This is a newsblurb report on the emerging clarification of alliances surrounding the Middle East, the Levant, and the Eastern Mediterranean. On one side you have the US-led alliance, and on the other side you have the Russian-led alliance. Lines are being drawn and the lesser players are being drawn in to the two competing camps.
This is just a snapshot of some of the machinations currently unfolding.
The US axis defined:
French President Emmanuel Macron has accused the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia of instigating a war as their mutual foe, Iran, was rocked by a week of protests.
Macron on Wednesday joined several other world leaders to weigh in on protests that began as demonstrations against austerity measures under Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and later spilled into isolated, deadly clashes between civilians and security forces. The French leader called for dialogue with Tehran and criticized three of his international partners for pursuing what he considered bellicose policies toward a country the trio have increasingly sought to isolate and undermine in recent years.
“The official line pursued by the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who are our allies in many ways, is almost one that would lead us to war,” Macron told reporters, according to Reuters.
Read more at Newsweek
A US Axis partner, Greece:
From Keep Talking Greece
WASHINGTON, Oct 17, 2017 – The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Greece for an upgrade of F-16 aircraft to an F-16 Block V configuration. The estimated cost is $2.404 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on October 16, 2017.
The Government of Greece has requested a possible purchase of an upgrade of its existing F-16 fleet to an F-16 Block V configuration which includes up to one hundred twenty-five (125) APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radars (includes two (2) spares); one hundred twenty-three (123) Modular Mission Computers (MMCs); one hundred twenty-three (123) LINK-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS-JTRS) with TACAN and EHSI; one hundred twenty-three (123) LN260 Embedded Global Navigation Systems (EGI)/Inertial Navigation Systems (INS); and one hundred twenty-three (123) Improved Programmable Display Generators (iPDGs). Also included in the proposed sale are up to one hundred twenty-three (123) APX-126 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) Combined Interrogator Transponders (CIT); one (1) Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS); one (1) F-16V Simulator; upgrade to two (2) existing simulators; one (1) Avionics Level Test Station; Secure Communications, cryptographic equipment and navigation equipment; upgrade and integration of the Advanced Self-Protection Integrated Suite (ASPIS) I to ASPIS II on twenty-six (26) F-16s; Ground Support System, systems integration and test; spares and repair parts, support and test equipment; personnel training and training equipment; publications and technical documentation; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, logistical, and technical support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated program cost is $2.404 billion.
Read More at Keep Talking Greece
The Russian Axis is clarified:
From the NY Times
Leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran announced an agreement on Wednesday to sponsor a conference aimed at achieving a peaceful settlement of the Syria war.
The announcement by the three leaders, who were meeting in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, underscored Russia’s increasingly influential role in determining the outcome of the war, which appears to be winding down after nearly seven years.
The conference they proposed, also to be held in Sochi, was announced just days before a new round of peace talks was planned in Geneva, convened by a special United Nations envoy, Staffan de Mistura.
Read more at the NY Times
Cyprus shifts to the US axis
From Cyprus Mail
President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, will be in Saudi Arabia on the January 2, to pay the first visit by a Cypriot President to the country.
CNA has learnt that the President will be accompanied in Riyadh by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Energy, Defence and Transport and the Government Spokesman.
President Anastasiades’ meetings will take place on the 3rd of January.
Government sources have told CNA that the visit is important and symbolic, as it is the first visit of a Cypriot President to the country.
Read More at Cyprus Mail
Trying to flip Iran towards the US axis.
From the Corbett Report
Reports have just come out claiming that the United States and Israel have signed a secret deal to tackle the nuclear threat from Iran, so it looks like the deal isn’t so secret anymore. The far-reaching Memorandum of Understanding was signed on December 12th at the White House following intense talks between both nations and plans to set up four teams to handle various aspects of the Iranian threat. One team will focus on Iranian activityin Syria and Lebanon, another will deal with both diplomatic and intelligence activities to grapple with Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions, a third will tackle Iran’s ballistic missile program and the fourth will oversee preparations for any escalation by Iran or Hezbollah.
And then, just two days after that report broke, just three weeks after the plan itself was agreed, a wave of protests broke out across Iran. These protests, originating in discontent over the performance of the economy under the Rouhani government, soon morphed into rallies, riots and violence aimed against the Iranian republic itself.
Could these protests be the result of the US and Israeli plan to undermine Iran? If these were just two isolated data points then connecting these dots would be a stretch. But when we put recent events into their proper perspective, there is no doubt that the US, Israel and their allies are actively supporting and fomenting regime change in Iran. And that’s why “We Need to Talk About the Iran Protests.”
Read More at the Corbett Report
Turkey’s power play.
From Jerusalem Post
In Sudan in the last week of December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that his host country had agreed to transfer the island of Suakin in the Red Sea to Turkey to rebuild and administer for an undefined period of time.
It seems Erdogan intends to set up naval facilities in this strategic spot. The island is adjacent to the port of the same name and 50 km. south of Port Sudan, situated opposite the coast of Saudi Arabia. Ferries run daily from Suakin to Jeddah .
The Sudanese president confirmed that a memorandum had been signed by both countries to formalize the deal. Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour added that military and security cooperation agreements had also been signed during the visit for the construction of facilities for the maintenance of civil and military vessels in the harbor.
Read More at the Jerusalem Post