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Eastern Mediterranean starting to resemble disputed South China Sea

Military activities in the eastern Mediterranean have escalated considerably in 2018, as have tensions.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA - JUNE 28: In this handout provided by the U.S. Navy, an F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Sidewinders of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)on June 28, 2016 in the Mediterranean Sea. Dwight D. Eisenhower is deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations and theater security operation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. (Photo by Anderson W. Branch/U.S. Nav

The eastern Mediterranean Sea has become a very busy place, and pressure abounds among coastal neighbors there. Governments are declaring exclusive economic zones (EEZs), but they overlap. States are granting duplicate licenses for natural gas exploration and drilling. Mammoth energy corporations and coastal states are signing hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of hydrocarbon agreements. Frequent maritime safety broadcasts are informing of endless military exercises.

Israel and Lebanon are on edge over hydrocarbon reserves. Lebanon awarded bids last month to France’s Total SA, Italy’s Eni SpA and Russia’s Novatek to drill for oil and gas in Blocks 4 and 9 within Lebanon’s EEZ. Israel doesn’t recognize these bids and claims that all of Block 9 is within its EEZ.

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