September 16, 2019

March 18, 2012

Potential Gas Conflict in the Mediterranean

Israel and Lebanon must harness the newly discovered gas reserves off their coastlines as force to benefit their countries, not as a new source of friction, writes Nizar Abdel-Kader in Real Clear Politics.

Experts advise that Lebanon and Israel could exploit the gas in the disputed area jointly through what is called “unitization” by dividing the gas then together developing the reservoir according to each side’s relative portion. Otherwise, each side could drill separately, but this practice would be damaging to the reservoir.

The Fear Premium

The rising tensions between Israel and Iran could spark a new global recession, warns Nouriel Roubini in Slate.

The three most recent global recessions prior to 2008 were each caused by a geopolitical shock in the Middle East that led to a sharp spike in oil prices. The 1973 Yom Kippur war between Israel and the Arab states led to global stagflation (recession and inflation) in 1974-75. The Iranian revolution in 1979 led to global stagflation in 1980-82. And Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in the summer of 1990 led to the global recession of 1990-91.

Denying the Existence of Others… and Change

Hezbollah is pinning its hopes on the Syria regime’s defeat of those fighting for its demise, even as the Lebanese opposition is renewing its calls for democracy in the country, writes Walid Choucair in Al Arabiya.

If Hezbollah feels reassured that any guarantees vis-à-vis change result from the regional political equation, it is natural for it to not respond to the calls for openness. The party now feels more energized, with the Syrian regime’s ability to achieve progress with its “security solution,” which is the only solution it has.

Livni’s Strong Voice of Reason

The Kadima leader makes a good impression on John Avlon of the Daily Beast, during a conversation on Iran, Syria, and Israel’s future.

With anxious attention increasingly directed toward the threat of the Islamic Republic of Iran having a nuclear weapon, Livni is reluctant to discuss the prospect of military options in public—a sign of experience over-riding political impulses. “I believe that this is something that leaders need to decide, not people, because in the cabinet room you can understand what is the prime concern of this kind of an attack and what are the options and what is the outcome the day after.” But she is clear that the famous Israeli surgical strikes against Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007—both of which saved the world from the prospect of those regimes being nuclear powers – were comparatively simple.

Epidemic of Dysfunction Dogs Netanyahu

JJ Goldberg of the Forward investigates the troubled behind-the-scenes administration of the Prime Minister of Israel.

Three main scandals dominate Israel’s front pages, each involving one of Netanyahu’s most trusted aides. One, Uzi Arad, was his closest security adviser for nearly two decades until he quit last year amid rumored security breaches. The second, Natan Eshel, was his chief of staff, considered the essential glue that kept operations running until he quit in February over allegations of sexual misconduct. The third is his closest political ally, defense minister Ehud Barak, who is embroiled with an ugly feud with former military chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

No obvious choice

Candidates from across the political spectrum are running up against the all-powerful Egyptian military, writes Dina Ezzat in Al-Ahram.

Of declared presidential candidates only Ahmed Shafik—Mubarak’s last appointed prime minister—has a military background, and SCAF, says the source, is unwilling to back him, though he does command some support among the military council’s members. Which leaves Egypt’s military rulers in a dilemma since they are not convinced any of the other candidates will be willing to broker a deal that perpetuates financial and political immunity for the army. That leaves SCAF still searching for “a candidate with whom it can come to an understanding but who can also attract the support of a majority of voters”.