Turbulence in the Mediterranean!

December 23, 2019
Turbulence in the Mediterranean!
Hussein Shobokshi

While major events in Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and other places around the world occupy the news, there are other smaller events taking place in the Mediterranean that are important to monitor because they can be like a snowball that increases in size as it rolls down a mountain or a small spark which sets off a great fire.

The Russians put their feet firmly on the Mediterranean coast through the military bases they obtained from the Syrian regime and the provocative Turkish "movement" against Cyprus, Greece and Egypt led to an increase in tense and sharp statements.

The United States entered into an unprecedented defense agreement with Greece with the American navy using a Greek military base after NATO member Turkey concluded a weapons deal with Russia to purchase S-400 anti-aircraft missiles.

Before that it was announced that huge quantities of gas were discovered in the common maritime borders of Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Syria, Lebanon and Israel. This discovery was practically the end to the state of war between Israel and Lebanon, regardless of the voices of the so-called resistance movement in Lebanon or the voices of the Israeli extreme right, which might say otherwise.

There is great Chinese interest in having a foothold on the Mediterranean and Beijing has made Beirut a tempting offer, in which China will rent the Tripoli seaport in a long-term contract in return for a large amount of money and Chinese investments in various fields.

Finally, Turkey has added fuel to the fire and made matters more complicated with its controversial agreement with the government in Libya that includes suspicious security, political and economic provisions, and gives it the right (when asked by the Libyan government) to make a immediate military intervention. This agreement has raised the concerns of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, who consider it a threat to their national security. As for Britain, it has increased its military presence in Cyprus.

The parade of powers in the |Mediterranean, which was the cradle of ancient civilizations, raises the temperature in a volatile region with civil war in Libya and Syria, a popular revolt in Lebanon, political turmoil in Turkey, a political void in Israel and the largest wave of migrants from Africa to Europe in contemporary history.

There are those who hear from the distance the drums of war beating and the sound is increasing, and there are others who see these events as merely political tactics to win points in other locations. The situation is worrisome and it is an ideal scenario for a military confrontation.

The Mediterranean saw the glories of Alexander the Great, Caesar, Tariq Bin Ziyad and Napoleon, but it was also the tomb of countless others. What is happening in the Mediterranean today does not bode well for the region or the world.

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