Many believe Turkey will return to “Western normality” as soon as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan finishes his political career. But Turkey’s behavior is influenced by the systemic restructuring of the international arena after the end of the Cold War more than it is by Erdoğan’s aura, as was apparent in the 1990s prior to his advent. It is unwise to anticipate a significant change in Turkish foreign policy once Erdoğan leaves the scene.+
Israel’s inability to thwart Hamas on the Gaza front, even as it persistently worsens the lives of the 20,000 Israeli citizens who live in the “Gaza envelope,” is a national shame. Yet PM Benjamin Netanyahu is correct that this pain must be borne as Israel focuses on the Iranian threat and Israel’s northern front.
Beyond its unquestionable vitality for Israel’s security, the Jordan Valley in its full geographical scope can accommodate millions of Israelis and national infrastructure that cannot be compressed into the coastal plain. If PM Netanyahu’s declaration of sovereignty is not immediately borne out by a surge of building and focused governmental support, it will sputter and die.
A shadow war raging between the Iranian-led radical Shiite axis and Israel has become public in recent weeks. This conflict is driven by Israel’s determination to prevent Iran from building attack capabilities in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Harnessing the Eurasian lands has always been difficult. The Khazars, an obscure people from the steppes that converted to Judaism many centuries ago, stand out as an exceptional example of how geography, economy, and religion can be used to advance geopolitical interests.
Russia, backed by China, is hoping to exploit mounting doubts in the Persian Gulf about the reliability of the US as the region’s sole security guarantor. It is proposing a radical overhaul of the security architecture in the area, which is home to massive oil and gas reserves and some of the world’s most strategic waterways.
On core matters of peace and security, two closely interrelated questions must be asked:
- What precisely does Donald Trump have in mind regarding any potential armed conflict with Iran?
- What might such a possibility portend for Israel, a US ally?
The dual abilities of Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar to arouse the ire of President Trump and spout antisemitic, anti-Israel messages with impunity have raised their profile well beyond that of other junior representatives and significantly boosted their popularity. Supporters of Israel, as well as those who care about the interests of the US, will have to strive to defeat them in the next Congressional elections.
Hezbollah responded with restraint to Israel’s three-pronged attacks over the past two weeks in Syria, Iraq, and, above all, a neighborhood in Dahiya, the vast Shiite area in Beirut where Hezbollah is headquartered. The organization’s effort to avoid escalation reflects its demographic problem in Lebanon.
A controversial former security official and Abu Dhabi-based political operator, Muhammad Dahlan, has lurked for several years in the shadows of Palestinian politics. It is possible that he will emerge in an attempt to pave the way for US president Donald Trump’s much maligned “Deal of the Century” to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.