Lebanon warns Israel against sea-border demarcation
Lebanon’s president and foreign minister on Monday rebuked Israel for its plan to mark the two countries’ maritime border, vowing to wage a diplomatic offensive to thwart Jerusalem’s efforts to ensure unrestricted access to lucrative natural gas reserves.
“Israel’s measures have created a new point of tension in the region and threaten peace and security across this region,” Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said in Beirut, claiming the frontier, as proposed by Israel, cut through Lebanon’s economic zone.
Of course we shouldn't expect the truth from Lebanon/Hezbollah. We can take a look at previous agreements:
Recent years have seen the discovery of two major gas fields off of the eastern Mediterranean coast. In December, Jerusalem reached an agreement with Cyprus marking the two countries’ sea borders. That agreement came after Cyprus came to a similar understanding four years ago with Lebanon, though that pact has yet to be approved in the Lebanese parliament.
Israel’s cabinet approved its border map on Sunday for submission to the UN, but Lebanese officials say the map conflicts sharply with the map they had already presented to the world body.
Israeli officials said ministers at the meeting simply extended a straight line from the so-called Blue Line (the border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel published by the United Nations in June 2000) to the southernmost point of the Cyprus-Lebanon agreement.
The map Lebanon recently submitted to the UN, they said, runs south of the line to which it agreed with Cyprus.
The bottom line is seen here:
Officials attributed the current dust-up to Hezbollah’s growing clout in the government and the militant group’s interest in retaining any available pretext for continuing its fight against Israel
Now we see the rhetoric increasing:
Lebanon 'ready to defend maritime borders'
The controversy over Israel's decision to ratify its maritime borders is growing: Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said Monday that his country is ready and has the right to defend its borders and resources using every "available and legal" means.
On Sunday, Israel ratified an agreement with Cyprus regarding its naval territory. The borders delineate an area thought to contain natural gas as well as oil reserves.
Lebanon rejected the borders set by the two countries, claiming they infringe on its naval territory; and Beirut's Minister of Energy Gebran Bassil warned that Lebanon will not give up its maritime rights.
Lebanon called Israel's proposed maritime boundary between the two nations "an act of aggression," adding it will take the matter up with the UN.
Caroline Glick gives us her view of the situation:
The path to the next Lebanon War
Five years ago this week, Iran’s Lebanese proxy opened war with Israel. The war lasted 34 days, during which Hezbollah launched more than 4,000 missiles against Israel. Now five years later, under US President Barack Obama, America is pushing a policy that drastically escalates the chance that a new war between Israel and Iran’s Lebanese army will break out again in the near future.
The article gives a thorough review of the ongoing situation between Lebanon and Israel which can be summarized here:
Today, Hezbollah is not simply in charge of Israel’s former security zone in South Lebanon.
It is in charge of all of Lebanon. The Hezbollah-controlled government controls all aspects of the Lebanese state that it wishes. These include the military, the telecommunications networks, and the international borders, airports and sea ports, among other things.
Then she brings us back to the situation with the borders:
Under the circumstances, the only rational policy that the US can possibly adopt is to loudly and strenuously back Israel’s claim and reject all Lebanese contentions to the contrary.
Only by completely rejecting Lebanon’s claim can the US deny Hezbollah and Iran the ability to use Israel’s gas finds in its territorial waters as a justification for war.
Rather than do this, guided by its appeasement ideology, the Obama administration has refused to take sides. It urged Israel to submit its counter-claim to the UN – where it can bully Israel into accepting arbitration of the dispute by the inherently anti-Israel UN.
More generally, by refusing to take sides, the US is in fact siding with its enemy Iran and Iran’s proxy Hezbollah against its ally Israel.
According to media reports, the Obama administration claims that by acting in this manner, it is seeking to prevent a flare-up of hostilities. That is, the administration believes that if it shows Hezbollah its good will by treating Israel’s honest claim as equal to Lebanon/Hezbollah/Iran’s false claim, it will appease the latter into not waging a war of aggression against the former.
But again, what the last war taught us is that this sort of behavior is what emboldens aggressors to attack. Obama’s even-handedness in the face of a US enemy’s aggression against a US ally is placing Israel and Lebanon on a straight path to a new war.
In this story we find yet another tipping point. This region will be highly sought after as these gas finds are huge and the economic ramifications are equally huge. Unfortunately, it is also probably worth fighting for.
We will be following this story very closely for further developments.