Lebanon Maritime Deal - Forced on Israel by U.S. - Did Not Enhance Israel's Security

(Tablet) Tony Badran - A year ago, leveraging a mock drone attack by Hizbullah against an Israeli offshore gas rig, the Biden administration urged the caretaker Israeli government to sign a maritime boundary delineation agreement with Lebanon, giving potentially valuable gas fields to Hizbullah-dominated Lebanon and signaling an Israeli willingness to retreat in the face of Hizbullah's aggressive threats and actions. Biden got the deal. The U.S. positioned itself between Israel and Hizbullah, taking on the role of advocate for Lebanon, which figured in the imagination of U.S. policymakers and diplomats as an independent country. As it turned out, the maritime deal did not enhance Israel's security, as U.S. negotiators claimed. The deal did enhance Hizbullah's security, and consequently increased its confidence to press its advantage against Israel. Over the past few months, Hizbullah has conducted, in tandem with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), a series of border provocations and incursions into Israeli territory. Each time Hizbullah provokes, the U.S. reliably steps in to "mediate" between the terror group and Israel, with the goal of "stabilizing Lebanon." The Israeli role is strictly to make concessions in the framework of a U.S.-brokered agreement. In a recent speech, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah explained how Lebanon got everything it demanded in the maritime deal when "the resistance" threatened the Karish offshore platform. That's when the Americans delivered the Israelis. The maritime deal extended a protective U.S. umbrella to Lebanon and therefore to Hizbullah, by openly opposing Israeli action in Lebanon. The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

2023-08-03 00:00:00

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