Israel bolsters maritime defense in offshore oil and gas zone. Source: Reuters
18 February, 2018
During a televised address in Beirut on Friday Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah once again warned Israel to back off its claims over disputed oil and gas field just off the southern Lebanese coast,
The dispute over the eastern Mediterranean gas field goes back to January 2017, but blew up starting in late January of this year as it has been and is expected to be developed by an international consortium of energy companies. However, as we reported at the time Israel has aggressively pushed for major sectors of the field to be internationally recognized as lying within its rightful territorial waters, , which would be a "major mistake".
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in late January, "They [Lebanon] are announcing a tender on the gas field, and Lebanese actions
But the Lebanese have remained unmoved, with Lebanese President Michel ‘Aoun having repeatedly slammed the Israeli threats on Block 9, vowing to defend the country’s territorial waters. But more importantly Hezbollah has made it a central issue, and unlike the Lebanese Army, has displayed a willingness to act on its rhetoric in the past.
Meanwhile Nasrallah's Friday speech made the gas dispute the central theme, and even warned Israel's American backers to not intervene. Appealing directly to Israeli leadership, the Hezbollah leader said,
“In the battle for oil and gas, the only power you have, you the Lebanese people, is the resistance, because the Lebanese army is not allowed to own missiles,” Nasrallah said. And concerning what he described as "US interference" in the region’s diplomacy, he said
Nasrallah further addressed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's controversial visit to Beirut last week where he met with President Aoun and Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri. Tillerson had condemned Hezbollah as the chief threat to Lebanese unity and security.
Nasrallah responded in his Friday speech as follows:
America is not an honest broker. And you have to deal with the American medator as an attorney for Israel. It's not three parties inolved - ... but the Americans don't care about Lebanon's interests at all,
The Hezbollah leader further said that the US military remains in Syria even after the demise of the Islamic State because it wants to , now occupied by US forces in support of the Syrian Democratic Forces.
According to Israel's , Hezbollah activists in Lebanon have recently been disseminating flyers which read: "Whoever harms gas and oil sites in Lebanese economic waters, their own sites will be harmed, and they know Lebanon is fully capable of doing so."
It goes without saying that the Lebanese gas dispute now involving Hezbollah as a major player, along with Israel's recent direct confrontation over Syria and the downing of the Israeli F-16 means tensions in the region are set to explode.
is challenging 's right to explore for gas in it's own territorial waters. today said that the Americans are not honest brokers and that Tillerson did not come to Lebanon to mediate but rather to dictate terms and make threats.
— Walid (@walid970721)
— said yesterday that the reason the US is still in even though they claimed they would leave after Daesh is defeated is because of the huge oil and gas resources in the area that they are occupying.