A recent major oil and gas find is bound to change dramatically the geopolitical equation in the Eastern Mediterranean region and beyond. To start with, it has sent Israel from rags to riches in terms of energy independence and security. WT news feed
“…It has two major levers in this endeavor. The first is Cyprus, which is deeply enmeshed with Russia financially and politically…..The second is . . . Syria….”
“Naturally, the race to get the gas has reinvigorated old arguments (Cyprus-Turkey) and added fuel to newer disagreements (Israel-Turkey). Israel and Cyprus have been fastest off the blocks, agreeing on their common maritime border in 2010 and contracting exploration work to Noble Energy. Turkey, on the other hand, has been slow to react and increasingly confrontational, holding naval exercises and trying to prevent Cyprus from accessing gas that Turkey says belong to Northern Cyprus, which only Ankara recognizes as a country. The confrontation also threatens to further destabilize Israeli relations with Turkey, which appeared to be on the uptick this week when an Israeli delegation arrived in Turkey’s quake-hit Van Province with aid supplies; “You are our true friends” said Van’s vice governor.
The gas reserves in the Levant Basin may be large enough to make Cyprus self-sufficient in energy and turn Israel into a major gas exporter for the next several decades. That, and Israel’s new tilt toward Greece as a way of countering the cold wind in its relations with Turkey, is opening a new era in Israel-Cyprus relations. Netanyahu is on his way to Nicosia this week (the first ever visit of an Israeli PM to the island), and Israel is expected to formally ask to station fighter jets at a southern Cypriot airbase.”