Israel, Lebanon

Oil and Water

Click to enlarge. (See below for link to Google Maps)

There’s been a great deal of discussion lately on the issue of Lebanon’s maritime border with Israel, and how it will impact Lebanon’s plans for off-shore drilling.

If you haven’t been following along, I highly recommend a piece Matt Nash wrote on the subject about a week ago. (Matt, as I think I’ve said before, is one of the few journalists in Lebanon who reports the hell out of a story; I’m regularly impressed by the amount of research he does.)

Here’s the gist of the dispute:

  • Lebanon signed an agreement with Cyprus in early 2007 which established their maritime borders and the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of each country. [Sibylle Rizk informs me that this is not true… Lebanon’s EEZ was established in 2009, once it had set its borders with Syria as well]. The southernmost point of that border was called Point 1.
  • In 2010, Cyprus signed an agreement with Israel establishing their maritime borders, and used the same Point 1 as a terminal reference.
  • By then, Lebanon had determined that Point 1 was actually too far north and the real point of intersection between all three countries was several kilometers to the south, known as Point 23. It filed papers with the UN to that effect in July 2010.
  • Initially choosing Point 1 was a major blunder on Lebanon’s part, as admitted by the relevant officials in charge
  • Israel has, of course, taken exception to Lebanon’s claim, reminding the UN that this new border violates Lebanon’s original agreement with Cyprus.
  • The UN and the US have both gotten involved as mediators, but there have been no breakthroughs as of yet.

Based on the various sets of coordinates filed by Israel, Cyprus, and Lebanon with the UN, I drew up a Google map showing the precise area under dispute (see above).

My question is the following: what led Lebanon to revise its opinion on the location of the border? Was it based on a new survey? If anyone has any information on this score, please provide it in the comment section.

Update: Sibylle Rizk has an article coming out in Le Commerce du Levant next month which will apparently address this question.
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71 thoughts on “Oil and Water

  1. The question you ask at the end of your piece is quite the pertinent question. I too would like to know if the change between point 1 and 23 is based on actual surveying, scientific evidence, or possibly politically motivated (in other words, is this a marine version of Shebaa Farms).

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | July 21, 2011, 5:35 pm
  2. … And what led to either the Point 1 or the Point 23 claim? Are there principles of maritime law that govern where such points should be placed? Or does everyone just try to grab what they can?

    The Lakkis says, “Lebanon committed a diplomatic error in 2007 during bilateral discussions with the Cypriot government on the maritime borders, when the Lebanese negotiator provided erroneous information to his Cypriot counterpart.” But what was the information, or what was the nature of the information? Was it a technical blunder, like misreading a measuring instrument or making an arithmetic error, or was it something more subtle?

    i had to giggle (to the extent that my canine physiology permits) when i saw that all this is about a lousy 17 square kilometers — a tiny little wedge on a large map. Of course, it would be unthinkable that either the bastard of the first part or the bastard of the second part would just let the other bastard have his way over a trifle. What fools these [humans] be.

    Posted by samadamsthedog | July 21, 2011, 5:36 pm
  3. QN.

    Here’s another map (from the Israeli perspective):

    Usefully, it includes the locations of the 3 current drilling stations that are well inside the Israeli claimed territories.

    This article from the Israeli business site “Globes” basically sez it’s much to do about nada:

    Posted by lally | July 21, 2011, 5:51 pm
  4. Sam the dog,

    And how many square km is Shebaa Farms?


    Of course is much ado about nada…Isn’t that always the case in our neck of the woods?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | July 21, 2011, 6:36 pm
  5. There are many maritime borders that are is dispute all over the world. So we add another one, that is not a big deal.

    What is important in the case of Israel-Cyprus-Lebanon is not the 200 nautical mile EEZ since the distance that seoarates Lebanon from Cyrpus is under 150 nautical miles. The only potential problem is to agree on the point from which the maritime border starts; which point on the coast, and the angle at which the line is drawn in order to make coastal points on both sides equidistant. But even that does not need to be resolved since no country is under an obligation to go to arbitration.
    The resulting difference in the case of Lebanon-Israel is minor; as lally , BV and QN have pointed out. But what if the gas/oil is discovered in a field that stradells both sides of the border? The most likely principle is that the resources go to the country that extracts first.

    The following is from a column on the subject that I posted more than a year ago:
    “As the above map shows, the Tamar1 find is within Israel’s territorial exclusive economic zone. That is not an issue. The real problem arises if the Lebanese can show that a natural gas/oil field spans the territorial boundaries of the two state. In that case what is the accepted international procedure for determining who gets what?

    Interestingly enough and maybe even surprising to some, there is no single standard principle. There are two principles:

    (1) The Right Of Capture principle says that each side is permitted to lift as much as it can on its side of the border. This principle is in effect all throughout the state of Texas but more importantly it is what governs the relationship between the US and Mexico in the Gulf of Mexico.

    (2) Both sides of the dispute would resort to international arbitration.

    Keeping in mind that Lebanon and Israel are in a state of war and given that the Israeli side has already started the exploration and the construction of the required infrastructure which of the above two principles is going to apply if Lebanon can demonstrate that there are natural resources that span the internationally recognized boundary? You have guessed it, The Right of Capture is most likely to be applied.”

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | July 21, 2011, 7:54 pm
  6. It’s terrible really, sharing a border ,land, air and sea with the enemy. This war of attrition is counter productive for all parties involved. Soon enough the over arching issue of how to deal with one another will over shadow every other issue. A war to end all wars, or peace !

    Posted by maverick | July 21, 2011, 9:45 pm
  7. Would not be such a bad idea to go through UN arbitration and have the experts opine on where the proper line should be, and have both parties agree to the results.

    Kind of ironic that the relationship between the two countries has been advesarial on land (to put it mildly), and now it extends to the sea.

    On a good note, I hope the deposits in Lebanon’s EEZ is substantial. The country can sure use it.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | July 21, 2011, 10:40 pm
  8. you will get your answers in the next issue of Le Commerce du Levant.

    meanwhlie please check my story in Le Figaro

    if you don’t want to pay I cand send you the story by email

    according to my research, your story has some mistakes, notably : the agreement in 2007 did not set the EEZ of Lebanon.

    the answer to the question whether Lebanon made a mistake or not in 2007 is not as affirmative as you seem to pretend.

    The complete set of points for the Lebanese EEZ, including point 23, and the syrian border points, was defined in 2009 (April)

    Sibylle Rizk

    Posted by Sibylle Rizk | July 22, 2011, 4:34 am
  9. We all know the real issue is not oil, water or disputed territory but continually finding reasons to pick a fight with Israel. HA and its cronies will continue to stroke troubles to justify their illegal arms and thus hold Lebanon’s potential hostage to their shenanigans.

    Posted by MLK | July 22, 2011, 5:04 am
  10. Hi Sibylle

    Please do send the article via email (you can use the contact form on this site).

    And I was not the one who “seemed to pretend” that Lebanon made a mistake in 2007. Mohammad Kabbani was quoted as saying exactly that.

    Looking forward to seeing the article in CDL.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | July 22, 2011, 5:36 am
  11. As I am writting this I have before me a set of maps of the east Med. covering a whole large table. These are maps that mark the economic zones Of Egypt, Gaza, Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon and part of Syria. The reason for me doing this is that nowadays the people who loan you money ( a lot of it) to drill in such deep places want an enviromental report on every thing imaginable that can be affected by the seabed or under-water drilling. I am a member of one of the groups that write such reports. From my maps and other information it look as if a lot of international oil companies are working in that area, much money is being spent before one drop of oil or one bubble of gas is seen. I know that most companies doing the searching are based in Egypt, Israel and Cyprus. It look as if very little work, relative to Egypt, Cyprus and Israel is done in the sea off Lebanon in searching for signs of gas and oil. However it is possible that for political reasons my group was not able to get information about the Lebanese Economic zone, in any case the open scientific information, in international media, on oceanographic problems produced in Lebanon by Lebanese is very poor, unsatisfactory and incomplete. It seems that also here, as in other places, the Lebanese government is more keen on talking, complaining and making troubles for Israel than on doing positive deeds for Lebanon. For their own good the Lebanese should stop complaining and start drilling as soon as possible.

    Posted by Rani Hazbani | July 22, 2011, 6:44 am
  12. sorry if I was not precise enough, Lebanon’s EEZ was determined in 2009 by a committee including the Lebanese army, but it was not officially adopted : the necessity of a law remains.

    Posted by Sibylle Rizk | July 22, 2011, 7:48 am
  13. I fail to see what the purpose of marking an international border with israhell is. No matter what the border, the zionazis will invade it in their never-ending thirst for more land (or water). Without the Resistance, the Lebanese/”israel” border would be north of Beirut.

    Therefore, we should put the border where we want it, because the occupiers will ignore it anyway.

    Posted by dontgetit | July 22, 2011, 8:27 am
  14. QN,

    Could you help me understand the issue. Is Lebanon asking for the demarcation of the Maritime border with Israel?

    In case QN is by poolside enjoying a T bone steak with chilled beer…Anyone?

    Posted by danny | July 22, 2011, 10:40 am
  15. Danny

    Lebanon submitted to the UN a list of proposed coordinates for its maritime border with its southern neighbor in 2010. Those coordinates are Points 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23, on the Google Map that I created.

    Israel disputes that border, believing that it should terminate not at Point 23 but at Point 1, with the resulting shift of the entire border slightly northward.

    dontgetit, we’ve missed you. 🙂

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | July 22, 2011, 10:52 am
  16. Here’s an honest question for my pro-resistance readers:

    Cyprus has a pathetic little military, and yet they were able to peacefully negotiate their EEZ with Israel. Had there been a disagreement, they would have likely found a compromise under UN mediation (just as the IDF and the Lebanese Army regularly negotiate at the same table with UNIFIL).

    In view of this, why is it so hard for you to believe that Lebanon couldn’t negotiate these kinds of issues with Israel as well? Why do we constantly need to raise the temperature with threats of regional war?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | July 22, 2011, 11:04 am
  17. I think a necessary and complementary question is: what led Lebanon to choose point 1 in the first place?

    Posted by Sophia | July 22, 2011, 11:04 am
  18. Here’s how Sophia.

    Sorry I couldn’t find a clearer video.

    Posted by R2D2 | July 22, 2011, 11:14 am
  19. QN,

    Why do you keep asking questions that you know the answers to?
    1) You will get about 20 falsified and out of context quotes showing how Ben-Gurion always dreamed about building a house on the Litani and that Israel plans to annex South Lebanon
    2) You will be reminded of the 500,000 Palestinians that have to go back to where they came form, never mind that 95% of them were born in Lebanon.

    Posted by AIG | July 22, 2011, 11:24 am
  20. It always amuses me how the “resistance” ideology ties Lebanon in impossible knots. Take drilling for gas offshore. It seems that it is a “no brainer” that it is good for Lebanon, right? Not so fast under the “resistance” framework. To get a large company to invest in drilling offshore, Lebanon would have to promise stability or the ability to protect the gas rigs. But of course, “resistance” and stability do not go together and gas rigs are sitting ducks for the Israeli air-force and navy. So Hezbollah is in a conundrum. Does it agree to stop all “resistance” activities in order to develop the gas fields? If it does, then it loses its essence. If it doesn’t, it will be resented by many Lebanese. Solution? Make sure the gas is not developed but someone else is blamed. And the “resistance” wins again.

    Posted by AIG | July 22, 2011, 11:34 am
  21. To dontgetit

    Much international money is involved in oil and gas exploration. The connections of that industry are wide and far. All over the world much stronger forces than Israel and Lebanon are in the business of marking lines and making maps and writting reports on the terrain under the water. For example: China, Japan and the USA in the ocean south of the Philipines. The big international money will not be kind to any nation that will use force in such situations, they are stronger than Israel & Lebanon. Lebanon should declare the best line for her and start exploring intensively the sea bottom NORTH of the Israeli line without regard to any thing that Israel say or does. That is what most nations do. Lebanon should demand that her technical people will participate in all the stages of the exploration. There are Lebanese expat doing all kinds of jobs in that industry in the Gulf, they should be brought back to Lebanon. As things are now in Lebanon it is possible that if Lebanon will not act cleverly and fast soon you will see, off its coast, all kinds of strange operators: Iranian-Nowegian, Norwegian-USA-KSA, and even Chinese etc. And again Lebanon will be left behind.

    Posted by Rani Hazbani | July 22, 2011, 12:18 pm
  22. AIG

    Sometimes I need to be reminded.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | July 22, 2011, 12:18 pm
  23. QN.

    When was the last time Cyprus was attacked by Israel? Is Cyprus in a state of war with Israel? Israel’s relationship with the non-Turkish side of the little island is quite cozy.Why would you frame your questions in such a manner that conflates Lebanon and Cyprus? Nevermind……

    But hey, the solution is at hand. Cyprus has granted but one exploratory license; to Houston-based Noble Energy, the same outfit drilling on the Israeli side of the EEZ. In fact, Noble E will be using the same rig when it starts to drill on the Cyprus side in September.

    My solution is for Lebanon to grant exploratory licenses to Noble E, thus putting the whole Levant enchilada in the capable hands of the American professionals from the Great State of Texas.

    Of course, the next step will be to determine what the hell to do with the natural gas bounty. No one has yet figured out whether it will be transported by pipeline(s) or liquified & transported by tanker……..

    Razi H.

    You are so right about this:

    “All over the world much stronger forces than Israel and Lebanon are in the business of marking lines and making maps and writting reports on the terrain under the water.”

    and this

    “The big international money will not be kind to any nation that will use force in such situations, they are stronger than Israel & Lebanon.”

    In general, those in the exploratory business eschew blandishments to get involved in dodgy but promising areas such as western Iraq. On the run-up to the US invasion, Ahmed Chalabi was dispatched to reassure the bigboys they would get first crack at the promising formations there. No sale. No fools, they knew that security would be an issue.

    BTW, I was told (by a petro lobbyist) that OBL was paid protection $ to refrain from targeting KSA energy assets.

    Posted by lally | July 22, 2011, 12:49 pm
  24. QN,

    I’m not the intended target to your question, but i’ll answer anyway. 🙂
    It all stems from the very simple principle (sadly overlooked by many analysis) that there is no HA without weapons, and therefore no HA without “resistance”. (This, yet again, a nail in the coffin of the imbecilic theories about turning HA into a political party, etc. that we’ve heard about for years).

    Lebanon and Israel are perfectly capable of negotiating or arbitrating any disputes between them. Just like Israel has done with Cyprus (no military might there), Egypt, Jordan, and others.
    There are mechanisms in place for arbitration on just about any topic.
    I find it ironic that when you take away the ideological demagoguery, Lebanon has de-facto “recognized” Israel a long time ago. Case in point: We ask the UN to mediate on a maritime dispute…Isn’t that implicitly recognizing the existence of your interlocutor?
    The same applies for the countless mediations conducted by UNIFIL on a weekly basis. The matter of Ghajjar, etc.
    So, isn’t it conceivable that the same could simply be done for Shebaa? Or even the so-called 7 villages?

    When you strip all this down to its core, it becomes pretty clear that the entire “resistance” theory is nothing more than self-fulfilling prophecy of a sort. They resist because it defines them. Not because it brings any kind of benefit. They resist because without resistance, they would cease to exist. It’s a basic self-preservation instinct, if you will.
    None of their slogans hold any water. There is absolutely NOTHING there.
    – Recognize Israel? Sure. They’ve already done so by acknowledging its existence, negotiating with it for prisoner releases, implicitly accepting its existence on a daily basis.
    – Liberate Lebanese land? They stopped doing any of that in 2000. And nothing there remains that can’t be done at a negotiating table.
    – Palestinian cause? They stopped doing any of that in 1973, actually. Before HA was even born.

    It’s just a lot of fluff (deadly fluff) built on top of absolutely NOTHING.
    If there ever was a castle built out of thin air (or whatever that saying is), the ideology of “Resistance” makes the perfect example for it.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | July 22, 2011, 1:06 pm
  25. BTW,

    Has anyone seen Alex lately? 🙂
    I’m looking at footage of what looks like a LOT more than 300 people, demonstrating in Hama…
    More like 300,000 people…

    Funny how Alex and his cronies vanished after their theories (the ones we repeatedly told them were pipe dreams and wishful thinking) fell apart.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | July 22, 2011, 1:11 pm
  26. BV

    I want this case to be made by someone who actually believes it. 🙂

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | July 22, 2011, 1:11 pm
  27. BV,

    Are you implying that Hizbullah would still cling on to its weapons and status if the state of Israel ceased existing tomorrow ?

    Posted by R2D2 | July 22, 2011, 1:13 pm
  28. R2D2,

    They will also give up their weapons when the Messiah comes and when unicorns return to roam the plains of the Golan. So sure, they are not wedded to their weapons.

    Posted by AIG | July 22, 2011, 1:28 pm
  29. R2D2,

    While your question is pretty silly, if I absolutely had to answer, I’d say yes, HA would find some reason to cling to its weapons.
    It’s really not that hard to come up with new pretexts when there’s a new paradigm (let’s say Israel vanishes tomorrow).
    For example: The weapons could be justified in resisting against the American imperialism and its Sunni/Reactionary proxies in the region (KSA). While these days, they go at great lengths to tell us that the Sunni-Shia split is of no consequence, a conspiracy, etc…rest assured that in a new paradigm where Israel wasn’t there, it wouldn’t take them very long to start brainwashing the masses about the having to protect the shia from the imperialism of KSA, etc…
    (We already hear overtones of that sort of language in their rhetoric, to be honest).

    So yeah…Even though your question was a joke…there.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | July 22, 2011, 1:30 pm
  30. AIG,

    Prove it !

    Posted by R2D2 | July 22, 2011, 1:30 pm
  31. BV,

    So they have “ulterior” motive? The Sunnas?

    If so, why?

    Posted by R2D2 | July 22, 2011, 1:38 pm
  32. BV,

    So, Iran has a bone to pick with the Arab Sunnis, is what you say?

    Posted by R2D2 | July 22, 2011, 1:46 pm
  33. Your “resistance” serves Iran. Your government had already agreed that Iran should develop Lebanese offshore resources. Your country had become an arsenal for Hezbollah rockets ready to be launched on Israel when it suits Iran. Oh Lebanese, will you ever understand that Israel is not your enemy and almost everyone else is?

    Posted by Arik Elman | July 22, 2011, 1:57 pm
  34. Ulterior motives are not the Sunnis.
    There is no ulterior motive beyond self-preservation.

    Just like it’s a basic human instinct to not do something that leads to your existence ceasing, it’s the same for HA. Just like you wouldn’t willingly give up an arm or a leg, or a testicle…
    Without their weapons, they cease to exist. So they will not give them up. It’s that simple. There does not need to be a motive beyond that.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | July 22, 2011, 2:04 pm
  35. The bigger issue here, as alluded to by BV (hi to BV and to GK/Gus from someone you knew under another name, in better blogging days),

    Instead of preparing the future, harnessing resources (old and new), getting decent phone/elec/water/infrastructure/educ….We are busy talking resistance/muqawama and other counterproductive idiocies that are taking us backwards, killing us, and getting people to leave the country.

    So we talk about no borders with Israel (does not exist) or Syria (no need, our sister) , the UN is a Zionist agency, and now we run to the UN to please help us with the borders so our politicians whores can have oil money to steal…

    QN, the resistance guys have short memories, and forget that before Israel was threatened from our side of the border, Palestinians in 70s, and now HA, the border was quiet. Remember 1967, all Arabs lost land to this day, and Lebanon did not and was not attacked? Why is that resistance geniuses?

    Posted by Old Hand | July 22, 2011, 2:05 pm
  36. Peter,

    Are you bored? 😀

    Posted by danny | July 22, 2011, 2:08 pm
  37. If I remember correctly, it was American military technology and a Sunni funded Saddam Hussein that waged a massive war against the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 80’s.

    Why the Americans decided to turn the tables by supplying the Iranians under cover with military technology remains as unanswered as to the real reasons for G.W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq following 9/11. Why the Gulf Arabs concurrently decided to plug on Saddam, which led to his turning his rage onto the Kuwaitis to start with … was folly?!

    I don’t know.

    I’m just a casual observer.

    Posted by R2D2 | July 22, 2011, 2:14 pm
  38. To L.
    1) What you say about Nobel fits. However if Lebanon want to get up from the present economic-social situation they should try for a better deal than either Israel or Cyprus, KSA, for example, gets much better deals.
    2) Israel and Israelies have had excellent relationships with what you called the “Turkish Side” of Cyprus as well as with the Republic of Cyprus. Including scientific research in many fields.
    To B.V.
    1) If and when Lebanon will start to talk about the 7 villages Israel will raise the story of the Jews of Lebanon and Jewish land in Marj Ayun etc. By the way if you Google “Lebanon 18 sects” you get also Jewish, will they be taken of the list when the the Messiah comes and when unicorns return to roam the plains of the Golan, or when?

    Posted by Rani Hazbani | July 22, 2011, 2:16 pm
  39. Old Hand… hmmm. Abu Qays?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | July 22, 2011, 2:16 pm
  40. BV #33,

    So they are fundamentally insecure ? That’s the issue, then ?!

    Can we remedy that with Xanax prescription pills 🙂

    danny #34

    Out of my mind 🙂

    Posted by R2D2 | July 22, 2011, 2:17 pm
  41. Yeah. Not sure why I’m indulging R2D2 here…I guess I’m bored too.
    “Fundementally insecure” is one way to put (no joking).

    I think you may be on to something. Can someone hit up SHN with a boatload of Xanax?
    Oh wait…Xanax is a “western-zionist” invention (read “conspiracy”)….
    Maybe some of that magic herbal tea then?

    Yeah, who’s “Old Hand”?


    My point was that all disputes can (and should) be negotiated and/or arbitrated. That’s the way of mature civilized peoples. Be it the villages, the Jews of Lebanon or any other dispute you care to bring up. It’s fine, as long as the 2 sides agree to a mechanism to settle such disputes.
    For most of the civilized world, said mechanism is the UN (or similar agencies).
    It’s ironic that the “Resistance” culture refuses to acknowledge the UN, or the state of Israel, yet implicitly acknowledges both when it goes to the UN to discuss borders with Israel…You see what I mean? That pretty much negates their whole theory of “Resistance” and what it’s built on…It’s built on nothing. It’s a freaking mirage. A fairy tale.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | July 22, 2011, 2:38 pm
  42. We were designated “Arabs” well before Americans decided Germany could only be contained by turning them into Europeans.

    Posted by R2D2 | July 22, 2011, 3:34 pm
  43. I’ll challenge anyone on this blog who has never been to any of the following countries, for any extended period of time, to fly into Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Northern Syria (without packaging us along with the Iranian or Turkish league) … that gets 50% of what any of these folks are babbling about in their native tongue.

    Posted by R2D2 | July 22, 2011, 4:07 pm
  44. Old Hand / AQ,
    Nice to hear from you. As is often the case, your point is is an excellent one. I have been arguing this point, maritime demarcation, for over a year right now. The whole issue is nothing but a smoke screen by HA to distract from the indictments, from the inconsistent and contradictory statements from the cabinet, from its inability to reconcile its stand against the Syrian people but in favour of the Tunisians…
    If the US geological survey is right, and so far it has been, then there is enough natgas and oil in the undisputed areas of each of the players. Maritime disputes are nothing new and they should not be used as an excuse to create an atmosphere of instability and uncertainty. The total estimated area of the Lebanese EEZ and its territorial waters is about 19,516 square kilometers so Lebanon can afford to put aside development in 0.0009% of its EZZ plus TW. The development in that sliver can await arbitration. The major task is to set up an efficient transparent structure that will not be used by the Lebanese oligarchs for enhancing their personal wealth. There is no need to reinvent the wheel over and over again, a set up similar to that of Norway will serve us right by preserving efficiency and equity , especially for the future generations quite well.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | July 22, 2011, 4:38 pm
  45. R2D2

    I second the point. What are ‘defined” as Arabs have mostly religion in common (except some Christians in Lebanon, Egypt & Syria and a few thousand here and there in Jordan & Iraq).

    Tribal congregation of peoples that are most in conflict with their neighbors…No wonder a few million Jews kicked the ass of almost half a billion of “Arabs”…

    Now dialects aside; it is culture and history that defines part of their nation. I challenge any Lebanese to converse “Tunisian”…

    Posted by danny | July 22, 2011, 4:43 pm
  46. Cince someone had mentioned the Shebaa farms earlier , it is interesting to note that the Shebaa farms are estimated to be 22 square kilometers out of a total land area of just over 10,000 square kilometers while the disputed maritime area is 17 sqaure kilometers out of a total eez of over 19,000 square kilometers which means that in relative terms the dispouted maritime area is less than half the size of the Shebaa farms in relative terms. No one is suggesting that Lebanon gives up its rights if the maritime area in question validly belongs to it but given that the rest of the undisputed area is at least 1100 times larger than the undisputed one then maybe the Lebanese government ought to de escalate the level of rhetoric and escalate instead its efforts to explore its undiscovered resources.
    Its ironic isn’t it that the country that has failed to demarcate its land borders ever since its creation and the country that neglected in 1956 to come to the aid of its citizens in Shebaa when they were occupied by Syria is threatening war over a maritime dispute that is not uncommon between neighbouring countries that border water.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | July 22, 2011, 5:02 pm
  47. Ghassan,

    I was the one who brought up Shebaa, for exactly the reason you mention.
    The whole damn thing is silly.
    I mean, really, if we are willing to go to the UN for abitration in one matter, then we should be willing to do so on all such matters, Shebaa included, rather than resorting to “Resistance”.

    This whole damn thing keeps proving, time after time, that:

    1) The whole Resistance philosophy has zero merit and is based on nothing but hot air with zero practical argument or logic behind it.

    2) The Resistance philosophy is clearly a smokescreen and is really about the existential insecurities of a certain group (HA) that has nothing to do with territorial integrity.

    3) Everything else is a smoke screen around point #2. EVERYTHING. EVERY SINGLE THING. You name it. The pretexts (Shebaa, Israeli “aggression”, Palestinian cause, sectarian calculations, the alleged lack of representation of the Shia, the Islamic revolution….the list goes on).
    ALL of those are nothing more than excuses for thugs and bullies to continue bullying and justify their existence to themselves mostly. That’s really ALL this is. Nothing more.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | July 22, 2011, 5:21 pm
  48. QN
    I have just seen your update based on what Syblle Rizk said.I am not sure that there is a difference between demarcation of EEZ and maritime borders in the case of Lebanon and Cyprus that are separated by a distance that is half the 400 nautical miles. This means that a maritime demarcation between these two countries is the same as that of an EEZ. I wonder whether Ms. Rizk can take the time to comment why the two would not be the same in this case.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | July 22, 2011, 6:41 pm
  49. The difference between point 1 and 23 are derived from two different, but standard, ways of demarcating maratime borders:
    1) The old way is to continue the trajectory of the land border between the two countries straight into the sea. This will give you point 23 on the maratime border with Cyprus which is not in dispute by either Israel or Lebannon.
    2) The newer and current standard, is to draw a line perpendicular to the shoreline (in some cases this is not possible, but for the Leb-Isr border it is quite easy since the shoreline in the vicinity of the border is more or less straight). This will give you point 1.

    Furthermore, from what I understand, Lebannon is signatory to an international maratime treaty which recognizes the second way of demarcating borders, although this is not strictly a rule but a guideline on how to draw borders. Maybe that is how they made their original “mistake”.

    At the end of the day, international Law will generally only recognize the border if both sides agree on them. Untill then there just isn’t any border, so it dosn’t belong to either Israel or Lebannon really.

    Posted by kubbeh | July 22, 2011, 7:39 pm
  50. Ghassan

    Three things:

    1) I think that Ms. Rizk’s point is that Lebanon could not establish its EEZ simply by demarcating its border with Cyprus. It also needed to do the same with Syria, which it completed in 2009. So, in 2007, it had completed demarcating only part of the borders of its EEZ.

    2) Where are you getting the figure of 17 square kilometers of disputed area? Actually, 17 kilometers is the distance between Points 1 and 23, which represents just one side of the disputed wedge shown on the map above. The total disputed area is around 860 square kilometers, or around 4.5% of the EEZ.

    3) I don’t know for certain that Old Hand is actually Abu Qays. Just a guess.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | July 22, 2011, 9:35 pm
  51. QN
    (1) y point is that if Lebanon had demarcated its maritime borders with Cyprus then that was in effect its EEZ border with Cyprus.

    (2) I made a grave and fatal error in my calculations. I had estimated that the length of the wedge was about 100-120 km but then when I typed my post I neglected the multiplicationby 50-60. That is an unforgivable error. I hope all the readers will not jump to the conclusion that I was playing loose with the evidence in order to make it fit a conclusion. I promise you that that never crossed my mind. I do not know how I could have done that.

    (3) I concurr that Old Hand is , probably, Abu Qaya. I hope that it is and I hope that he has the time to post often.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | July 22, 2011, 10:02 pm
  52. QN,

    Is that Abu Kais?

    Posted by danny | July 23, 2011, 7:01 am
  53. At what point should Lebanon consider giving Hizballah and the 90% (?) Hizballah-supporting Shi’ites their independent Islamic Republic of Lebanon Monarchy?

    Posted by R2D2 | July 23, 2011, 2:46 pm
  54. At what point should the Assads and the Alawites consider something similar for themselves in Syria?

    Who knows, ten years from now we could become the United Levantine Emirates.

    Posted by R2D2 | July 23, 2011, 3:09 pm
  55. Lebanese love whoring themselves to whoever … Saudis, Iranians, Syrians, French, American, British, Germans, Russians … whoever seems to have their house more solidly together than the ones they have had to grow up in.


    Posted by R2D2 | July 23, 2011, 4:29 pm
  56. There’s an intriguing go between on the forum between Abu Muqawama and some German Jourmalist.

    Posted by R2D2 | July 24, 2011, 12:51 pm
  57. The current issue of the Hoover Digest has a six article 40 page devoted to the Arab Spring. The magazine has a relatively small page size and large print so the pieces are not lengthy but might be of interest to some. The first article, as might be expected, is by Fouad Ajami and it contains an interesting observation about the Gulf emirates and saudi Arabia. He states that 7y7in each of these countries the rulers have not followed the cult of personality adopted by Mubarak, Assad, Saleh, Ben Ali, Qaddafi and that the state does not inspire fear in its residents by waging midnight house raids etc.. Can anyone who has lived in the Gulf for an extended period of time comment on this.?

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | July 24, 2011, 4:05 pm
  58. GK,

    The Saudi, Emirati or any other Gulf Intelligence Agencies or Secret Police are and have been as brutal as their Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian counterparts, we just don’t hear much about them because of our Government’s and Media hypocrisy when it comes to “our Arab moderate allies” also there is not much local decent since most citizens are well paid for their allegiance.
    As for the personality cult the Gulf Arabs worship their Sheikhs, Emirs and Kings just as the poor Arabs worship their Colonels, Presidents and Comrades there isnt much difference.

    Posted by Vulcan | July 24, 2011, 4:37 pm
  59. DISSENT !

    Posted by Vulcan | July 24, 2011, 4:58 pm
  60. Thanks for your input Vulcan. I have never lived in any of the Gulf emirates but based on what I read and based on many stories that I hear from those who have lived there I was not comfortable with the distinction that Dr. Ajami was making.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | July 24, 2011, 5:36 pm
  61. I wonder if a day will come that Israel, Lebanon and Cyprus will go the international court and present their cases and get a judgment according to international law and accept that judgment, save lives and money,

    That will be the day when conflicts are resolved not fought over.

    Posted by Norman | July 24, 2011, 9:08 pm
  62. Norman is right. So long as the Zionazis are occupying historic Palestinian land, there is no hope outside of the arms of The Resistance and the blood of our martyrs. Let israhell drill and explore in our water and build their cities on the bones of our people with their stolen technology and false patents. The heroes of the resistance will ensure that the zionist entity is but a small blink in the eye of time and that the glory of arab civilization will once more erase the Jewish usurpation and restore the honor of our people.

    Posted by dontgetit | July 24, 2011, 9:44 pm
  63. Norman as usual advocates international law outside Syria but is quite happy with a mafia regime inside Syria that does not respect basic human rights such as freedom of speech. Norman also advocates a long war with Israel for Syria yet then turns around and advocates talks for Lebanon. Perhaps one day when he is less scared, Norman will tell us what he really thinks.

    Posted by AIG | July 25, 2011, 12:10 am
  64. AIG,

    I think that IS what Norman really thinks.

    If the majority of posters here and on SC:

    1.) Hate Israel

    2.) Want “Palestinian Rights”

    3.) Know that Arab citizens of Israel have more rights than any Arab state

    4.) Do not demand freedom and rights for the Arab countries they support

    then I can only conclude that there is a permanent mind-set in place where Israel will always be judged at a different level than other ME countries.

    It is what it is.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | July 25, 2011, 8:31 am
  65. I don’t know …

    Being a casual observer, shouldn’t a “serious” deal with the Palestinians be Israel’s absolute top priority, to stay out of whatever the resultant shifts in the region?

    Posted by R2D2 | July 25, 2011, 11:36 am
  66. Ohms Law

    … shouldn’t a “serious” deal with the Palestinians be Israel’s absolute top priority…


    Couldn’t we ask the same question of the Palestinians? Aren’t they the ones refusing to enter talks?

    I just don’t think there’s enough interest right now. I think the idea of an “end of the conflict” doesn’t sit well with people who just, downright, like “resistance”.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | July 25, 2011, 12:06 pm
  67. AP #66

    I just don’t think there’s enough interest right now. I think the idea of an “end of the conflict” doesn’t sit well with people who just, downright, like “resistance”.

    You mean the Israelis by the above statement, right ?

    Posted by R2D2 | July 25, 2011, 12:14 pm
  68. R2D2,

    I’m not sure. I haven’t read the Hamas, Hezbollah, and PLO charters for awhile. Have they changed?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | July 25, 2011, 7:08 pm
  69. seeing how i cannot read french, what is the answer in the le commerce du levant article?

    Posted by Yonatan | August 1, 2011, 8:53 am
  70. i agree cant read french either!

    Posted by Hadiya | August 14, 2011, 4:37 pm
  71. A quick comment: Lebanon has not yet demarcated its borders with Syria. Also, what happened with pts 23 and 1 was not a mistake on the part of Lebanon but a disregard for what was agreed on the part of Cyprus.

    Posted by Anis | January 15, 2012, 3:20 am

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