The U.S., Israel and Turkey: When My Friend’s Enemy is My Friend

In his WPR column yesterday, Robert Farley discussed Israel's strategic options in light of damaged and possibly doomed ties with Turkey and Egypt. But it's worth noting that an Israel in conflict with two of the United States' closest regional allies also has significant impact on the United States' strategic calculus in the Middle East.

When two friends get into a dispute that not only resists resolution but actually deepens, one eventually begins to feel pressure to move from trying to mediate to choosing sides. And given the realities of U.S. domestic politics, it's only a matter of time before it will become politically expedient in Washington to criticize Turkey and demand that the U.S. take retaliatory action in order to demonstrate our alliance priorities and loyalties lie with Israel.

The signing yesterday of a missile shield deal between the U.S. and Turkey illustrates that, for the time being, the demands of Washington's Iran containment policy -- and concerns over Iraq stability following a U.S. withdrawal -- are overriding those kind of responses.

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