Leviathan and the Levantine

A concern remains about Israel making any compacts, like the recent pact with the Emiratis. Is it wholly impractical and overtly spiritual to expect Israel to go it alone, remain completely self-sufficient, and look only to her covenant with God? Or does Israel rightly have to make earthly moves in parallel to moving also in the spiritual realm? Regardless, this video identifies relevant prevailing Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of the region, and their political implications, in the Levant.

The exclusive economic zone is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea, subject to the specific legal regime established in this Part, under which the rights and jurisdiction of the coastal State and the rights and freedoms of other States are governed by the relevant provisions of this Convention.

Part V: Exclusive Economic Zone (Preamble to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)

The January 2009 discovery of the Tamar prospect gives Israel a high purity gas field—four times the energy value per well-head than that of Saudi oil fields (and gas is a cleaner energy than oil)—the size of a probable 275 billion cubic meters (9.7 trillion cubic feet, or TCF) of natural gas reserves or about half of the entire EUs national consumption. In 2011 and just to Tamar’s west, a mammoth gas field estimated to contain the equivalent of the entire European Union consumes in a year, and named Leviathan, is discovered with many smaller finds also in the vicinity and within Israel’s EEZ.[2] Notably, large reserves have also been found within Cyprus’s EEZ and, moreover, an Eastern Mediterranean pipeline from the Israeli gas fields into Europe has been proposed. 

Economic Exclusion Zones in the Levant [Image: Daily Sabah]

A proposed Eastern Mediterranean pipeline would pump gas from Leviathan and Cypriot fields to southern Europe, bypassing Turkey, through Greece.

EastMed pipeline [Image: Aljazeera]

References / Reading

  1. The Geopolitics of Israel’s Offshore Gas Reserves, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  2. Chevron can lift Israel’s Leviathan gas field on to global stage, partner says, August 07, 2020

 

Do All Roads Lead to the Middle-East?

Take what experts say with a grain of salt because, though their expertise remains indelible, they necessarily tend to an overly narrow focus. But if you listen to enough experts in enough disciplines, you put together a picture of what’s really going on.

This analysis by Peter Zeihan, co-founder of the world’s pre-eminent geostrategic intelligence firm, Stratfor, fits snugly within the trajectory of the emergence of a multipolar world: a gradually more insular America; a massive Russia with significant energy reserves only gradually emerging economically; a mercantile China delimited by regional restraints. In this setting, importantly, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will increasingly, though perhaps not exclusively, be left to fend for itself.
Saudi Arabia is not, however, powerful enough on its own to maintain regional hegemony. The more powerful Iran, meanwhile, suffers under sanctions. But if you count Turkey as a Mid-East nation, then Israel and Turkey are the regions emerging nations; with the latter slightly more powerful and somewhat more established. But Israel has found what Turkey lacks; energy reserves. The North African nations, meanwhile, though strategically positioned—Egypt’s Suez and Libyan oil—are only modest players: Egypt a mid-sized power, and Libya war-torn. Recently, to the chagrin of both Greece (geography and history) and France (history), the Turks, with a strategic eye for oil, sent troops to Libya, for whom French colonists once upon a time had eyes of their own. But quick in response, the Greeks forced a regional stale-mate through a trans-Mediterranean pact of their own, with Egypt; along with a show of solidarity from this formidable military power, and fellow EU member, France. In that, the Greeks countered Turkey’s move and backed it with equivalent (French) force.
Iran is Patient, Turkey Impulsive
The democratising, secularising tendencies of Kemal Ataturk now seem left far behind. Turkey is Sunni Muslim, of the Salafist kind. The reason Turks are impetuous and impulsive, apart from it reflecting the character of their leader, is that despite its military power, despite a criss-cross by gas pipelines on route to Europe from Eurasia, and despite being NATO member, Turkey has few energy resources of its own and, moreover, will slowly awake to find it has friends that are fewer still. In a recent podcast entitled “The State of the Middle East Amidst US-Iran Tensions”, and with Geopolitical Futures’ founder—and, incidentally, also Stratfor co-founder—George Friedman increasingly finding himself talking instead about Turkey, Caroline Rose ends perhaps with what might best be described as the prophetic version of a Freudian-slip when she says: “Well … you know you had a successful talk about the Middle East when you started with Iran and you end up in Turkey.”

Re-orientiation, 14 August

Telling it right

We need an urgent global reorient regarding just where we are at, rightly dividing the word of truth. To stop calling wrong, right. That means we need good guide-posts, both in secular as well as sacred circles. We need appropriate social cues. Regardless of our partisan stripes, such guides and cues come from others, howbeit different people at different times, who present appropriately sober reflections at just the right time.

From what position do people try to undermine the legitimacy of President Trump? It is both inappropriate and unfair to attempt to portray his rule as illegitimate. What other President, let alone what other person, would have stood the barrage of criticism and utter disrespect that President Trump endures? Perhaps it is his karma to be treated like that, I know not. What I do know is that people ought to show greater respect for the office he holds. If you cannot respect the office he holds then you no longer respect the nation in which you have made your home.

It’s pretty simple: Trump deniers are going to wake up at some point and realise that they are on the wrong side of history. (And if there is any time in history that you DO want to be on the right side, now, at the End of Days, is that time. You simply cannot afford to be on the wrong side here.) For in times of dire straits, under immense and unsurpassed pressure, he hangs on to a vestige of his humanity even as he is part-way in beginning to lose it. He’s real. Real. And in a fickle, fickle charlatan world, real is where it’s at.

President Trump is far from the model human. But he is human. He is less than erudite in so many ways. But he says what he means. He is at once blunt and yet full of nuance at the same time. What is clear to me is that he, himself, in his own fat-fingered way perhaps, yet still, respects the office he holds. He respects it greatly.

Perhaps the average American might respect it half as much. But for that I blame his [the President’s] innominate predecessor.

Sitrap Sojourn

In the world but not of it.

Licence to act out, to rebel, the very seeds of disobedience, were sown by President Trump’s predecessor. Following that unlawful precedent, President Trump, in bringing back law and order, is now portrayed as the problem.

The Book of Revelation confirms:

And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

Revelation 2:27

A rod of iron. Mashiach will rule with a rod of iron.

Not a rod of gold, or a rainbow-coloured, fruity-flavoured rod of sherbet candy.

Recall the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Jesus is the hard taskmaster. Occupy till I come (Luke 19:13).

End of an Age: Civilisation Collapse

Thus, my main thesis is that there must have been a ‘perfect storm’ of calamitous events at that turning point in order to cause the Late Bronze Age civilizations to collapse shortly after 1200 BCE. There is both direct and circumstantial evidence that there was climate change, drought and famine, earthquakes, invasions and internal rebellions, all at that approximate time. Of these, I would rank them in that specific order of importance: climate change; drought and famine; earthquakes; invaders; and internal rebellions. Although human beings have survived such catastrophes time and again when they come individually, such as rebuilding after an earthquake or living through a drought, what if they all occurred at once, or in quick succession?¹

It would be difficult to survive if all, or most, of the above calamities came at the same time or nearly so, as they seem to have done especially between about 1225 BCE and 1175 BCE. And that, I think, is why the Late Bronze Age civilizations came crashing down — they were not able to weather the ‘perfect storm’ of nearly simultaneous catastrophes, with each amplifying and multiplying the effects of the previous ones, piling on misfortune after misfortune until the entire system broke down. And then what we see is a systems’ collapse, as empires and kingdoms that had flourished for centuries all came to an end, followed by the world’s first Dark Age stretching from the Mediterranean to Mesopotamia.¹

Sites destroyed in the Bronze Age collapse around 1200 B.C.E. [Bible History Daily]
To put this into an End-Times perspective, for our present age, such a perfect storm might reflect the successive, cumulative effect of conquest, war, famine, and pestilence, as symbolised by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Revelation 6:1-7).

Then I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures call out, as with a voice of thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there was a white horse! Its rider had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering and to conquer.

When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature call out, “Come!” And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another; and he was given a great sword.

When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature call out, “Come!” I looked, and there was a black horse! Its rider held a pair of scales in his hand, and I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s pay, and three quarts of barley for a day’s pay, but do not damage the olive oil and the wine!”

When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature call out, “Come!” I looked and there was a pale green horse! Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed with him; they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and pestilence, and by the wild animals of the earth.²

Scripture repeats this cataclysmic concatenation—the Lord’s so-called “four deadly acts” of sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence—wherever the Lord threatens to completely wipe out evil communities, as in Ezekiel 14:21, among others.

Was the Bronze Age collapse then (and likewise might an End-days collapse today be) a question of the last man standing?

In the aftermath of the Bronze-Age collapse rose the Philistines of the Bible, a subset of the infamous Sea peoples known to the Egyptians as the Peleset and who settled in Canaan just before the rise of Israel. Beyond the Philistines, the Aramaeans, Phoenicians, and the Israelites benefited most from the Bronze-Age collapse.

As I see it, all of these groups were able to really ‘set up shop,’ as it were, in the regions of Canaan from which the Egyptians and Hittites had both just withdrawn — especially in what is now modern Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. To put it in modern terms, I think that the Israelites, Phoenicians, Aramaeans, and Philistines benefited from the ‘power vacuum’ that was created in this area when the Great Powers were laid low. There was no way that any of them could have established a foothold in this area if the Egyptians, Hittites, and Canaanites had still been as powerful as they were even in the 13th century BCE. The calamitous events at the beginning of the 12th century BCE made all the difference.¹

Is it too much of a stretch, from there, to see Israel emerge from any coming civilisation collapse (consider the parlous state of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, even Sinai Egypt) as the predominant centre of civilisation and from where will emanate a thousand-year rule of righteousness?

Works cited
  1. Wiener, James B. “Interview: The Mysterious Bronze Age Collapse with Eric Cline.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified September 19, 2019. https://www.ancient.eu/article/1446/. Accessed 24 July 2020. (An interview based on Professor Eric H. Cline’s analysis of the Bronze Age collapse in his 2014 book,  1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed. See YouTube video: Eric Cline | 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed by The Oriental Institute).
  2. Revelation 6:1-7 (NRSV)
Reading

Muhly, James D. Sources of Tin and the Beginnings of Bronze Metallurgy. American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 89, No. 2 (Apr., 1985), pp. 275-291. DOI: 10.2307/504330. https://www.jstor.org/stable/504330.

Ling, Johan et al. Moving metals IV: Swords, metal sources and trade networks in Bronze Age Europe. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports Volume 26, August 2019, 101837.

Wiener, Noah. Bronze Age Collapse: Pollen Study Highlights Late Bronze Age Drought. Bible History Daily. Available at https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/news/bronze-age-collapse-pollen-study-highlights-late-bronze-age-drought/. Accessed 24 July 2020.

Death by Default

Here is an excerpt from an article published by New York’s Manhattan Institute, entitled “Death By Policy.”

Many years ago, one of my duties as a young surgical intern was to fill out death certificates for recently deceased patients. Under “cause of death,” Part I asked for the immediate cause, other conditions leading to it, and the underlying cause. Part II asked for “other significant conditions contributing to death but not resulting in the underlying cause given in Part I.” If you think this is confusing, you’re right. Did the post-operative patient found dead in bed really die of a heart attack, a pulmonary embolism, or some operative complication, like bleeding? Where do you list their colon cancer or hypertension?

The task has not gotten any easier during the Covid-19 pandemic. People are still dying of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and accidents. But now there is a new respiratory illness to account for.

Read the short article, by associate clinical professor of surgery at the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York, Joel Zinberg, at City Journal.

https://www.city-journal.org/deadly-cost-of-lockdown-policies

Psalm 83 War

83 Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah. Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison: 10 Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth. 11 Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: 12 Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. 13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. 14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; 15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. 16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Lord. 17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: 18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth. [King James Version (KJV)]