Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Of Course: Lebanon Claims Recently Discovered Israeli Natural Gas Reserve as Its Own

No sooner did Israel announced the discovery of a massive natural gas reserve off of its coast, Lebanon laid claim and issued threats to the American company behind the discovery:

Lebanon has a desire to draw the borders of its territorial waters vis-à-vis neighboring states, including Israel. The country is therefore expected to ask Noble Energy for confirmation that drilling does not reach Lebanese territory, and also to warn the company that as long as it works for "the Israeli enemy" and the issue is not resolved, it must avoid producing gas in order to preserve any quantity of natural gas that might be found to belong to Lebanon.
The idea is to manufacture a dispute and make political risk insurance for the Israeli-American producers so high that it will become economically un-viable for Israel to develop the field. The discovery is well within Israeli territorial waters, millions of dollars and hard work were invested over a period of years to make the discovery. As the achievement is announced, Arabs who have done nothing suddenly lay claim. Sounds like a metaphor for the entire Arab-Israeli dispute. Israel invests and builds, then Arabs come along and lay claim: "Hey, that belongs to me! My great great grandaddy knew about that gas and we were just about to develop it when the greedy Jews and imperialist Americans came along and stole it from us! My Great grandaddy fished these watter for thousands of years..."

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