Oil Draws Naval Powers
The discovery a few years ago of oil and gas reserves off the Lebanese, Israeli and Cypriot coasts has raised the interest of foreign militaries.
Recent Oil Discovery off Lebanese Coast Draws Naval Powers to East Med
By Claude Salhani
The discovery a few years ago of an important deposit of oil and gas reserves in the waters just off the Lebanese, Israeli and Cypriot coasts has raised the interest of foreign militaries who have in recent weeks become attracted to the region, adding ingredients at sea to an already explosive atmosphere on land.
From China to Iran, not forgetting Turkey, Israel, the United States, Britain, and France, all the principal actors in the region are now present in the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean.
In addition to the important oil fields under the sea waiting to be exploited, the bloody civil war that has been raging in next door Syria for the past two years has brought renewed interest in these troubled waters.
Russia, primarily, is very concerned by what the future holds for the Assad regime in Damascus as the Syrian Mediterranean port of Tartous serves as the Russian Mediterranean Fleet’s main port of call, where the Russians continue to hold onto an important facility established back in the days of the Soviet Union. For Russia, whose northern Baltic ports freeze over during the long cold winter months, having access to a friendly port for its Med fleet is a matter of national security. To reiterate just how important the Eastern Mediterranean Sea plays in Russian affairs, Moscow has just dispatched a naval task force comprised of about 10 vessels, including its only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetzov, to the region.