A couple updates on stories I have written about recently.
First, an Israeli government commission set up by PM Netanyahu issued its recommendations for Israel's massive offshore natural gas deposits, discovered over the past three years. The report, authored by Energy and Water Ministry Director General Shaul Tzemach, stated that Israel should reserve half of the Tamar and Leviathan fields for domestic use, and export the other half. This would mean maintaining a strategic reserve of 400 billion cubic meters (BCM), which Tzemach said would be enough to supply Israeli needs for 25 years. The Tamar field, which is set to become operational in 2013, holds an estimated 240 BCM (or 8.3 trillion cubic feet), while the the larger Leviathan field, which won't come online until 2017, holds an estimated 450 BCM (or 16 TCF). Noble Energy, a Houston-based energy corporaation, holds the largest share in both the fields. For much more on this subject, see my writings summarizing the excellent F. William Engdahl's reports.
Second, Iraqi-Kuwait relations, historically tense, have begun to thaw in recent weeks. Kuwait was the only GCC state to send high level representatives to the Arab League Summit in Baghdad, and now Kuwait's Jazeera Airlines has begun to offer direct flights to Baghdad and Najaf, starting at four flights to each city every week. These are the first direct flights between the two neighboring countries since Iraq's 1990 invasion and occupation of Kuwait. This is an example of what Iraq expert Reider Visser describes as the phenomenon of a growing number of Arab States who are "prepared to interact with Iraq as a perfectly normal Arab state," disavowing the totalizing "Shia crescent" doctrine pushed by the Saudi leaders.