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Zenonas Tziarras
(PhD (Cand.) Politics & International Studies, University of Warwick, UK)

Copyright: www.rieas.gr

 Since the drillings at block 12 in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for the finding of natural gas were announced a few months ago, a diplomatic crisis, which later became a real threat to the regional stability and security, begun to unfold. Israel and Greece are directly involved in Cyprus’ efforts to drill out its natural gas; the former because of the geographic proximity of its own underwater energy reserves to the Cypriot block, and the latter because of the common Turkish disputes it faces regarding its marine borders, the strong diplomatic and economic bonds it maintains with Cyprus, the economic benefits of exploiting its own underwater energy resources and the need to delimitate its own EEZ. 

In Memory of Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor.  A Great Traveler, Writer, World War II Resistance Fighter and Philhellene.  Antio Filedem:"The World and Greece is an orphan without you."
 
Nickolaos Mavromates
(Security Analyst-Historian)

Copyright: www.rieas.gr

Reading an article from Haaretz  about the Jewish minority of Finland  and their role of defending their frozen land against the Communist hordes of the Soviet Union,  I took the initiative to put in writing a similar piece but for a different country and with a different enemy in mind, and lastly with a less happy ending.  It is a story of a Greek lion equal to Achilles and Spartan king Leonidas but with Hebrew Romaniote roots that could be traced from the annals of Jewish Greek History.  Someone might ask how this is possible..... Read more

Prof. Efraim Inbar
(Professor of Political Studies at Bar-Illan University and Director of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, Israel)

Copyright:  http://www.biu.ac.il/Besa/

Turkish demands are unreasonable and an apology will not change the anti-Israeli policy of an increasingly authoritarian and Islamist Turkey. Israel’s reluctance to criticize Erdogan’s government is construed as weakness and Jerusalem should take off its gloves in dealing with Ankara..... Read more

Hayim Iserovich
(Foreign Affairs Editor, nrg maariv. Israel)

Copyright: www.rieas.gr

The announcement of the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou that his country will help Israel to get closer to the European Union was another indication to the growing relationship between the two states. After years of suspicion and distrust, Jerusalem and Athens are building rapidly a strategic partnership, which will reach a new height when the two governments will hold a joint meeting in April.

Copyright: www.enkripto.com

The second part of exercise Minoas 2010 that was conducted last May, took part this week at 117th Fighter Wing of the Hellenic Air Force located in Andravida Air Base. More specifficaly in accordance with the military cooperation agreement between the Greek and Israeli goverments, a CSAR Exercise Operation was conducted within Athens F.I.R. from the 11th to the 14th of October. The planning and execution of the LIVEX was conducted by KEAT, HAFs Air Tactics Training Center under the orders of Tactical AIr Force HQ in Larissa and the HAF General Staff, with the direct support of the 117th Fighter Wing.

The benefits of a CSAR exercise are important not only due to the tactical advantages gained from them, but also due to their morale boosting capabilities and the esprit de corps it brings. CSARs purpose is to bring back to base crewmembers that have ejected behind enemy lines, and to do so with speed and maximum safety, using all available resources.

The purpose of the exercise was:
1) Training the personnel of both countries in planning and conducting operations with the participation of fighter aircraft thus augmenting the operational effectiveness of the aircrews in the tactical level.
2) Improving the standarization of the participating units in planning and conducting CSAR operations.
3) Gaining experience in cooperating with Air Forces using a different philosophy by using different assets.
During the exercise familiarization flights, various CSAR scenarios with or without air combat and simulated airfield attacks were flown.

The participating forces were:
Israel
•3 Saraf Longbow Apaches plus one spare from 113sq “The Hornet Squadron” based in Ramon AB.
•3 Yanshuf 3s plus one spare, 2 each from 123sq “The Southern Bells Squadron” based at Hatzerim AB and 124Sq “The Rolling Swords Squadron” based at Palmacim AB.
Greece
•1 Super Puma from 384 Puma Squadron based at Elefsina AB
•2 AH-64A Apaches plus one spare from 1st Attack Helicopter Battalion of the Hellenic Army based at Stefanovikio AB
•6 fighter aircraft from the current SOT (Fighter Weapons School) class that uses a pool of F-4E AUP, F-16 Block 30, F-16 Block 52+, Mirage 2000-5 and Mirage 2000EGM.
•1 CROTALE Air Defence Battery

Also several Israeli Air force Transports and 1 Greek UH-1H were used supporting the IAF detachment and the Greek Apaches respectivelly.

The Exercise took part in North, Western and Central Pelloponese peninsula and in the Ionian Sea, during day and night. Composite Helicopter formations were used, for landings along the flight routes, execution of fighter attacks aagainst the Helicopter formations simulating in the most realistic way various combat scenarios, fighter escorts and package protection, airfiled attacks etc.
Special care was given to Flight Safety both in planning and executing the exercise by using alternate routes and airports and by following all ground safety rules, thus improving in experience and tactical thought. The exercise was a success by acomplishing its objectives and improving the relations between the two Air Forces.

The Israeli Brigadier in command of the Israel Air and Space Force/Zroa HaAvir VeHahalal (Heyl Ha’Avir) detachment spoke very warmly about the high level of cooperation and the smooth way in which the exercise was conducted. He stressed the fact that the men and women under his command were able to train in an unknown for them territory and invited the Hellenic Air Force/Elliniki Polemiki Aeroporia to train in Israel in the near future.

Note: The article’s link is: http://www.enkripto.com/2010/10/exercise-morning-wind-2010.html

The visit of the Greek prime minister George Papandreou to Israel on July 21-22 has been cautiously greeted as a new beginning in Greek- Israeli relations. Greece has traditionally shunned expanded relations with the Jewish state. In a way, it is an irony of history that the incumbent Greek prime minister took the initiative to pay a visit to Israel: his late father, Andreas Papandreou, was an unabashed friend of the PLO and Yassir Arafat and missed no opportunity, while he was prime minister of Greece, to publicly slam and vilify Israel with complete abandon. It was in December 1981 that Papandreou the Elder granted the PLO equal diplomatic status to that of Israel (but, in the background, even a ‘non-aligned’ firebrand like the old Papandreou was quietly searching for ways to improve ties with Israel, beginning with the signing of bilateral cultural and commercial agreements in 1984).

José María Aznar was Prime Minister of Spain (1996-2004) and he contributed an article to The Times in UK.

Copyright: The Times (UK)

Anger over Gaza is a distraction. We cannot forget that Israel is the West’s best ally in a turbulent region
 
For far too long now it has been unfashionable in Europe to speak up for Israel. In the wake of the recent incident on board a ship full of anti-Israeli activists in the Mediterranean, it is hard to think of a more unpopular cause to champion.
 
In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship. In an ideal world, no state, let alone a recent ally of Israel such as Turkey, would have sponsored and organised a flotilla whose sole purpose was to create an impossible situation for Israel: making it choose between giving up its security policy and the naval blockade, or risking the wrath of the world.
 
In our dealings with Israel, we must blow away the red mists of anger that too often cloud our judgment. A reasonable and balanced approach should encapsulate the following realities: first, the state of Israel was created by a decision of the UN. Its legitimacy, therefore, should not be in question. Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology.
 
Second, owing to its roots, history, and values, Israel is a fully fledged Western nation. Indeed, it is a normal Western nation, but one confronted by abnormal circumstances.
 
Uniquely in the West, it is the only democracy whose very existence has been questioned since its inception. In the first instance, it was attacked by its neighbours using the conventional weapons of war. Then it faced terrorism culminating in wave after wave of suicide attacks. Now, at the behest of radical Islamists and their sympathisers, it faces a campaign of delegitimisation through international law and diplomacy.
 
Sixty-two years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace.
 
For years, the focus of Western attention has understandably been on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. But if Israel is in danger today and the whole region is slipping towards a worryingly problematic future, it is not due to the lack of understanding between the parties on how to solve this conflict. The parameters of any prospective peace agreement are clear, however difficult it may seem for the two sides to make the final push for a settlement.
 
The real threats to regional stability, however, are to be found in the rise of a radical Islamism which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfillment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony. Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large.
 
The core of the problem lies in the ambiguous and often erroneous manner in which too many Western countries are now reacting to this situation. It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East. Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.
 
Israel is our first line of defence in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If Israel goes down, we all go down.
 
To defend Israel’s right to exist in peace, within secure borders, requires a degree of moral and strategic clarity that too often seems to have disappeared in Europe. The United States shows worrying signs of heading in the same direction.
 
The West is going through a period of confusion over the shape of the world’s future. To a great extent, this confusion is caused by a kind of masochistic self-doubt over our own identity; by the rule of political correctness; by a multiculturalism that forces us to our knees before others; and by a secularism which, irony of ironies, blinds us even when we are confronted by jihadis promoting the most fanatical incarnation of their faith. To abandon Israel to its fate, at this moment of all moments, would merely serve to illustrate how far we have sunk and how inexorable our decline now appears.
 
This cannot be allowed to happen. Motivated by the need to rebuild our own Western values, expressing deep concern about the wave of aggression against Israel, and mindful that Israel’s strength is our strength and Israel’s weakness is our weakness, I have decided to promote a new Friends of Israel initiative with the help of some prominent people, including David Trimble, Andrew Roberts, John Bolton, Alejandro Toledo (the former President of Peru), Marcello Pera (philosopher and former President of the Italian Senate), Fiamma Nirenstein (the Italian author and politician), the financier Robert Agostinelli and the Catholic intellectual George Weigel.
 
It is not our intention to defend any specific policy or any particular Israeli government. The sponsors of this initiative are certain to disagree at times with decisions taken by Jerusalem. We are democrats, and we believe in diversity.
 
What binds us, however, is our unyielding support for Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself. For Western countries to side with those who question Israel’s legitimacy, for them to play games in international bodies with Israel’s vital security issues, for them to appease those who oppose Western values rather than robustly to stand up in defence of those values, is not only a grave moral mistake, but a strategic error of the first magnitude.
 
Israel is a fundamental part of the West. The West is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel is lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not, our fate is inextricably intertwined.
 
 

 

Steve Stylianoudis
(Senior Analyst – Intelligence Research)

Copyright: Steve Stylianoudis on line

Mr. Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey and its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Davutoglou, crafted the political move of having a flotilla of ships alleged to be carrying “humanitarian” aid attempt to reach GAZA.  This and similar actions are typically deemed to be “acts of war.”  As such, Turkey’s government and its Ministry of Defense were aware, at least in the planning stage, of the real possibility of military action against Israel.  Every country has the right to defend itself.  Israel reacted in a proper and timely manner when it boarded one of the ships.  In doing so, it sent a clear message to Turkey.

Prof Daniel Pipes contributed an article titled “Who Lost Turkey?” Read more
Savvas Iacovides contributed an article titled "We Need a Defence Cooperation Agreement with Israel." Read more

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