In 2016, the American Hellenic Institute launched the study Souda Bay: NATO's Military Gem in the Eastern Mediterranean produced by the Lexington Institute, which provides a detailed analysis of one of the most important naval bases in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The study serves as an important resource for understanding the strategic importance of Souda Bay, which is particularly relevant in the context of the ongoing war in the region between Israel and Hamas. Currently, the Gulf of Souda is increasingly being used by the United States military, which has reportedly sent large numbers of personnel and aircraft to the area as part of an ongoing surge of forces in the region.
In addition to providing information on the capabilities of the base, the report also specifically highlights the importance of its proximity to the area of the current conflict. For example, the report quotes Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander in NATO, who stated that "Greece occupies a remarkable geopolitical position as a stable southeastern anchor in the NATO Alliance. The bases in Crete are particularly critical when considering the instability in the Levant." Dr. Goure, Senior Vice President of the Lexington Institute, referred to Souda Bay as a permanent aircraft carrier in the middle of the Mediterranean that provides critical support for Allied military activities in the region.
The report also highlights the strategic partnerships between Greece and the United States and Greece and Israel:
"Since 2011, US, Greek and Israeli navies have conducted Exercise Noble Dina annually to increase interoperability in the US Sixth Fleet's area of operations. The Greek and Israeli navies practice in many other mission areas in at-sea exercises between air and surface assets, and Israeli helicopter pilots recently conducted an eleven-day training exercise near Mount Olympus. The Greek Armed Forces aim to work closely with the Israel Defense Forces and expand military cooperation, including defense industry initiatives. In January 2016, the governments of Israel and Greece met to sign bilateral agreements to enhance cooperation in foreign affairs, maritime relations, civil defense, terrorism and other issues. A trilateral meeting was also held between Israel, Greece and Cyprus to create a permanent framework for countries that share similar values of security and peace to enhance stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and promote regional prosperity."
AHI President Nick Larigakis, who regularly visits Souda Bay to monitor its capabilities, said, "This substantial report documents how Greece can be used to advance the interests of the United States and its allies, especially in terms of defense cooperation. Souda Bay is home to one of the most important military installations in the region and therefore serves an indisputable role in supporting our nation's strategic positions in the region. the United States and its allies in their engagement in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Souda Bay is truly the military jewel of the Eastern Mediterranean."
Read the study Souda Bay: NATO's Military Gem in the Eastern Mediterranean here.