A statement released by Lebanese Energy minister Gebran Bassil’s office, published last evening (28/10) on his official twitter account and in today’s (29/10) edition of Annahar [both links in Arabic], referred, once again, to an equation the Minister has frequently mentioned in his latest interviews and public appearances: no one in the region (meaning Israel) is allowed to produce gas if Lebanon cannot produce gas.
The Minister, who is accompanying Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun on his visit to Canada, is likely relying on Hezbollah’s deterrent capabilities, which drew attention earlier this month when the party’s leader claimed responsibility for a surveillance drone that breached Israeli airspace and flew over sensitive areas and installations, while also hinting that the resistance group may hold attack drones as well.
Such deterrence may prove useful: the development of Leviathan, alone, will require an investment of more than $15 billion and such massive investments require stability first and foremost. This equation, which is loosely translated as “No gas in Lebanon, no gas in Israel”, should largely be interpreted in a reverse logic: if no hurdles are imposed on Lebanon in its quest to exploit its natural resources, no obstacles originating from Lebanon would prevent any other neighboring country from exploiting their own resources. A win-win situation for all sides. The most pressing issue being a settlement of the maritime border dispute between Israel, Cyprus and Lebanon.