The National Bloc released the following statement:
Lebanese sectarian leaders hastened to celebrate the maritime agreement with Israel. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in a rejoiced tone, said in a televised speech on Tuesday, October 11, that “Tonight we will not issue threats. Tonight, there will only be joy and clapping,” and ended the raging debate over the paternity of the agreement between the three Chiefs and the rest of the Lebanese tribal leaders, while preserved for himself the lion’s share in clinching a deal that is even worse than May 17, 1983 agreement as admitted by Al-Akhbar newspaper itself on July 13, 2022.
It is true that the agreement allows Lebanon to begin the extraction process in the Qana field, yet the size of oil and gas resources in the sea remains uncertain and under assumptions. There is also no doubt that the oil and gas sector could be a game changer for Lebanon, if well developed and well managed outside the logic of quotas and usual disruption, yet the revenues from gas exploitation would not be sufficient to cover the losses and would not dispense the country from the International Monetary Fund’s reform. But above all, the Lebanese people have the right to know that Lebanon could have obtained a much larger share of the disputed fields had there been a better and more transparent management of the negotiation process.
Accordingly, the agreement is deemed to be a failure compared to what could Lebanon have obtained, and raises concerns about the ways Lebanon manages its foreign and defense policy, for several reasons, the most important of which are:
Therefore, and based on this failed negotiating experience, lessons must be drawn to preserve the security of Lebanon and the southern border, and to better manage the oil and gas sector away from the hegemony of sectarian leaders:
First, the agreement establishes a new security equation between Lebanon and Israel, by linking the economic interests of the two countries, as the ability to profit from gaseous resources is linked to ensuring sustainable stability on the southern borders:
- There is no need any more for the "the army, the people and the resistance" equation after Israel and "Hezbollah" accepted the agreement and the economic normalization between the two countries.
- Crafting a defense policy based on the integration of Hezbollah’s arsenal into the Lebanese Armed Forces and strengthening the latter militarily. It is equally important to shape a foreign policy that benefits from the agreement to pave the way for a truce with Israel based on the Lebanese constitution and international and Arab sponsorship that gives Lebanon and the people of the south in particular security guarantees that they have not enjoyed since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. It is an undeniable fact that the security of the Eastern Mediterranean is now directly linked to the economic security of Europe.