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Friday, February 14, 2014

Are These Gas Fields Israel’s Next Warzone? - The Daily Beast

Are These Gas Fields Israel’s Next Warzone? - The Daily Beast









Are These Gas Fields Israel’s Next Warzone?

Rumors of war could become the
reality as Israel vies with the other nations of the Levant for control of the
huge riches beneath the sea.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/06/are-these-gas-fields-israel-s-next-warzone.html
When
Israel looks at the greatest threat to its long-term hopes for the future,
these days it’s looking out to sea. The old issues are on the table, of course:
Iran’s nukes, the Palestinians, the Syrian slaughterhouse next door and growing
regional instability. But if there’s a place where a sudden, out-of-control war
is likely to erupt, it’s probably not going to be called the Sinai, the Golan,
the West Bank (or Judea and Samaria). It’s going to be called Leviathan, Dalit
or Karish—the vast fields of natural gas and oil discovered in the deep waters
between Israel and Cyprus over the last five years.






Who
controls that wealth is likely to dominate the economic future of the region
for generations to come. The Israelis know it. So do their allies, their rivals
and their enemies. And tensions are mounting by the day.






 “All
the elements of danger are there,” says Pierre Terzian, editor of the oil
industry weekly Petrostrategies: there is competition for huge resources, there
are disputed borders, and, not to put too fine a point on it, “this is a region
where resorting to violent action is not something unusual.”






The
United States government is watching warily, trying to broker diplomatic
settlements and, so far, failing. No longer inclined to be the region’s
policeman on land or in the air, much less at sea, Washington is scaling back
its presence in the Middle East while just about everyone else is increasing
theirs.






Israel
is rushing to create “the most technologically advanced fleet in the Eastern
Mediterranean,” according to a report in
Tablet Magazine. Turkey is flexing its maritime muscles with plans to
spend as much as a billion dollars on a multi-purpose
amphibious assault ship that will give its fleet blue water
capabilities like never before. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia in
Lebanon, meanwhile, is known to have naval missiles, and has used them in the
past, sinking a cargo vessel and holing an Israeli warship during the Lebanon
war of 2006. Russia is
expanding both its naval and commercial presence in Syrian waters,
despite the Syrian civil war. It inked a $90 million, 25-year exploration deal
with Damascus last Christmas Day.






The
area in question was roughly defined in 2010 by the U.S. Geological Survey. It
estimated that in an area of the Eastern Mediterranean dubbed the Levant Basin
Province (
PDF) there
are some 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.6 billion barrels of
oil—and possibly twice that much.  The basin runs from near the Syrian
port of Tartus (which is also where the 


Russians have their naval base), down
the entire coast of Lebanon, Israel and Gaza, and out toward Cyprus.





If there’s a place where a sudden,
out-of-control war is likely to erupt, it’s probably not going to be the West
Bank. It’s going to be the vast fields of natural gas discovered in the deep
waters of the Eastern Mediterranean.


That
oil and gas could be found there was not entirely a surprise. The first major
discoveries were made, in fact, off the coast of Gaza in 2000 in waters
supposed to belong to the Palestinian Authority. The British company
BG Group estimated it could access a trillion cubic feet of
natural gas in Gaza’s offshore fields. But Israel effectively shut down that
operation in 2001, after a new Palestinian uprising began. Then Hamas took over
in Gaza in 2007 and a boycott was imposed. That same year, BG pulled out of
negotiations with the Israeli government and in 2008 shut its office in Israel.
Since then, despite occasional headlines to the contrary, the whole operation
has been on ice. As BG spokesman Mark Todd told me in an e-mail this morning,
“our position on Gaza Marine has not changed for some time.”






Israel’s
position in the oil and gas world, on the other hand, changed radically. Energy
prices increased at least five-fold during the first decade of the century,
making all kinds of exploration and extraction potentially profitable, even if
it meant drilling many miles below the surface of the sea. Noble Energy out of
Texas, partnering with Delek Group and other Israeli companies, started
uncovering one major find after another in 2009 and 2010. That included the
huge Tamar field, which started producing last year, and the enormous Leviathan
field, which is estimated to hold 18 trillion cubic feet of gas. Altogether,
there’s supposed to be enough gas to meet Israel’s requirements for the next
150 years.






“This
means geopolitical power for Israel, which needs it now more than
ever,” Delek’s Yitzhak Tshuva told
a conference in 2011.
And top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have
left no doubt they see these oil and gas resources as a huge factor securing
Israel’s political, diplomatic and economic future. Within a few years, indeed,
Israel hopes to be a major supplier of gas to Europe and also to its Arab
neighbors Jordan and Egypt.






The
biggest threat to these projects could be Turkey. Under Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, its relations with Israel have gone from warm to cold, and just
recently have begun once again to thaw. Turkey—and the northern half of Cyprus,
occupied by its troops since 1974—have been largely left out of the Levant
Basin boom. Ankara has been accused of saber rattling to intimidate would-be
investors in the Aphrodite field that belongs to the internationally recognized
government of Cyprus on the southern half of the island. But Turkey would also
like to be the conduit for a pipeline taking Levant Basin gas to Europe, and
that won’t happen unless Cyprus and Israel want it to. So that has tempered
Erdogan’s truculence a bit.




The
hottest flashpoint at the moment is between Lebanon and Israel, which remain,
formally, in a state of war. The United Nations defined their mutual land
border in 2000, but not the lines of demarcation between their
200-nautical-mile “exclusive economic zones.” As the undersea gas rush heated
up in 2010 and 2011, it turned out their claims overlapped by about 860 square
kilometers (332 square miles) in a potentially rich portion of the Levant
Basin.






Although the Israeli press frequently raises the specter of
some aggression against its oil and gas installations by Hezbollah or even by
the minuscule Lebanese navy, outside observers suggest the chance of such
unprovoked attacks are slim to nonexistent. Because of its activities in
neighboring Syria, “Hezbollah just doesn’t have these kinds of resources and
they are trying to manage a very delicate local mood,” says a well-placed
source close to the Shiite communities in Beirut. “More significantly, Iran has
no interest whatsoever in this kind of collision now. And what Iran wants, Hezbollah
does. It’s the Israelis who are trying to take advantage of a nervous moment
all around and see what they can get out of it.”






In practical terms, says Terzian at Petrostrategies, nobody
is going to invest with Lebanon in disputed waters. There are no Lebanese
companies there capable of carrying out the drilling, and there is no military
force that could protect them. But on the other side, things are different.
“You have Israeli companies that have the ability to operate in offshore areas,
and they could take the risk under the protection of the Israeli military.”






War on the high seas of the Eastern Med is not inevitable, of
course. U.S. Ambassador Frederic Hof, now at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik
Hariri Center, led the diplomatic effort to sort out those differences for much
of 2011 and 2012. “EEZ disputes are very common around the world,” he tells me,
and “they are normally settled through common sense compromise.”




But, then, common sense compromise has never been a common
attribute among the nations of the Middle East.






COMMENT:







The eminent analysts requests the
readers to go through the article very minutely and then brood on every point to
find out the issue why it has become so hazardous and what is the role of the
genocide criminals those who are trying to by force occupy the land and sea bed alone with the
support of so called friends.








Its main aim is to run a war for
these mineral resources. Israel very calculatedly invited Russia and locked Egypt
with it so that Israel can put US to fight with Russia and Egypt while it can
become the sole authority of the deposits without physically taking part in the
fight as usually it does to use US on such wars.








Israel’s expectation is that US
government would leave the deposits to be looked after by Israel and thus it
would become the sole beneficiary to enjoy.








The stage has been set and Egypt
has moved to Russian lobby at the behest of Israel deep-rooted conspiracy with Russia
would ultimately stab US at the back if anything goes wrong in between and move
to Russian Lobby. It is now time for the US to keep this at the back of the
mind while dealing with Israel henceforth to avert lamenting after being
stabbed.








Egypt must watch out for the
safety of Sinai. The deposit lies under this land. Without mentioning
Palestinian Analysts mentioned that Israel is forcefully occupying the land for settlement plea is because
underneath this lands the oil and gas deposit exists.








So to under the bed of Atlantic
Ocean that falls within Palestinian jurisdiction there is huge deposit of both
oil and gas. The matter must be thoroughly examined and should be brought to
the notice  of the UN security council in
advance.   






Analysts cautioned US not be
complacent about the intent and blind faith on its loyalty and friendship. As In
this world everyone first looks after it interest then any friend’s. If need be
must act ruthlessly if situation dictates such action is needed to be taken.


















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