The new axis in the Middle East

Turkey, formerly a close ally of the US and the Muslim country with the warmest relations with Israel, started moving in the other direction with the rise to power of the Islamist AKP party under Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan in 2003.

Hostility to Israel reached a high level during the Gaza war in 2008-9, with ErdoÄŸan famously stomping off the stage he shared with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2009.

The hostility peaked with the Mavi Marmara episode this May 31 — most likely orchestrated by the Turkish regime — in which nine Turkish Islamist extremists were killed after they attacked an Israeli boarding party with knives, iron bars and live fire.

In fact, Turkey is now a full partner in the Iran-Hezbollah-Syria alliance against the US and Israel. ErdoÄŸan-friendly foreign-policy commentator Semih Idiz writes,

Consider the recent traffic in the Middle East, with Prime Minister Erdoğan paying a high-profile visit to Syria, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting Lebanon in a similar manner. Add to this the increasingly warm ties between Ankara and Tehran as well as the fact that all three countries are also Hamas- and Hezbollah-friendly, and a picture of some kind of a “new axis” emerges for the region.

Put briefly, there is an increasingly apparent ideological divide that is growing between Turkey and the U.S. in particular, and Turkey and Europe to a lesser extent, and this is most apparent when Iran or Hamas is the subject of discussion.

On one side of the divide we have a U.S. that is prepared to use its influence come what may on behalf of Israel [I wish — ed.]. The same applies to Europe also, up to a point. On the other hand we have a Turkey that is increasingly prepared to use its influence on behalf of Iran and Syria at the expense of angering and alienating its traditional partners and allies in the West and the Middle East.

The loss of Turkey — a NATO member and military power — to the West is an event of great significance which has been almost entirely ignored here. Lebanon, too, has more or less lost its independent status as Hizballah’s influence there has grown, and Iranian PM Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent visit to Lebanon reflects his staking Iran’s claim to control that country.

Future historians of the Middle East will point to this period as a turning point.

Here’s how one Israeli cartoonist (exclusively in FresnoZionism!) sees the relationship between the Iranian regime and its satellites:

The new axis in the Middle East

The new axis in the Middle East

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2 Responses to “The new axis in the Middle East”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    The situation with Turkey is worrisome and points to a development which is extremely problematic for Israel. Both Iran and Turkey two large non- Arab states are now demonstrating total hostility to Israel. Iran is the openly more threatening and its possible possession of a nuclear capability is the first danger Israel now faces. But Turkey is a far more formidable power militarily and while it once was inconceivable that they could enter a coalition of Evil against us, it is now more possible.
    This as I say is one of the most worrisome developments now taking place. Our long time cooperation militarily with Turkey means they know much about us. I do not envy Israeli military planners as they work to contend with present and future dangers.

  2. Robman says:

    Well, your military planners know much about them, too, and the relationship was mostly one-way: You were training/providing equipment to them, so the “balance of knowledge” favors Israel.

    Turkey has a long military traditions, but they haven’t done much lately. Most of their commanders’ experience has to do with beating up on Kurdish rebels. Other than that, they mostly patrolled no-fly zones with their air force, and flew some recon sorties. They put a small number of troops in Afghanistan; I don’t know how they performed, but fighting the Taliban ain’t exactly going up against the IDF.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sanguine about this, but I’m not shaking in my boots over it, either.