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June 24, 2013 10:56 am

When it Comes to Diplomacy, the Mideast is a Bazaar

avatar by Ron Agam

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Natural gas from Israel's Tamar field has just begun flowing to customers. Photo: Youtube.

Israeli media recently revealed that Israel plans to export  its recently discovered trove of natural gas to Europe, with the help of Russian energy company Gazprom.

Keeping in mind the threat that the Lebanese based terrorist organization Hezbollah poses to the future security of the offshore Tamar gas field (located in Israel’s territorial waters, facing Lebanon) a crazy theory comes to mind.

What if after all, Russian interests in Syria, including the preservation of its Mediterranean naval base in Tartus have finally aligned with Israeli interests? What if the secret discussions between Netanyahu and Putin, during the Prime Minister’s visit to Moscow two weeks ago, included an agreement regarding the protection of the Russian share in the exploitation of Israeli gas? Perhaps Moscow’s interests and therefore would be influence on the region’s geopolitical future is a lot more complicated than how it appears on the surface.

The gas deal worth sixty billion dollars for Gazprom over the next 20 years involves  a sum of money that even Russia cannot ignore and in the end, Syria may only be a small part of this entire dynamic.

In the Middle East, nothing is as simple as it appears.

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  • shloime

    russia’s posturing in syria doesn’t jive with this theory.

    and mr netanyahu didn’t need to fly to moscow to personally confirm details of a 20-year energy deal – the trade attaché in moscow could have very easily conveyed the message, once mr putin got back from his vacation in sochi.

    nor does it take 600 marines on the ground in syria to secure an offshore gas field against attacks from lebanon.

    but at least involving gazprom makes the russians into israel’s partners rather than its competitors, and gives mr putin one less reason to see the leviathan field attacked.

    in some places that’s called a “protection racket”.