via Hoover Daily Report
Strategika Issue 62 is now available online. Strategika is an online journal that analyzes ongoing issues of national security in light of conflicts of the past—the efforts of the Military History Working Group of historians, analysts, and military personnel focusing on military history and contemporary conflict
by Barry Strauss via Strategika
The Mediterranean Sea is today, as it has always been, a crossroads. The name itself testifies to that, as it means “the sea in the middle of the earth,” a Latin term reflecting an earlier Greek belief. We know better, or do we? From Syria to Libya and on the high seas, and with outside players including China, Iran, Russia, and the United States, the Mediterranean has re-emerged of late as a cockpit of conflict.
by Marilyn Stern and Gary C. Gambill
Middle East Forum Radio
December 21, 2019
The Turkish Parliament will vote on sending soldiers to the north African country to support its internationally recognized government, but the deployment could entrench Turkey in Libya’s long-running internal strife as well as intensify regional tensions.
quoting Jakub Grygiel via Mosaic Magazine
After a hiatus from involvement in the Middle East that began in 1991, Russia has reasserted itself in the region through its intervention in the Syrian civil war. Jakub Grygiel explains how America made this return possible through empty rhetoric, passivity, and shortsightedness.
President Erdogan’s Syria plan has had unintended ramifications: Saudi Arabia and the UAE are now cozying up to the Kurds, the Kurds are uniting, and the Russians are guiding the solutions on the ground.
The Consolidation of the Turkey-Qatar Axis
by Charles Hill via The Caravan
The Islamic political philosopher Alfarabi (872-950), one of the notable transmitters of ancient Greek classical texts from the Eastern Mediterranean through the Maghreb to Spain’s al-Andalus and on into Western Europe, produced in his major work the idea of “The Virtuous City,” an ideal form of governance I occasionally heard mentioned by my Arab colleagues when I served at the United Nations in the 1990’s.
via The Caravan
Issue 1924 of The Caravan is now available online. The journal is a periodic symposium on the contemporary dilemmas of the Greater Middle East.
The recently signed Turkey-Libya military cooperation deal and maritime delimitation agreement threatened to raise tensions not only in Libya but throughout the Eastern Mediterranean with Turkey asserting the right to intervene militarily in Libya if requested and to drill for oil and gas.
by Benjamin Baird
The Armenian Weekly
December 17, 2019
by Omar Hossino via The Caravan
The policy debate on Syria has unfortunately been reduced to a discussion of whether or not U.S. troops should remain in that country. What is missing in the debate however is a fundamental reflection on why we should be in Syria at all. Iran should be at the heart of that question.
The agreement between Yemen's government and secessionist forces in the south has shown little progress since it was signed more than a month ago.
Libyan warlord Khalifa Hifter’s forces are advancing toward the capital Tripoli, a spokesman for Hifter's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) said on Monday. Ahmed al-Mesmari added that LNA forces had downed a Turkish drone. Hifter ordered his forces last week to advance on Tripoli in a “final battle” for the capital. He launched his offensive against the UN-recognized Government of National Accord in April, with support from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia. The assault has drawn international condemnation but little action except from Turkey, which has pledged to send troops if Tripoli asks.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday he needed to speak with his Turkish counterpart to understand how serious Ankara is about shutting down two strategic air bases. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Sunday that Turkey could close the Incirlik Air Base and the Kurecik radar station in retaliation to threats of US sanctions and a congressional resolution recognizing the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide. “The first I heard of it was reading it in the papers … so I need to talk to my defense counterpart to understand what they really mean and how serious they are,” Esper told reporters. Esper said over the weekend that he was worried Turkey is “spinning out” of the NATO orbit.
by Nibras Kazimi via The Caravan
I had to take a pause once news filtered out that the ‘caliph’ of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been killed in the small village of Barisha near the Syrian-Turkish border—of all places. Notwithstanding that that area of Idlib Province is currently controlled by his ideological rivals—fellow jihadists who would have gladly killed him off themselves—and has been so for a number of years, there were several other mitigating factors that would deem such a locale a forbidding refuge from a jihadist security mindset.
The Syria Redeployment As Counter-Iran Strategy
by Tony Badran via The Caravan
President Trump’s withdrawal of US troops on the Syria-Turkey border met with a bipartisan rebuke. While rejection of the president’s decision was the consensus, the rationales for the rejection varied, reflecting multiple and often discordant objectives that the president’s critics have projected onto the US military mission in Syria.
Hussein Ibish writes: Hezbollah, in particular, is desperate to protect the existing political order, one that maximizes its influence and minimizes its responsibility. No one stands to lose more from the sweeping reforms demanded by the protesters: a complete overhaul of the political system, undertaken by a government of unaffiliated technocrats. […]And what if, as is likely, the new man is rejected by the protesters? It is conceivable Hezbollah will go back to the drawing board, and seek another compromise candidate who preserves the status quo. – Bloomberg
Defense Secretary Mark Esper refused to put a timeline on the Pentagon’s scaled-down mission to defeat the Islamic State and guard Syrian oil fields at the agency’s last press briefing of the year.
Pacts between Libya, Turkey raise tensions with Egypt
Egypt's criticism of Libya's internationally recognized government is mounting in light of the latter's maritime and security agreements with Turkey.