
realitytoenter.TheUnitedStateslongstandingpolicyofaccommodatingTurkeysrisewas
basedontheprinciplethatTurkeywouldemergeasamoderateIslamiststatethatwould
successfullyentwinebothIslamanddemocracyunderthebannerofmoderategovernance,
becomeamodeltootherpredominantlyMuslimstates,whilemaintainingstrategicrelations
.withIsrael

TheriseoftheAKP,anditsdivergingambitionsandprofoundideologicalcleavages,
fracturedthisfoundationuponwhichU.S.policyrestedintheeasternMediterraneansince
thecollapseoftheSovietUnion.TheAKPsforeignpolicieshavedeviatedfromtheU.S.s
sinceitsinception,andhavenegativelyaffectedstalwartalliesandU.S.interestsinthe
regionbyinvitingradicalgroupstooperatefreelyandcreateavacuumlargeenoughforthe
.returnofRussiaasagreatpowerunseensincetheendoftheColdWar

AstheU.S.wasdesigninggroundwarplansfortheIraqWar,theU.S.madearequestto
TurkeytoallowAmericanforcestotraverseTurkishterritorytoinvadeIraqfromanorthern
route.Consequently,theAmerican4thInfantryDivisionwasdeniedaccesstoTurkish
territory,whichresultedintheabandonmentofalandattackfromthenorthandincreased
casualtiesandwearonU.S.hardware.Turkeyslogicbehindthedecisionwasthatthe$26
billionofferedbytheU.S.toallowanorthernattackwasnotenough.Turkeywouldonly
.[accept$32billiontoallowtheU.S.toaccessitsterritory[1

SincethefrayinrelationsbetweentheU.S.andAKP,Turkeyhasshownaproclivityto
supportrogueleaders,andjihadistforces,whilelambastingIsrael,akeypillarofstability
thatU.S.policydependedon.WhilecondemningIsrael,andremovingtheTurkish
ambassadorfromTelAviv,forIsraelsdefenseagainstthehostileattemptbyTurkish
IslamiststobreaktheblockadeonHamasledGazain2010,Erdoganinitiallyopposedthe
NATOinterventioninLibya,bydescribingtheideaasabsurd.ItwasonlyafterFranceand
BritainsinitialattacksonLibyanairdefensesthatTurkeybelatedlybackedNATOsplansto
.[createanoflyzone[2

TheArabSpringhaspresentedtheUnitedStateswithanewparadoxithaddriftedcloser
withTurkeyinordertopromotedemocracyandsecurityintheregion,butTurkeyacted
againstthoseveryinterests.TheilladvisedimprimaturoftheU.S.toTurkeytostabilizethe
easternMediterraneanastheU.S.soughttopivottoAsiahasenflamedtensionsonthe
ground,andhasinvitedMoscowtoreemergeasaregionalpowerforthefirsttimesincethe
.collapseoftheSovietUnion

TurkeydidnotbelievethattheantiSemitic,radicalIslamist,andmasterviolatorofreligious
rights,theMuslimBrotherhood,hadtoalteritsvaluestoremaininpowerintheArabworlds
mostpopulatedandinfluentialstate.ForTurkeysharedtheMuslimBrotherhoodsvalues
andinterestsintheemergenceofapoliticalarchofunityfromAnkaratoCairounderthe
bannerofSunniIslamism,wherereligiousminoritieswereperceivedasthreats,and
IslamismwouldbecomeanideologythatunitedthepredominantlySunnicountriesagainst
.thewesternidealsofreason,liberalism,anddemocracy

OnSeptember13,2011,inCairo,amonganenthralledcrowdwavingbothTurkishand
Egyptianflags,ErdogannotedthataTurkishEgyptianalliancewouldformaforceof150
millionpeoplestrong.WearesubstantiallysurroundingtheMediterranean.Theincipient
blossomingrelationshipbegantobearfruitwhenmembersoftheMuslimBrotherhood
calledforthepeaceagreementbetweenEgyptandIsrael,andexclusiveeconomiczone
agreementbetweenEgyptandCyprus,tobeabrogated.Ifratified,thesechangesin
EgyptianpolicywouldhaveineffectplacedahaltonCyprusnewlyfoundoilandnatural
.gasproduction,anddestabilizedIsraelsimmediatefrontiers

Thisidealwasshortlived.Inthesummerof2013,aftermillionspouredintothestreetsof
EgyptcallingfortheMuslimBrotherhoodtoberemoved,Egyptsmilitarycrushedtheparty,
andhasrightfullylabeleditaterroristorganizationforincitingviolence.IfTurkeywasableto
alterthetacticsoftheMuslimBrotherhood,andtrulychanneltheideathatIslamismand
democracycanbeintimatelyentwined,theinterventionbytheEgyptianmilitaryto
overthrowtheentrenchedMuslimBrothersmayhaveneveroccurred.Thiseventhas
.massivepolicyimplicationsforRussiasgrowinginfluenceintheregion

TheEgyptianmilitarysinterventionhasresultedinacollapseinU.S.Egyptianmilitary
relations.RussianowhasleverageinEgyptunseensincetheSovietUnionfinancedthe
AswanDaminthe1950soncetheU.S.renegedonitspromiseto.Egypthasnowsought
outmorereliablepartnerssuchasRussiaforbothfinancingandmilitaryhardware,
.includingarecent$2billionmilitarydealbetweenCairoandMoscow

WiththeTurkishpublicbecomingincreasinglyhostiletotheWest,theAKPsdomestic
corruptionscandals,andforeignpolicyblundersinSyria,Turkeywillnolongerbethe
reliablepartneritoncewas.ApluralityofTurksconsiderTurkeysneighborsintheMiddle
Eastasmoreimportanttothecountryseconomicinterests(43%)andsecurityinterests
(42%)thancountriesoftheEU(33%).TurkeyistheNATOmemberwiththelowestsupport
forNATO,withonly(37%)sayingthatNATOisessential.[3]Thehostilepublicopinion,and
TurkeysillfatedattempttosupportjihadistgroupstooverthrowRussiasally,Syria,may
alsobethereasonforTurkeyseekingtoimproverelationswithIranasawayto
.accommodateRussiasresurgence

TurkishofficialsstillplanonimprovingtradedealswithIran.Turkeyaimstoboosttrade
withIranfromapproximately$15billionto$30billionayearby2015,andplanahighlevel
primeministerexchangeinJanuary2014.Turkeysmiscalculationofitsowninfluence
withinSyria,andunwarrantedbeliefthatsupportingradicalSunnijihadistgroupswould
resultintheoverthrowingoftheAssadregimequickly,hasnowresultedinover600,000
SyrianrefugeesonTurkishterritory,myriadjihadistgroupsoperatingonTurkishsoil,and
thenonIslamist,andnonMuslimcountriesintheregion,Cyprus,Israel,Syria,andEgypt,
.seekingoutgreatertieswithRussiatosafeguardtheirnationalinterests

AstheObamaadministrationditheredbetweenattackingSyriaforitsinhumanechemical
attack,RussiaslastminutenegotiateddealtoremovechemicalstockpilesfromSyria
withoutanattackgoingforward,hasnowallowedRussiatoachieveitsdesiredobjectiveof
becomingessentialtoallseeminglyintractableconflictsintheeasternMediterraneanfrom
TehrantoCairo.AsRussiasleveragehasincreasedinbothEgyptandSyria,Russiahas
politicallyoutmaneuveredtheU.S.onceagainbysealinganinterimagreementforIrans
nuclearprogram,paralyzingIsraelfromevenconsideringanattackonIran,fearingafall
.outfromRussia,anditsnewlyformedalliancesinSyriaandEgypt

AstheU.S.swillfulretractionofinfluenceintheregioncontinues,andtheObama
administrationlacksacoherentstrategy,thearchitectsofU.S.foreignpolicywillnowhave
torelyevenmoreontheU.S.militaryrelationshipwithIsraelandGreecetoprojectthe
forcenecessarytoshapeeventsintheregionmovingforward.TheU.S.shouldleverageits
growingandwarmingmilitarytieswithbothIsraelandGreecetorepelRussiasgrowing
influenceinthelittoralstates.Thereisincreasingcooperationinbothdefenseandsecurity,
.includingintelligencebetweenWashington,AthensandJerusalemsince2010

ThediscoveryofmassivenaturalgasandoildepositswithinIsraelsandCyprusexclusive
economiczones,aswellasGreeceshopesforconfirmingitsowndepositssouthofits
island,Crete,createsanaturalnexusforanintegratedenergyzonebetweenJerusalem,
Nicosia,andAthensthattheU.S.,underwisestatecraftcandevelopasafoundationfora
.militarypact

TheU.S.shouldnotonlyencouragethestrengtheningrelationshipbetweenIsrael,Greece,
andCyprus,butbecometheprincipleactordrivingtherelationshipforward.Giventhatthe
U.S.alreadyhasstrongandstrategicrelationswiththethreecountries,itwouldbehoove
U.S.statesmentoseekagreaterU.S.principalrolethatadvancesandupgradesthe
.tripartitefoundationthatGreece,Israel,andCyprushaveestablished

AstartwouldbetoupgradeinbothscopeandcapabilitiestheannualNobleDinanaval
exercisetheU.S.SixthFleetholdswithboththeGreekandIsraelinavies,andjointhe
IsraeliandGreekforcesinspecialopstraining,andlongdistanceaerialdrillsspanning
SoudaBay,CretetoHaifa.DiscussionswiththeCypriotmilitaryestablishmenttohostU.S.
jetsfortrilateralairexerciseswithGreekandIsraelipilotswouldalsoshowamantleof
.forceanddeterrence

Politically,aquadrilateralstrategicdialogueministerialwhichfocusesonworkinggroupsin
security,energy,counterterrorism,economics,andfinancewillunderscorethesustained
quadrilateralrelationshipinthesectorsofimportance.TheStrategicDialoguewillreporton
progressachievedoverthepastyearbetweenthecountries,andidentifyopportunitiesfor
.increasedpartnership

BothU.S.alliesandfoeshaveshapedtheirbehavioraroundtheexpectationsthatwill
emergeiftheU.S.doesnotreturnasastabilizingpresence.UnfortunatelyfortheU.S.,for
littoralcountriessuchasSyria,andEgypt,itisrecognizedthattheRussianbearisthe
lesseroftheevilsbetweenitandtheuncontrollablejihadistforcesintheregionthatTurkey
.unleashedwhenitcomestosafeguardingtheirownnationalinterests

IsraelandGreecesrobustmilitaryrelationshaveredrawnthepoliticalmapoftheregion.
TheU.S.wouldbewisetoshiftitspolicies,andresources,towardsimprovingrelationsat
alllevelswithitsstalwartalliesintheregion,Israel,Greece,andCyprus,tocontainthe
newlyemergentRussianfleet,andmalignantjihadistforcesoperatingaroundIsraels
.borders

Restoringitspreeminentpositionofmilitarypowerwithitsallieswouldonceagainsendthe
.rightmessagetotheworldthatpeacecomesthroughstrength,notappeasement

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/19/international/europe/19TURK.html[1]

http://www.economist.com/node/18530682[2]

/http://trends.gmfus.org[3]

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