Recent moves by combat naval units in the international waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea have conspicuously burgeoned, suggesting that the region is heating up. There are both regional and nonregional factors contributing to this worrisome trend.

The nonregional factor is the spilling over of the naval rivalry between Russia and NATO from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean in recent months.

As for the regional factors, the first is the Syrian crisis. Particularly since the beginning of US air attacks on Syria, many countries, notably Russia, have stepped up their reconnaissance and surveillance operations in the eastern Mediterranean usually described as “the gate of Middle East to Syria and the Mediterranean.” […]