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How a disastrous conflict between Israel & Lebanon can be avoided

13 15 0

The greatest fear of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United States, and of course, Israel, is the formation of what has been dubbed for years the ‘Shia Crescent’ – a land bridge of predominantly Shia-led countries that connects Iran to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and beyond.

As Iran’s influence grows in these countries, these nations become a problem for the US and its regional allies. Iran has been a thorn in Washington’s backside ever since the Iranian people overthrew an American-backed dictator in the Islamic Revolution. Imagine how much more problematic it would become when Iran manages to maintain an influential footprint in a bridge of nations which can further advance its interests?

However, while the US typically relies on the brute force of its military to solve the issues that challenging nations such as Iran pose, in the case of Lebanon it has apparently attempted another tactful approach (which may just end up working).

US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield has been making numerous trips between Israel and Lebanon in recent months to mediate a longstanding maritime border dispute the two countries have faced for almost a decade. In the past month alone, Satterfield has reportedly made at least four visits to the two nations specifically on the issue of demarcating the maritime border between the two rivals.

Unlike Trump, Satterfield speaks fluent Arabic and is well familiar with regional dynamics, having served in the Middle East for approximately 40 years; not to mention his former post as ambassador to Lebanon from 1998 to 2001.

In February last year, Lebanon signed its first offshore oil and gas exploration and production agreements in a potential undersea reserve, the ownership of which is still disputed by Israel. An amalgamation of Total, Eni, and Novatek won two of Lebanon’s 10 exploration blocks last year.

Just recently, Satterfield made a breakthrough between Lebanese leadership and Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz. According to Reuters, any agreement will deal only with the maritime border dispute........

© RT.com