Tension heats up in the middle east once again as the Israel and Egypt get into disputes about natural gas. While this could be a practical, business move on the part of the gas company, who was providing gas at below market value, it could also spell a boiling tension in the region. One of the major concerns about this incident surrounds the lack of official information that was provided about the government for the actions. It was the president of the gas company who made the announcement. While speculations exist as to the legitimacy of the claim, many think it may be the first act in the new government of Egypt taking the aggressive stance against Israel promised during the elections.
There is a probability that this action was just a business reaction to an unfair market value for their product, as originally stated. However, there is also the opinion that this could be in response to a number of Zionist comments made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, or possibly to use as a bargaining chip in a legal dispute that Israel brought against Egypt to the sum of eight billion dollars.
Unfortunately, there is also the possibility that this could lead to continued tension in the region that could erupt into armed conflict. A number of comments have been made by Israeli officials about marshaling troops near the border due to certain events. With actions such as these, any continued aggression or disagreements have the ability to grow into much more.
The greatest problem with this conflict is that both Israel and Egypt are major allies of the United States, and are the top two nations that receive economic and military aid from this country. If conflict erupts, there is a major chance that the United States will lose one of the strongest allies in a very unstable region. There is also the consideration that any action will reduce the American bought strength of these military forces, a strength the United States is banking on for other threats. In an engagement, the Untied States would be forced to remain completely neutral leaving the possibility for other nations to aid Egypt or Israel, reducing the hegemonic influence that the United States has in these countries. This could lead to reduced support or assistance by these nations to America during a time of need. Also, there is a possibility that the aggressive acts will not be limited to the two countries. If fighting ensues, then it is likely that the majority of the Arab world will rally to Egypt's banner. If this happens, the Untied States will be forced into another lengthy war in order to defend Israel. The politicians and many lobbyists will accept nothing less to an Arab offensive. This would increase the American national debt, as well as tax an already high-strung military.