A flammable peace: Why gas deals won’t end conflict in the Middle East

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Series Details 21.12.17
Publication Date 21/12/2017
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Discoveries of gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean raised the prospect of stronger economic integration between states in the region, which would see enhanced relations and pave the way for greater stability there.

The notion of 'economic peace' – that shared economic benefits could mitigate conflict – has long informed diplomacy in the region. However, so far such benefits do not offer sufficient incentives to overcome entrenched political grievances.

Political differences remain the overriding factor shaping relations between states and threatening to cause instability. This is the case among both states that have formal peace agreements and others that continue to be in a state of belligerency.

The European Union has limited capacity to alter much of the political landscape in the region. Nonetheless, there are a number of important areas where the EU could leverage its diplomatic power and use the gas reserves as a catalyst to enhance regional stability.

Such measures include: expanding efforts to encourage Egyptian reforms; mediating maritime disputes between Lebanon and Israel; reviving negotiations between Cyprus and Turkey; and supporting the Palestinians in their effort to access their own natural resources.

See also the Chatham House: Expert Comment, 10.01.18: Is Lebanon Set for an Oil Bonanza? (see below).

The authors argued that the Lebanese government was banking on oil and gas discoveries to fuel a bright new future. But the challenges were just starting for the small country beset with public mistrust in politicians and ongoing geopolitical disputes.

Source Link http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/A_flammable_peace2.pdf
Related Links
Chatham House: Expert Comment, 10.01.18: Is Lebanon Set for an Oil Bonanza? https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/lebanon-set-oil-bonanza
Istituto Affari Internazionali: IAI Working Papers No.27, October 2016: Energy Resources and Regional Cooperation in the East Mediterranean (IAI Research Papers No.16/27 (October 2016)) http://www.europeansources.info/record/energy-resources-and-regional-cooperation-in-the-east-mediterranean/
openDemocracy: Can Europe Make It?, 27.07.15: The Cyprus solution: gas, guarantees and grassroots http://www.europeansources.info/record/the-cyprus-solution-gas-guarantees-and-grassroots/
Al Jazeera, 07.03.17: The disputed gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2017/03/disputed-gas-fields-eastern-mediterranean-170307170904483.html
The Conversation, 28.02.18: Scramble for gas in eastern Mediterranean is stoking old tensions in the region https://theconversation.com/scramble-for-gas-in-eastern-mediterranean-is-stoking-old-tensions-in-the-region-92070
ESO in Focus, February 2018: Tension rises between Turkey and Cyprus over gas drilling in the eastern Mediterranean http://www.europeansources.info/record/tension-rises-between-turkey-and-cyprus-over-gas-drilling-in-the-eastern-mediterranean/

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