Changing Alliances In The Middle East

Please excuse the short history lesson, but it is needed to put current events in perspective. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the first President of Turkey. When the modern state of Turkey was established after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, Ataturk wanted to abolish the caliphate and create a secular country. (In response to the idea of Turkey becoming a secular country, Hassan al Banna founded the Ikhwan al-Muslimin, the Society of Muslim Brothers or the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt in 1928.) The efforts of Ataturk were successful until the election of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2003. Erdogan is very quietly moving the country toward an Islamic state. Logically, as Turkey moves toward becoming an Islamic state, relations between Israel and Turkey are becoming strained.

On Thursday, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Turkey has been charged with leaking the identities of Israeli agents to Iran.

The article reports:

Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) allegedly revealed the identities of as many as 10 Iranians who were meeting covertly with Israeli spies in Turkey, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported Wednesday. Israeli and Turkish intelligence have had a close collaboration for decades.

U.S. officials declined to protest the leak directly to Turkey after it was discovered, according to the Post. President Obama also pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come to a detente with Erdogan in March after several years of strained relations stemming from the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid.

“That Obama didn’t condemn the leak really is as great a scandal as Turkey betraying the secrets in the first place, especially given how the United States benefits so directly from Israel’s intelligence gathering,” said Michael Rubin, a Middle East scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Michael Rubin also stated that President Obama should suspend sharing intelligence information with Turkey.

A U.K. Telegraph article posted on Thursday added more information:

There was no immediate comment from Israel’s government, but one former intelligence chief suggested that the leak might have led to the men’s executions. Israeli media pointed out that the report fitted with Iran’s declaration in April last year that it had uncovered a network of 15 Mossad agents.

Turkey, a Nato member, has long been Israel’s key security ally in the region, but that changed gradually after Mr Erdogan, a “soft Islamist”, was elected prime minister and became more expressly vocal in support of the Palestinian cause.

At some point, we are going to have to examine Turkey’s membership in NATO.

The article in the U.K Telegraph points out:

However, the response inside Israel was bitter. Danny Yatom, a former head of Mossad, described the alleged incident as a “great betrayal”.

“It’s against all the rules which have existed for many years, the unwritten rules concerning cooperation between intelligence organisations that reveal sensitive information to one another and trust one another not to use that information to harm whoever gave it to them,” he told Israeli radio.

The alliances in the Middle East are changing; the Obama Administration needs to acknowledge that fact and act accordingly.


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