Saturday, August 18, 2012

                                                                                                         And the Reason Is...

     Most people agree that in the battle of Gog and Magog a confederacy of Islamic nations will attack Israel.  There are some arguments about it, but again the majority of scholars seem to believe that this confederacy will be led by Russia.  My question was, why would Russia want to attack Israel?  Why would it ally itself with Islam?  It just didn’t make much sense to me.

     In 2009 the Tamar natural gas field was discovered some 50 miles off Haifa’s coast, well within Israeli waters.  With an estimated 250 billion cubic meters, it is large enough to meet all of Israel’s natural gas requirements for the next 20 to 30 years.  Which is especially significant when we consider how many times the Sinai natural gas pipeline to Israel and Jordan has been sabotaged since the fall of Mubarak, disrupting the delivery of natural gas to Israel in bold opposition to the 2005 agreement that was an outgrowth of the 1979 peace treaty.  The Tamar field is expected to be fully operational by 2013.

     The following year, another natural gas field was discovered 30 miles to the west of Tamar.  It was named Leviathan because of its size.  It is estimated to contain around 470 billion cubic meters of gas.  It is scheduled to be operational 4 years after Tamar does.  A smaller field, Tanin, with an estimated 33.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas, was discovered earlier this year.  And the exploration continues.

     Israel’s newly found riches will have a three-fold effect that could lead to the war described in Ezekiel 38.

     First, Lebanon which is still formally in a state of war with Israel, has declared a maritime border that would include a large part of the gas fields.  The lack of a stable land border between Israel and Lebanon is the reason given for the disputed maritime border.  In August 2010, Lebanon submitted to the UN its official view regarding the maritime border, indicating that it considered the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields to be outside Lebanese territory.  But Hezbollah hasn’t said the last word yet.

     Next, natural gas abundance will have multiple repercussions in the Israeli economy.  Not only will Israel able to reduce its dependence on coal to produce electricity, but natural gas could replace oil as a transportation fuel.  And, because it is a key feedstock in the petrochemical business, it will spur new industry.  Israel’s economy will boom, maybe to the levels predicted by Ezekiel.

     Finally, Israel will go from being an energy-scarce nation, to exporting natural gas.  There‘s already talk of establishing a pipeline to Greece to start selling natural gas to Europe.  Russia is currently one of the major suppliers of natural gas to Europe.  The original pipeline networks for exporting (then Soviet) natural gas to Europe date back to the 1970s.  In November of last year a759 mile-long pipeline from Karelia, a federal subject to Russia, to Germany was inaugurated.  A second pipeline is scheduled to be commissioned at the end of this year.  Both pipelines will be transporting 55 billion cubic meters of gas each year to Europe.

     What will Russia’s reaction be to Israel’s becoming a natural gas exporter to Europe?  Will the Hezbollah-infiltrated Lebanese government give up its claims to Tamar and Leviathan?  I think the stage is getting set for the premier of the Ezekiel 38 War.