Hizbullah Finds New Anti-Israel Cause in Natural Gas Discovery

(Washington Times) Gal Luft - The discovery of a gigantic natural-gas reservoir less than 100 miles off Israel's coast could be the pretext for the next Middle East war. Only days after Israel announced its gas discovery, Hizbullah claimed that the deposit extends into Lebanese waters and that it would not allow Israel to "loot" Lebanese gas resources. As the eastern Mediterranean becomes home to drilling rigs, pipelines and other infrastructure related to Israel's gas operation, Hizbullah could find multiple soft targets to attack. Because an American gas drilling company, Noble Energy, owns 40% of the gas venture, American citizens operating the rigs could be in harm's way. To minimize the risk of future resource war in the Mediterranean, the U.S. should help Israel establish the legal basis for its activities within its economic waters while highlighting the frivolousness of Lebanon's claims. A broad international consensus on Israel's right to drill for oil and gas in its waters would deny Hizbullah any legitimate ground to provoke conflict at sea. The writer is executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.

2010-07-14 09:19:03

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