Monday, July 28

War on Gaza associated with discovery of large offshore natural gas resources within Gaza's territorial waters [the globe is set for an epoch of destabilising and ruthless resource wars]

This Gaza war is associated with discovery of large offshore natural gas resources within Gaza's territorial waters in 2010, as I learned reading a comment onDaniel Barenboim's desperate article in The Guardian titled "Both Israelis and Palestinians are losers".   Gazans could have been big winners, but Israel has planned to annex Gaza to take control of Gaza Marine offshore gas, to complement oil shale near Jerusalem and offshore gas in its territorial waters near Haifa.  See:
Also see:
  • Post-peak oil fossil fuel resources are underneath most conflicts now, as Michael Klare describes.  
  • Water is next
  • Gaza Gas Can't Help Palestinians  - excerpt:
    "Gaza Marine 1 is entirely located in the Palestinian territorial waters facing the city of Gaza, with reserves estimated at 28 billion cubic meters. The Gaza border field is located within the maritime border area between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The well’s reserves are estimated to be on the order of three billion cubic meters. Gaza’s gas reserves are estimated at 31 billion cubic meters and are valued at more than $6.5 billion.

    Unjust contract for the Palestinian side

    According to many international and regional observers, the contract signed between the PA and the development companies have adversely affected the Palestinian side, as Palestinians have been deprived of their rights of exploiting their oil and gas reserves. Under the agreement, BG and CCC were granted gas exploration rights and exclusive rights for marketing in the event that reserves were discovered. The two companies were granted a total 90% ownership of any reserves (60% and 30% respectively for BG and CCC), with only 10% left for the Palestinian side.

Naylor comments at  "Both Israelis and Palestinians are losers" by Daniel Barenboim, jewish conductor:


1) "The reason Israel does not want a unity government is due to the drive to seize control of the Gaza Marine gasfield."

2) "I'm not sure Israel wants to profit from the Gaza Marnie gasfield so much as it wants to prevent Hamas from doing so. Israel has developed, and is continuing to develop, substantial offshore fields which are clearly within its maritime territory:  [he references the economist]

Instead of acknowledging this true nature of the conflict and trying to resolve it, the parties have been looking for easier and fast solutions. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts when it comes to solving this conflict. 
Mr Barenboim's words are both timely and deeply humane [humane? how about too cute & Hasbara-ish]. However, the fact that there seem to be no short cuts to solving the conflict does not mean there are no reasons that could explain exactly why Israel is attempting to use military power to acheive such a short cut.

Hamas is in a desperately weak position and has committed itself to an outright position of what it considers resistance through violence because it has no effective regional backers nor support. Israel is being given a free hand by the West without even talk from diplomats of "disportionality".

Israel is a nuclear armed state and has been emboldened to finish off Hamas as a military force in Gaza with the tacit acceptance of the US and Britain because it is set to become a significant exporter of gas after large reserves where discovered off the Israeli coast in 2010.

The Gaza Marine gas reserves, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), hold about 1.6 trillion cubic feet in gas, and state "offshore Gaza territory may hold additional energy resources.". The license to exploit Gaza Marine is held by the BG Group ( British Gas ).

The Eastern Mediterranean gas reserves controlled by Israel have made its commanding geopolitical position more secure as the EU states in particular would like to diversify their supply of gas away from Russia. But others are also vying to benefit from LNG exports-including Australia.

Energy groups such as Woodside had hoped to cooperate in exporting LNG beyond the Middle East, primarily Egypt and Jordan, to markets further afield in Asia. In the near term, Woodside was not going to be involved in exporting LNG from the Leviathan field but wants to leave the door open.

The hard reality is that no great power has any interest in displeasing Israel. This is not merely because of the interests of the energy corporations. Energy diversification is bound up with global power politics and not being too dependent upon any one nation for gas exports.

Netanyahu has realised that with the Egyptian coup of 2013 and the Syrian conflict, Hamas is isolated from having any support in the Middle East, except a certain amount of diplomatic backing from Turkey and Qatar who have aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood to promote their energy interests.

In Syria, Turkey and Qatar back a Muslim Brotherhood government in waiting to replace Assad so as to promote a gas pipeline that would have connected the South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf to EU markets or, at best, prevent Iran from exporting its gas through to the Eastern Mediterranean via Syria.

Yet despite vocal opposition from Turkey and Erdogan to Israel's 'ground incursion' into Gaza, neither Turkey not Qatar would directly back Hamas in the way Iran did in the past. Apart from the fact Qatar would be wary of a hostile reaction from Saudi Arabia, Turkey has interests in cooperating with Israel.

On Kurdistan, both Israel and Turkey had mutual interests in having Kurdistan export oil via Turkey and also on cooperation on a Mediterranean Pipeline Project (Medstream). What Turkey would not want is Israel to develop its offshore gas by 2017 in a way that would bypass it.

The determination not to be left out of the development of Eastern Mediterranean gas reserves and export routes is at the centre of Turkey's regional ambitions. It explains why Hamas has no interest in an Egyptian led ceasfire agreement and why Erdogan has slammed Sisi as a 'tyrant'.

The predicament of the Palestinian in Gaza is that their fate is tied up with cynical power political calculations and energy geopolitics. One reason there have been calls for Blair to be removed as Special Envoy is that he is regarded as too close to the Israeli-Egyptian alliance at the expense of Turkey and Qatar

The outlook for Gaza is bleak. Israel has every interest in intensifying the blockade of Gaza from land, air and sea the better to crush Hamas and exploit the Gaza Marine gas reserves as soon as possible so as to increase its bargaining position in the region.

The exploitation of the Levant Basin has run up against certain problems as well as squabbles with other Eastern Mediterranean powers. With a looming 'energy crunch' forecast for 2015, Israel is determined to secure the Gaza Marine reserves as a 'stop gap' without needing to pay the market price.

These energy interests and geopolitical factors explain why both sides have become instransigent and why this conflict between Israel and Hamas could be the most lethal and bloody one yet , far more destructive than the ones of 2012 and 2008.

From Ukraine to Syria and from China and Vietnam, the globe is set for an epoch of destabilising and ruthless resource wars.

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