Timothy Benton | Sep 17, 2018 | 0
Israel, The Next Energy Superpower!
For years there was the joke going around in Israel that went, ‘When G-d told Moses to go to Cannan and set up a nation Moses did not listen too well, he must have taken a wrong turn and ended up in the only place in the Middle East with no oil.’ For many years, Israel surrounded by enemies that were the worlds major energy superpowers were putting in place embargo’s against Israel, forcing Israel t sell its soul to keep their infrastructure going, this is all changing, and hugely, Israel is on their way to becoming the next energy superpower in the world.
Up until the 2,000’s having no oil reserves other than strategic reserves of oil they had purchased, and access to the only area that supplied them with any energy, the Sinia, Israel gave that back to Egypt for peace, leaving them with no energy reserves. But along came a most unlikely man who said his faith brought him to Israel to find black gold, his name was John Brown, he was the CEO of Zion Oil, while many scoffed at him, called him insane, he was willing to lever his future for what he believed was a divine calling, to aid Israel in their quest for energy independence,
The U.S.-based Zion Oil & Gas Corporation, led by John Brown, said it wanted to help the Jewish state become energy independent found more than even he thought was going to be discovered, he has found vindication after finding what could be one of the worlds largest oil reserves in the world in Golan and going down through the Sea of Galilee, has since seen what could be if not the largest, then one of the worlds most significant gas fields in the world, with the primary track being the Leviathan Field.
This could cause titanic shifts in the energy market, Israel which was dependent on outside sources, many times forced to make deals that were far outsides its best self-interests, now has access to the energy they not only will need to become self-sufficient but can bring in billions with deals sending surplus oil to outside markets. Usually, this is a great thing, but the quantity they found could cause a shift in how both Europe and much of the world deals with them.
One of these nations is Russia, Russia has based much of their economy on their ability to bring up and ship both oil and natural gas to Europe, with Israel in proximity, and the ability to build underwater pipelines from Israel, through Cyprus, and to Greece this could change the whole complexity of the European dependence on energy.
While this is a boon for Europe it is in no way for Russia; we now see moves by Russia trying to bring back the Golan Heights to Syrian control, they know the control of these reserves will enable them to keep control of much of the world’s oil. And not only has Russia shown a keen interest in this, so has Iran, they know this would be a great means for them to increase their presence and wealth if they can figure out a way to get hold of these large oil reserves.
And there is more, Turkey is fighting this, they want the pipeline to run through their nation, thus giving them access to the energy reserves, but Israel is wary of this with Turkey’s current political climate, further, they don’t like the idea of Turkey controlling their ability to supply energy, although they could send a sub-line to give Turkey the ability to access the natural gas and oil in the future.
What This Means For The Middle East and Political World Structure.
One of the first changes will be with Russia. With Israel able to break Russia’s stranglehold on Europe over their energy needs, Israel could theoretically supply what Europe needs to keep them from being under the thumb of Russia. This could very well be why they are aiding Iran in their moves to come in closer and closer to Israel, Russia would be well served in pushing a peace that would enable them to have controlling interest over any pipeline that goes to Europe, they could thereby gain some profit on everything Israel pulls out of the ground and would still have the control over Europe, but this is only speculation.
Then there is Iran and the rest of the Muslim world there. What is going on now is an upsurge of rekindled Sunni Shiite division, the old fight between the two for control of the area is once more raising its head. On one side you have Iran and their allies, the other side Saudi Arabia and her’s. While Iran does at the present hold a numerical advantage, Saudi Arabia and her allies have been spending billions to upgrade their militaries for exactly this reason.
One of the interesting moves in all this is the sudden acknowledgment of the fact that Israel is the only nation capable and willing to stand up to Iran, this brings in the old saying, “Enemy of my enemy is my friend.” While the people on the streets in Arab nations are by no means comfortable with any acceptance of Israel, this even goes with the Arab nations that have signed peace treaties with them, both Jordan and Egyptian citizens are overwhelmingly anti-Israeli, the governments do see the advantage of working with instead of against her.
It is due to this that we have seen what just ten years ago been unthinkable, last year November two Saudi Envoy’s went to Israel to visit the nation and speak with leaders there. While this has been kept quiet at home, the backlash from Hezbollah and Iran was if anything predictable. We have seen other nations there while opening back-channel talks with Israel have kept their public policy unchanged, this is more for the sake of appearance than anything.
There is also the unspoken agreement that Israel has a naval. presence in the Red Sea, their base out of Eilat, with this they could quickly move both subs and ships if the need arises to deal with Iran. But this does come with risks, there is the problem with the Suez, although Egypt is allowing Israeli ships and subs to go through, it is an open access waterway, in a time of war there is no guarantee this will be allowed, and Israel would not be willing to put at risk their most expensive military items at the risk of political winds.
What you have in the end is an ability and strength Israel has that no other Arab nation at this time has, although one could argue that Egypt is very close, Israel has become an attractive enemy of an enemy, even if such an alliance is an uneasy one. Israel would in such move have more leeway in how to deal with the Palestinian situation, much of the political pressure the Arabs have been able to sway seems to be going away as the other Arabs are paying less and less attention to them.
There is last the fact that the US has been supporting Israeli military strength to the tune of $3+ billion a year, while this aid is mostly in the form of credits, America under current US law are not able to hand cash to Israel other than for joint research projects, the majority of the funding is given in credits for Israel to purchase American produced goods that are made in the US. This figure, while it is great, is not like America is doing with Egypt or Jordan where they are paying Egyptian and Jordanian Citizens to assemble the hardware they are obtaining from American Aid, Israel has to purchase only American made products.
There are exceptions, such as Iron Dome, but part of this agreement was that Israel pass the specs to the US as part of the aid deal, then the aid given in this is in the form of American companies producing the Tamir Missile in the US, no US aid is given to produce them in Israel, thus all the pay for labor and manufacturing comes through America, not Israel.
But what this does mean is even greater, with this new found wealth coming online Israel will be bringing in enough funds to not need any US aid, although I think there will still be very high investments in joint research projects, Israel’s technical base is too important to the US to want to lose access to this. Israel will benefit from this as well, while I don’t see their alliance with the US weakening, they will not be beholding to political shifts in American leadership, if another Obama comes online, Israel will not be as tied to US fickle political will depending on who is in the White House.
There are challenges ahead, such as the dispute over the Golan Heights, which were part of Israel in 1948, but were seized by Syria and used as a platform to attack Israel until 1967, I don’t see anything that would push them to give this back, but with the great amount of oil reserves found under it the temptation to try to take it back would be enormous to Syria and her allies as well.
Then there is the expense that will come along with the need to protect these energy sites, the targets would be a very high profile one for terrorist to strike at, and seeing that there are many enemies of Israel itching to place their mark, Israel is going to have to invest heavily in defensive systems along with ships to make sure denial of the area is in place.
But all of this will be worth it, Europe beholding to Israel would be far better for it then having it all arrayed against it, with its wealth will come power, this will be the power that enables to it to push its agenda rather than dancing to everyone else’s tune. But if history has shown us anything, a healthy democracy in the Middle East is a shining beacon for the area, it is in ours, and the worlds to make sure this light stays lit.