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Gas in the Levant Basin: Prosperity or Curse?

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

U.S. Army School for Advanced Military Studies

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The Eastern Mediterranean is rich with maritime disputes among regional actors regarding offshore oil and gas fields, Lebanon and Israel are an example. The geostrategic importance of these offshore natural gas discoveries provides an opportunity to formulate alliances or exacerbate regional tensions in the Levant Basin. Since its establishment in 1948, Israel depended on imported energy resources. By the end of the 20th century, Israel discovered vast offshore gas reservoirs that not only fulfill its domestic needs, but also provide the incentives for Israel to become a natural gas exporter. Moreover, Israel anticipates these massive energy discoveries, mainly the Leviathan gas field, to play a significant role in shifting the balance of power in the Eastern Mediterranean in its favor. However, security dilemmas confront Israel and hinder the achievement of its strategic objectives. Besides undermining international law, Israel counts on interdependent great power interests in the Levant Basin as a guarantor to ensure maintaining a stable political environment. Consequently, being a regional gas hub provides an opportunity for Israel to advance its diplomatic and military presence within a hostile surrounding. This paper discusses the main drivers behind Israels interest in commencing gas exploitation in the Leviathan field before settling the maritime dispute with Lebanon.


Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Sociology and Law

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]