Tuesday, April 13, 2021

  • Tuesday, April 13, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon


From Reuters:

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister on Monday approved a draft decree expanding the country’s claims in a dispute with Israel over their maritime border that has held up hydrocarbon exploration in the potentially gas-rich area.

The amendment would add around 1,400 square km (540 square miles) to the exclusive economic zone claimed by Lebanon in its original submission to the United Nations.

Negotiations between old foes Lebanon and Israel were launched in October to try to resolve the dispute, yet the talks, a culmination of three years of diplomacy by the United States, have since stalled.

Israel already pumps gas from huge offshore fields but Lebanon has yet to find commercial gas reserves in its own waters.

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Lebanon’s latest move would derail the talks rather than help work towards a common solution. “Unilateral Lebanese measures will, of course, be answered with parallel measures by Israel,” he said in a statement.

Lebanon, in the throes of a deep financial meltdown that is threatening its stability, is desperate for cash as it faces the worst economic crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war.

 Lebanon needs money, desperately. 

If it negotiates borders with Israel it can sell the rights to potential oil and gas fields within its maritime borders.

If it adds more demands it will never get to sell anything.

Is any country that suicidal to give up perhaps its only chance for survival for a fake sense of pride?

Can stupidity explain this stupidity?

Or perhaps something else is going on. Two weeks ago:

The Syrian government signed a 4-year contract with a Russian company for oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean Sea that could spark a new border crisis between Lebanon and Syria.

The two blocks to be explored under the new contract overlap with Lebanese maritime areas for energy exploration along the country’s northern border. 

According to this demarcation, the Syrian side grabbed a Lebanese area of 750 square kilometers from Block No. 1 alone, where the Russian exploration process will begin.

Lebanon had previously demarcated its maritime borders in 2011, and in 2014 launched a round of primary licenses and invited bids for Block No. 1 in the north. But Syria did not recognize the Lebanese demarcation.

Aa far as I can tell, Lebanon has not protested Syria literally stealing oil and gas within its declared borders.  So clearly national pride isn't what's at play here.

So what's going on?

The only way to explain this nonsensical behavior is Iran.

Iran wants to minimize the amount of area Israel claims in the Mediterranean, and it is willing to sacrifice Lebanon for that purpose. Iran also wants to give Syria as much area in the sea as it can - and again, Lebanon be damned. Hezbollah has a stranglehold on Lebanon and can ensure that Lebanon dances to Tehran's tune.

Lebanon isn't stupid. It has lost its independence long ago. Iran will use it as a front line against Israel and had no interest in ever negotiating anything with the hated Zionist entity.

What is Iran's endgame? One scenario can be based on the fact that its ally Syria has always considered Lebanon to be part of its territory. If Lebanon collapses, Syria can swoop in and take over - and Iran can have a much bigger stranglehold on the region. 

The Lebanese people are the losers in this game. 








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