Lebanon Has a Choice Other Than Death
A ship operated by the London-based Energean company brings a new drilling platform to Mediterranean waters that Israel says are part of Israel’s economic zone, not a disputed area as Lebanon claims. (Twitter)

Lebanon Has a Choice Other Than Death

Al Rai, Kuwait, July 28

Lebanon has a choice other than death. It is the choice of demarcating the maritime borders with Israel instead of remaining in the captivity of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its desires. In a few weeks, Israel will begin extracting gas from the Karish gas field located near Lebanese territorial waters, with the goal of transporting it to Europe. But the big question is, is Lebanon able to save itself from suicide by reaching a compromise with Israel? The simple and direct answer is no. Israel will soon start extracting gas from Karish in light of understandings with other countries in the region, including Egypt, and with the blessing of the Europeans and the Americans. The Russian invasion of Ukraine deeply affected Europe’s calculus as it pertains to energy sources, and all eyes are set on the Karish field. Two questions arise before Israel begins exporting gas from Karish. The first is, will Lebanon reach an agreement regarding the demarcation of its maritime border with Israel, and the second is whether Israel’s extraction of gas without such a demarcation will translate into an inevitable war with Hizbullah? It is no secret that these risks are great and could result in a conflict in light of the recent threats directed by Israeli officials to Lebanon. For some time now, Israel has been extracting gas from other fields located far from Lebanese waters, in light of the increasing global need for energy and European insistence on gradually getting rid of dependence on Russian gas. Israeli gas has become part of Europe’s security doctrine, at a time when no one in Europe wants to increase its reliance on Russia and its gas. Israel will export more gas to Europe after the Karish field becomes ready next September. If Hizbullah responds by launching a war against Israel, with the blessing and backing of Iran, the result would be a real catastrophe for Lebanon. Israel will destroy virtually everything that is left of Lebanon’s decrepit infrastructure. Unfortunately, Lebanon will distract itself from this tragic scenario by talking about pride and dignity and the importance of the “resistance.” Iran may very well push Hizbullah, which is nothing but a local branch of the Revolutionary Guards, to a military adventure in the form of missiles launched against critical Israeli infrastructure, including the Karish field.  Instead of taking responsible steps with the issue of border demarcation, there will be people in Lebanon who lead to the collapse of their country and the impoverishment of its people in every field. In the absence of the ability to anticipate what the Islamic Republic in Iran could do, the isolation of Lebanon would only grow. At a time when Israel, supported by the international community, seems determined to exploit gas in Karish, Lebanon seems determined to continue to follow the logic of irrationality, which means staying in the Iranian sphere. There is no force, at least in the foreseeable future, that can get it out of this situation, which means a determination to commit suicide. How long can Lebanon live in the shadow of Iran’s desires, including Tehran’s wish to use it as a card to pressure America? Unfortunately, Lebanon is dying, while knowing that it has a choice other than death. The most dangerous thing is that the country is unable to exercise its other, more rational option, by defending its interests and the interests of its people through the demarcation of its borders with Israel. – Khairallah Khairallah (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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