Israel Develops its Strategy in Eastern Mediterranean


Israeli think tanks, such as the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and the Institute for National Security Studies, reiterate the strategic importance of the maritime arena and its impact on Israel’s national security in a turbulent region, the impact of the declining US role in the region and the world on Israel and the new shifts in the region. From a geopolitical perspective, the eastern Mediterranean region is an important vital sphere for Israel. The region has been a major arena for international interactions and competition between Western and Eastern superpowers since the end of World War II. Israel looks to the Eastern Mediterranean as a beachhead to employ power around the Middle East. The Eastern Mediterranean is a pivotal crossroads between East and West through the Silk Road and the Suez Canal. These routes are the main link between the West and oil-rich Arab Gulf States and the emerging market of India. This region is a hub for important international issues such as radical Islam, international terrorism and nuclear proliferation (Israel and Iran.) The decline of the US hegemony and the rise of a new strategic landscape in a region affected by shift from unipolar order into a new multipolar sub-order are some of the important factors for turmoil in this region. The shifting geopolitical map of the Middle East in recent decades led to the rise of emerging challenges in Eastern Mediterranean. The following are some of the major trends in the Middle East from an Israeli perspective: 1. The turmoil in the region has shaken the concept and meaning of the Arab state, which was the foundation of regional order, because some states are disintegrating and turning into failing states; 2. Demographically inhomogeneous states are likely to disintegrate from within and pave the way for the rise of autonomous cantons on geographic, sectarian, cultural or functional bases. These cantons usually fall under the control of extreme elements that impose its authority and power by force; 3. There is a growing role for regional players due to the weakness of Arab states, notably Iran and Turkey; 4. Confronting Islamist terrorist organizations is a major challenge for regular armies in some countries of the region, which might lead to the disintegration and fall of these armies like what happened to the Iraqi and Yemeni armies; 5. Israel today is surrounded by danger: Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, Syrian rebel groups, which include Jihadist organizations located near the Golan Heights, Hamas in Gaza and Jihadist organizations in Sinai. Source: The Institute for National Security Studies and Israeli studies’ centers

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