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Does Natural Gas Hold The Key To Peace In The Middle East?

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Two weeks after the devastating explosion that damaged or destroyed large sections of Beirut, former Lebanese President Michel Aoun was asked by French television about the possibility of making peace with Israel. Startlingly, Aoun, a Christian whose political party has been aligned with the Shiite paramilitary/political/terror group Hezbollah, which is bent on Israel’s destruction, did not rule peace out.

“That depends,” he stated. “We have problems with Israel and we have to resolve them first.”

That Aoun even hinted at making peace with Israel could mean a lot of things (or nothing, to be honest). But just the fact that he said it shows the hit that Hezbollah has taken following the explosions. Knowing how Hezbollah has inserted itself into every aspect of life in Lebanon, few Lebanese believe the terror group was not at least aware that about 2750 metric tons of potentially explosive ammonium nitrate was being stored at the port with virtually no safeguards against the kind of explosion that did, in fact, happen.

With the Lebanese economy in free fall even before the explosion, and then with Lebanese society devastated by the coronavirus, the port disaster may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for the old Lebanese political and social order. So massive was the blast that large amounts of basic infrastructure like water and power lines were devastated. Immense stocks of food and medicine vaporized. Buildings simply vanished.

As Lebanese politicians try to cobble together seemingly unworkable plans to import basic necessities, Israel’s massive Haifa port lies only 130 kilometers away from Beirut. As basic necessities run out, life becomes a struggle just to exist, and rebuilding infrastructure will become a massively expensive and difficult project, fewer Lebanese may be willing to toe Hezbollah’s rejectionist line and stand on principle to refuse Israel’s potential help.

What then, could Israel do to help induce Lebanese society break with Hezbollah and make peace with Israel? One thing would be to actively seek a solution to the two countries’ maritime dispute. Lebanon has never recognized Israel, and the two nations have never demarcated a maritime border. This became truly important when natural gas was discovered offshore in the Mediterranean Sea in 2009. Now, development of that resource could either spark new hostilities between the two countries or create new sources of wealth and prosperity for both of them, depending on their willingness to be cooperative.

The Leviathan natural gas field straddles the territorial waters of Israel, Cyprus, and Lebanon (with Turkey trying to make its own claims as well). Already Israel, Cyprus, and Greece have reached an agreement to develop the gas and lay a pipeline to transport it to Europe.

However, Israel’s Block 72 of the gas field lies very close to Lebanon’s Block 9. On June 23, Israel announced plans to develop Block 72, seeking bids with a delivery date of September 23. Lebanon protested immediately, ratcheting up tension. President Aoun himself declared on July 2 that the Israeli decision to develop Block 72 was “extremely dangerous.”

Then Beirut exploded. Suddenly, exploring for natural gas became far less significant to the average Lebanese than getting it delivered to their homes. But in the long term, a mutual understanding between Israel and Lebanon that would allow them both to benefit from natural gas exploration may be just the catalyst that moves the two historical enemies toward peace.

For Israel, natural gas provides another huge opportunity. Having just made peace with the United Arab Emirates, in which Israel agreed (at least temporarily) not to annex parts of the West Bank and the UAE agreed to formally recognize Israel as a sovereign country, Israel now has a carrot to offer Lebanon in return for real peace and a dismantling of Hezbollah’s military machine. Joint development of the natural gas fields – or at the very least, recognizing each other’s right to do so – can help both countries and bring tangible benefit to the average Lebanese civilian.

Hezbollah certainly will not go quietly, but with so many Lebanese feeling that the society they have now literally is killing them, it will be harder for Hezbollah to convince the Lebanese that they should continue to suffer for a conflict few of them continue to believe in, or really even to understand.


6 Comments on "Does Natural Gas Hold The Key To Peace In The Middle East?"

  1. FamousDrScanlon on Sat, 22nd Aug 2020 11:34 pm 

    PEACE, n. In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.

    Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

  2. bochen777 on Sun, 23rd Aug 2020 10:27 pm

    The US has indeed already used biowar (ASF swine pork, CIAVID-19, etc) , small scale tactical nukes (against China’s BRI ports) and have also chokepointed China’s technology ascension by cutting China off from semiconductor independency and the entire semiconductor supply chain via strong arm sanctions… That EUV machine that China already purchased from ASML was mysteriously set on fire (CIA sent an agent hitman-style is my best guess) and by the time they repaired the factory the export license had expired and the US pressured ASML to refuse delivery etc) and not to mention color revolutions left and right like Bolivia (to deprive China from lithium to make batteries EV needed to exports its EV tech abroad) and now Beirut and Belarus etc etc etc…

    I wouldn’t surprise me that running up to the election Trump will tell ARM, TSMC, AMD and Intel to stop all exports (and cut all business relations) of all chips to entire country of China and all Chinese companies (no longer limited to Huawei, ZTE, and other companies already on the US shit list etc) as a means to chokepoint China much like how the US blockade Japanese oil during WWII… indeed processor chips are the modern oil in this information age and not so ironically China spends more money importing processor chips than it does oil! AI is predicated upon the silicon stack, without the physical processors the AI networks get nowhere fast. US knows this is China’s greatest weakpoint and will use it to strike very soon…

    All Chinese Americans currently living in the USA, hear me now: the US government will put/us you all into concentration camps, the US government will gas chamber all of us and put us into death camps and oven us and likely this will happen in October or November of this year 2020 but almost for sure before the end of 2020 year… It would be wise to operate on this assumption as the default stance no matter how hard it is to believe that this could happen so fast…. Consider this my public service announcement, do with the info what you will…. No amount of ‘prepping’ is going to do you any good, forget about trying to make “friends” with your white neighboors in the naive false hope that they help you or that they won’t cheer on the US Gov as you get rounded up and hoarded away and they get to occupy your house, take your preps and commandeer your vehicles left behind… When push comes to shove, and push is coming to shove, race will be the ultimate identity/label/grouping and association, not what nationality is written on your passport or where you were born or what company you work for or what flag you fly on your front lawn…..

    Be woke

  3. FamousDrScanlon on Sun, 23rd Aug 2020 11:28 pm 

    NatGas the road to riches.

    Shell’s Colossal Miscalculation in 2011 of Today’s LNG Price: Largest-Ever $12-$17-Billion “Floating Facility” Shut Down, Months After Shipping First LNG. Done in by Long Price Collapse

    Built to profit from sky-high LNG Prices in Japan. Sunk by surging US LNG Exports, multi-year collapse in LNG prices, global LNG glut.

  4. Chrome Mags on Tue, 25th Aug 2020 1:18 am 

    When I was a kid in the 70’s the news was on and there was some incursion in the middle east and I said, “Wow Dad, look at that!” and he said, “Ah, nothing new. They’ve been at it for thousands of years.” And nothing has changed in the intervening years, so I doubt NG will make any difference.

    In the year 5550 the rest of the world will finally be peaceful, but in the middle east they will be warring as usual.

  5. Gaia on Wed, 26th Aug 2020 12:52 pm 

    The natural resources don’t belong to Americunts.

  6. Gaia on Wed, 26th Aug 2020 1:05 pm 

    The West can pay for the reconstruction of countries (homes, schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure) invaded and ruined by NATO-US military in the billions of dollars and euros.

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