by Ralph T. Niemeyer
If one really wants to understand the current crisis, a look at the energy transport corridors might be helpful.
This war, that many experts warn is bearing the potential for a third world war, even if it is not fought by nuclear means, yet, is about the world’s largest gas reserves South Pars/North Dome at the bottom of the Persian Gulf and which is claimed fo more than 25 years already by Iran as well as Qatar.
On the Qatar-side a proposed pipeline shall lead through Saudi Arabia, Jordania and Syria to Turkey and to avoind expensive shipping costs thus competing with Russian gas. Western Free World Democracies support the project since 2009 and more actively in the past 4 years. The creation, training and financing of the Anti-Assad “moderate” rebels and the so called Islamic State (“IS”) until today are stemming from those countries and are actively supported by the Erdogan-regime.
Russia tried to obstruct the project and pursued the alternative pipeline from Iran to Syria while also planning to make use of the Tengiz gas field in the Caspian Sea.
Since President Assad of Syria, lobbied by his Moscow-allies, resisted the Qatar-Turkey – project and agreed to sing in July 2011 a ten billion USD – contract with Iran which became effective in July 2012, the Western powers and their Arab vassal states launched the rebellion.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia had begun in autumn 2011 to finance al-Nusra and al Qaida uprisings against Assad. USA, UK, France and Turkey knew about Qatar’s plans and secretely gave the green light.
But, also the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields off the coast of Palestine, Lebanon and Israel play a role in this geo-strategic game. Had the Oslo peace accord signed between Arafat and Rabin ever be implemented the resources within the 200 – sea-mile – zone from the Israeli and Palestinian coast would have to be shared equally between the two states. Lebanon and Syria would also put claims in the newly discovered “Second Persian Gulf”. That’s why these two countries are being destabilised by terrorism.
But, Israel has also other interests in regards to Syria: the so called “moderate” rebels are committed to return the Golan heights to Israel should they manage to topple Assad.
On 19 October 2015 President Putin and Prime Minister Netanyahu signed a memorandum expanding cooperation for Gazprom to explore the Leviathan gas field.
So, the front-lines in the present conflict are somehwat obscure but one thing is clear: as always, all major powers try to get the best out of a conflict and pursue their own interests no matter what awkward alliance they need to form.
Meanwhile, the Russian bombing campaign seems to make progress. Vice foreign minister Anatoli Antonow said on Wednesday (1st December 2015) that in the past two months Russian airforce has destroyed 32 oil producing facilities, 11 refineries and 23 oil pumping stations controlled by IS.
1080 trucks carrying oiltanks were hit diminishing the amount of illegally exported oil by more than half. Most of the oil had been smuggled through Turkey to oil companies partly owned by US, British and French firms. Although this oil was sold at dumping prices to western companies IS managed to derive a net profit of an estimated 4-5 billion €.
The terrorists control about 60% of the Syrian oil production and seven major oil fields in Iraq. Per day, the IS exported 45,000 barrel with the help of Kurdish and Turkish government officials, reported the investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed on Middle East Eye.
An analysis by British scientists
, of who one is the former chief strategist of Royal Dutch Shell and Greenwich University Professor Alec Coutroubis, concludes that the smuggling routes used by the IS end in Adana, South-Eastern Turkey, at the major tanker port Ceyhan. The scientists plotted the oil sales with the activities of the IS and can proof that whenever the terrorists are fighting in regions with high rates of oil production the exports to Ceyhan are peaking, too.
Today 14 nations are competing over the hegemony and ressources in the region raising the question who had asked Germany to participate as well, a claim Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government frequently made while failing to give any proof for such concrete request from the US, UK, France, Russia or anybody else. All that the German war-minister Ursula von der Leyen can present in order to make her case is a request from the French war minister to help out in Mali so that France can withdraw troops there and put these to Syria. But nobody so far asked the German government to participate actively in the war over Syria and also German military experts said on TV that neither the US nor the UK would need German intelligence in form of Tornado – air footage to select targets. The US and UK have sufficient information but do not make as consequent and effective use of it as Russia does.
All this creates reminiscence of the launch of the Afghanistan – War in the aftermath of 9/11 when at that time “social-democratic” German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his war minister Rudolf Scharping (also SPD) as well as “Green” Foreign Minister Joseph Fischer, a former radical pacifist, claimed that the US had called upon the allied’s “unlimited solidarity” (Schröder) and asked them to help in Afghanistan, only to be wronged by US War-minister Donald Rumsfeld who made clear that the US was in the driver’s seat and would not need any passengers.
All pipeline projects at that time were controlled by AMOCO and BP and of course nobody wanted the Germans to put their foot into the door while one was shooting at the lock only to later claim a share in the oil and gas business. The same can be assumed in the current war. Western powers, basically all of the WWII allies who hold Germany occupied since 1945 lacking a peace treaty, and Russia are setting their claims and will in the end distribute the fur of the bear leaving nothing for the Germans, one seems to fear in Berlin. That’s why there was such a rush in passing the mandate through Bundestag, Germany’s parliament seated in the Reichstag building, unseen before.
But, Sahra Wagenknecht, leader of Germany’s largest oppositional party in the Bundestag, said to EU-Chronicle that she had certain doubts that the Federal Government was really as convinced of their deeds as it’s members wanted to make the general public belief. She cited an underlying reluctance to explain the sudden swift in the German government’s stance on participating in the war against IS, but could not specify other than pointing out that Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier visibly had difficulties to bring his new position across in his speech in parliament while Chancellor Angela Merkel had not spoken publically about the topic at all after she had met with French President Francois Hollande in Paris again.
So who is making pressure on the German government to become party in a war that has no legal grounds, neither by international law, nor the UN charta, nor the NATO treaty? And why has Germany followed a rather vague request from France to send it’s Destroyer “Augsburg” from the Meditterannean Sea towards Syria, officially for protecting the French air carrier, there? Have “terrorists” ever attacked a war vessel of that size?
Questions over questions and there are only a few answers, yet. Maybe France wants to make pressure on the UK and US to let them participate in the oil-deals with IS through Turkey.
From Ceyhan the illegal oil is being distributed to Western World buyers, mainly the british-turkish Genel Energy corporation led by former BP – CEO Tony Hayward who has the full support from Westminster
as a report by the British Parliament, the House of Commons, states citing not only vast gas reserves but also huge oil fields in excess of 45 billion barrel to put the region into the same league like Libya and Nigeria.
British politicians are actively involved in the british-kurdish “Genel Energy” oil-smuggle.
The conservative member of the House of Commons, Nadhim Zahawi until recently held shares of Genel Energy but he was not the only one to benefit from the “war for terrorism”.The state-secretary in the US finance department, David S. Cohen, said in a speech held at the “Carnegie Endowment for International Peace”, a ‘think tank’, that “in the past month ISIS had increased the number of intermediaries and traders mostly in Turkey”.In the 12 months bombing campaign by the US airforce the oil production controlled by IS as well as the smuggling routes had not suffered any harm. That has changed since Moscow stepped up to defend the Russian interests in the region.