- From the Editor
The Mediterranean Quarterly is pleased to provide the latest issue of essays that are sure to illuminate and inform readers who must be attentive to and aware of the multitude of issues affecting the Mediterranean region today. The first essay in this issue comes from Deborah Sanders. “Maritime Security in the Black Sea: Out with the New, In with the Old” highlights important new security challenges attendant with the rise of Russia. The Black Sea region is increasingly becoming a contested area. Turkey sits opposite Russia with respect to the Syrian Civil War, and other nearby countries, such as Romania and Bulgaria, are fearful of Moscow’s influence after witnessing Russian military success against Georgia in 2008 and, since 2014, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in Ukraine. As Sanders highlights, increased competition among the powers along the Black Sea littoral is in many ways more similar to traditional regional tensions than to the relatively benign period between the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and Russian aggression that began under President Vladmir Putin. Indeed, alongside Russia’s campaign to influence the 2016 US presidential election and its military buildup in the Baltic Sea region, Russia may now be considered one of the greatest among the many threats to the peace and stability of the Mediterranean region. Washington’s current indifference to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the United Kingdom’s decision to invoke article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, triggering a two-year negotiation for its departure from the European Union, means there may be little standing in Russia’s way in advancing its geostrategic goals in the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and points beyond. [End Page 1]
The next two essays focus on Greece, a country that has been teetering and tottering between the twin challenges of massive migration brought on by the Syrian Civil War and other areas of instability and the ongoing Greek financial crisis. Tina Mavrikos-Adamou’s essay, “Immigration Law and the Politics of Migration in Greece,” traces the legal framework of immigration back to 1991, when the first wave of immigrants came to Greece following the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the breakup of Yugoslavia along Greece’s northern border. Mavrikos-Adamou demonstrates how a dangerous cocktail of economic austerity mixed with over 1 million illegal immigrants landing on Greece’s shores has abetted the rise of three significant anti-immigrant parties in Greek politics, with one, the right-wing Independent Greeks Party, under the leadership of Panos Kammenos, now part of the government’s ruling coalition.
Following this timely analysis of political issues intensified by the dual challenge to Greece, Constantine Danopoulos’s “Participation, Competition, and the Quality of Democracy in Greece” examines the political foundations of modern Greek democracy. By examining Greek’s participation and competition in civic life, Danopoulos assesses whether the quality of Greek democracy will be able to cope with the current and ongoing stresses and strains. As Danopoulos shows, the quality of Greek democracy is mixed. While participation appears to be in decline as Greeks become increasingly demoralized by the financial crisis, which still appears to have no end in sight, competition through its relatively free and open election system, allowing for the peaceful transfer of power, remains healthy and vibrant. Whether it is enough to sustain Greece through continuing crises, however, remains to be seen.
Following this analysis is an essay that focuses on the challenges facing the Middle East today from a theoretical base. “Identity, War, and Just Cause for War: Hezbollah and Its Use of Force,” by Zafer Kizilkaya, examines one of the basic issues confronting the region: what justifies a group’s decision to take up arms against an enemy? Using Lebanese Hezbollah as a case study, Kizilkaya examines “how identities influence the way in which wars are legitimized,” comparing the group’s conflicts with Israel from the 1980s to the early 2000s with its intervention in the Syrian Civil War since 2011. The author shows how Hezbollah’s identity has evolved over time as the conditions for its actions changed, providing insight into the organization’s success in...