Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is arguably the most gonzo Secretary of State in a generation, has decided on another bit of hawkish crazy, the US will https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/cyprus-hails-us-decision-to-fully-lift-weapons-embargo/2022/09/17/bf49676c-366c-11ed-a0d6-415299bfebd5_story.html, and will start selling arms to the the Greek Cypriot government.
While the situation in Cyprus is far from optimal, this is not a welcome development:
Cyprus on Saturday hailed the full lifting of a U.S. arms embargo on the ethnically divided island nation as a milestone reaffirming increasingly tighter bilateral bonds that serve to bolster stability in the turbulent east Mediterranean region.
President Nicos Anastasiades tweeted his gratitude to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez, for helping to lift the embargo.
Turkey, which maintains more than 35,000 troops in the northern third of Cyprus, condemned the decision. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry urged the U.S. to reconsider, warning that the move would harm efforts for a Cyprus peace deal, lead to an arms race on the island and undermine regional stability.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in in a statement that Secretary of State Antony Blinken determined Cyprus met the conditions to allow for “exports, re-exports and transfers of defense articles … for the fiscal year 2023.”
The U.S. will assess annually whether Cyprus complies with conditions for the embargo lift, including implementing anti-money laundering regulations and denying Russian military vessels access to ports for refueling and servicing.
Cyprus barred Russian warships from using its ports in early March following the invasion of Ukraine.
This is clearly a payback for supporting US sanctions, and it is a black eye for Turkish President Erdoğan, but it greatly increases the possibility of hostilities on the island, which would likely result in the outbreak of hostilities between NATO members Turkey and Greece.
To quote Tallyrand (actually, he did not originate the phrase), “It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake.