Israel’s discovery is a new reason to fight

 

As you may or may not have heard sizeable natural gas discoveries have been made in the past 18 months or so in Israel. The reserves are located in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of the northern Israeli city of Haifa. The location of this find is completely within the territory of Israel, but close enough to Lebanon that the terrorist group that controls that county, Hezbollah, is eyeing a piece of  the pie. That’s right, even when good news comes out of that region it quickly turns in to potentially disastrous news.

It is extremely unlikely that Hezbollah or Lebanon will actually get any piece of that pie due to many reasons, not the least of which are that the gas is in Israel not Lebanon and that Lebanon did not participate in any way in the drilling or discovery of the gas reserves. I could easily continue with three or four additional reasons that are equally legitimate but I’m sure you get the point. All those facts are not important to Hezbollah though, because they aren’t the most lawful of groups around (I am being very sarcastic).

The amounts of natural gas discovered there are enough not only to supply Israel with all the gas it needs, but even enough to be an exporter of the energy source. This is a meaningful bonus for a country that is completely dependent on imports for its energy needs. There are two major potential problems for Israel here, however. The first is that exporting this gas will not be as easy for them as it is for almost every other country because it is surrounded by enemies that will not be quick to build pipelines on their land. Without pipelines, the gas would have to be liquefied and shipped to customers, which is likely going to be very expensive.

The second major hurdle is the security of the drilling site. This is a problem that the U.S. and other countries don’t usually need to really think about (at least not on sites in their territory). Unfortunately for Israel, it is a challenge that they must have an adequate answer for otherwise it will put everything in jeopardy. Hezbollah will certainly not hesitate to attempt to sabotage this discovery, especially when they realize they will not see any of the benefits from being a neighbour of a natural gas discovery. They will threaten the site with rockets and defending against that, if possible, will be very expensive. However, if it is possible to successfully defend the site from Hezbollah rockets, the monetary costs will surely be offset with the huge profits the gas will bring in to Israel.

Above all, this discovery will make Hezbollah (when I say Hezbollah, I really mean Hezbollah, Syria and Iran) even more encouraged to wage another war with Israel. They may actually be delusional enough to think that they can take over the drilling site and keep it for themselves. If they really believe this is possible, it will make the potential benefit from such a war a very big one for them, much higher than it was in the past. This can set the stage for another war in the region, but it is likely that the gas reserves will stay in tact and available for drilling by Israel afterwards.