Maritime gas dispute risks conflict between Lebanon and Israel

by | Sep 20, 2022 | World

Beirut, Lebanon – Karish is a relatively small untapped gasfield in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, but its location between Israel and Lebanon means that it could lead to a new conflict between the two neighbours.While Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said on Monday that United States-brokered negotiations over the exploration of Karish had reached the “final stages”, Israel is expected to begin preliminary work on Tuesday to start extracting gas, a move that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called a “red line” on Saturday.
For its part, Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz has said if Hezbollah harmed an offshore rig in Karish, “the price will be Lebanon”.
The two countries have a history of conflict, most notably when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 during the latter’s civil war, as well as the 2006 Lebanon War.
Many fear that the dispute over where exactly the maritime border crosses Karish could unintentionally ignite a new fight.
However, it appears as though the current tension may be more about appearances than actual preparations for war.
“It’s pure politics, to be able to say that any deal that comes in, Hezbollah had a role in it, and they defended the rights of Lebanon,” said Laury Haytayan, MENA director of Natural Resources Governance Institute.
“They want to bring back the idea that their power and weapons are used in the national interest and not in the Iranian agenda, reshaping the narrative that they protect Lebanon’s wealth,” Haytayan told …

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