(RIEAS Academic Advisor based in Seattle, USA)
Copyright: Research Institute for European and American Studies (www.rieas.gr) based in Athens, Greece. (Publication Date: 12 April 2014)
In recent years, energy, and its connection to security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, has increasingly occupied headlines. To say the least, the geographical area in question is pregnant with risks of major upheavals, including armed conflict of which Syria is the current glaring example. What would be a simplified -- if we are allowed to use the term -- outline of the major concerns emerging against the backdrop of oil and gas exploration and current strains and stresses in the region?
It takes courage to use the term “simplified” about a vortex that continues to threaten international peace and security. With the Middle East crisis as the perennial backdrop, countries like Cyprus, Greece, and Israel are developing mutual ties in order to proceed with exploiting energy discoveries in their respective seas. But, of course, nothing is simple in the Levant. Turkey continues to flex its muscles under the increasingly strident leadership of PM Erdogan, who misses no opportunity to declare Turkey’s unilateral “rights” in every direction. A nascent strategic partnership between Greece and Israel has been affected by Greece’s economic collapse and repeated external bailouts. Cyprus remains divided, with Turkey occupying its northern part and demanding a “re-united” island under a federated state that recognizes the Turkish minority as an equal partner of the majority Greek population and, effectively, legitimizes the results of the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island without any meaningful settlement. In the immediate background, the US is concerned with maintaining peace in the region and promoting American oil interests already developing in the Levant. At the end of the day, there is unfortunately nothing “simplified” about this mind-boggling situation.... Read more