Weekend long read

1) Writing at the Jerusalem Post, Dr Jonathan Spyer asks ‘Will Egypt fight Turkey in Libya?’.

“The Libyan House of Representatives in Tobruk this week passed a motion approving Egyptian military intervention, should this prove necessary in the fight against the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. This latest move is set to sharply escalate tensions in the divided and strife-torn country.

The decision raises the still remote but no longer unthinkable possibility of a conventional clash between Egyptian and Turkish forces on the soil of Libya. What began as a proxy war now threatens to escalate into a direct conflict. For now, the fighting fronts remain static around the town of Sirte. The focus looks set to return to crisis diplomacy intended to avert a direct clash over the next period. But the escalation is very real, and reflects a dangerous combination of geostrategic rivalries and long-standing ideological differences between Ankara and Cairo.”

2) At the BESA Center, Dr Emmanuel Karagiannis provides ‘Five Reasons Why the West Will Lose Turkey’.

“The Islamization of the country is a bottom-up rather than a top-down process. Anatolian Turks, who tend to be more conservative and religious, have higher birth rates than the westernized Turks of Istanbul and the Aegean coast. Many now view Kemalist secularism as an imposed political and cultural order that ignores the country’s rich Islamic heritage.

Like other populist leaders, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is keenly attuned to public sentiment. His anti-American, anti-European, and sometimes antisemitic rhetoric has made him popular among many religious Turks. After all, the country views itself as the successor of the Ottoman Empire. For five centuries, Istanbul was the seat of the Caliphate and the Ottoman Sultan was viewed as the leader of the Muslim world. Erdoğan’s Turkey wants to play the same role, as can be seen in its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and other Islamist groups.”

3) Sima Shine discusses the recent incident in Natanz, Iran, at the INSS.

“The explosion on July 2, 2020 at the site for assembling advanced centrifuges in the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz dealt a blow to Iran’s plans to progress to more advanced stages in its nuclear project – although it will not prevent Iran’s continued accumulation of enriched uranium, which in principle shortens the Iranian timetable for obtaining a nuclear weapon. The Iranian dilemma is whether to exercise restraint or to respond, and if it chooses to respond, how. Thus far, Israel has not been accused directly. Tehran’s response options are in the nuclear sphere (uranium enrichment to 20 percent or interference with inspections); the cyber sphere; the kinetic sphere against Israel, Saudi Arabia, or American facilities (ground-to-ground missiles and/or drones); and international terrorism. All of the options involve risks, and do not serve the primary Iranian interest of having the sanctions against it removed soon. The growing pressure in Tehran, however, joined by ideological considerations and political infighting, makes a response more likely, and requires Israel to prepare defenses and responses for each of these options.”

4) In light of statements made by officials from Palestinian factions, the ITIC looks at the concept of ‘popular resistance’.

“The “popular resistance,” represented by Jibril Rajoub and Fatah spokesmen as the response chosen for Israel’s annexation of territories in Judea and Samaria, is not a new strategy, as it has been utilized by Fatah and the PA for a decade. It is implemented regularly and those who carry out popular terrorism attacks receive support from Fatah and the PA. […]

Popular terrorism is not an isolated strategy but rather part of a combined political, economic, media, propaganda and legal campaign waged by the PA against Israel. From the perspective of the PA and Fatah, implementing the “popular resistance” creates a situation of constant, monitored, controlled tension between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians can use it to exert pressure on Israel in a way that, quantitatively and qualitatively, is in accordance with developments in political activity and is considered as legitimate by the international community. At the same time, in the internal Palestinian arena the PA and Fatah represent the “popular resistance” as an acceptable alternative for the Palestinian public in Judea and Samaria to Hamas’ concept of “armed resistance.” Hamas’ concept is not considered by the PA and Fatah as beneficial to the Palestinian struggle against Israel at this point in time (although it has not been rejected in principle).

The “popular resistance” is not the calm, non-violent protest it is repeatedly claimed to be by Mahmoud Abbas and other senior PA and Fatah figures (mainly for Western ears and at international forums).”



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