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Will the Eastern Mediterranean become the next Persian Gulf? 25 juillet 2013

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Middle Eastern Outlook (American Enterprise Institute – AEI) No. 3, July 2013

Niklas Anzinger *

For more than two decades, the United States has placed the issue of Eastern Mediterranean maritime ­security on the backburner. But the 2010 discovery of what may potentially be 3,450 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil in the Eastern Mediterranean’s Levant Basin brings that region’s security to the forefront. Turkey and Cyprus have competing interests in tapping the newfound oil and gas and in defending their access to those resources, while Israel and Lebanon continue to dispute their shared maritime boundary and territorial waters. Against this backdrop, political tensions are escalating in Egypt, Moscow seeks to expand its influence in Syria, and Iran continues to facilitate terrorist activities through its aides in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. Current US force posture in the Persian Gulf reflects the type of investment that may become necessary in the Eastern Mediterranean as conflicts loom: establishing cooperative security sites with favorable geographic locations, building on-call operating facilities, and establishing pre-agreements with the host nations that permit the US military to utilize the sites.

* Niklas Anzinger (niklasanzinger@gmail.com) is a foreign and defense policy intern at AEI.

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