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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Israel and the regional oil axes

01 October 2006 - Today.Az – The United States has always tried, for strategic reasons, to build gas pipelines, excluding Russia's participation, in order to prevent Europe from depending on Russian gas, which currently covers one third of its total needs of gas. Given the presence of key oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea States, the US government has supported a consortium of oil companies (called the BTC Pipeline Company) to build the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the trans-Caspian gas pipeline. The two projects led to a convergence of interests between Iran and Russia, due to their growing concern to see both Azerbaijan and Georgia in close cooperation with NATO. This desire led the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to decide in its meeting in Istanbul on November 1999 to go ahead with building an oil pipeline, linking the Caspian fields with the Mediterranean (Baku-Ceyhan). This was followed by another resolution calling for the establishment of a gas pipeline crossing through Turkmenistan to Baku and then to Turkey. On July 13, 2006, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, 1,760 km long, was inaugurated to transport more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil from oil fields in the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of companies contributing to the financing of the pipeline as well as two Israeli representatives. Israel imports from the pipeline about 20% of its oil needs that is expected to increase from the Caspian Sea region in the future. In addition, Israel is playing a key strategic role in protecting the regions the pipeline passes through to outside Ceyhan. In other words, its role can be summed up in controlling the upper zone, east of the Mediterranean. The Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which is administered by the US-British oil giant, BP Company, has changed the geopolitical situation of the Eastern Mediterranean Zone that is associated with the corridor of the Caspian basin. The pipeline, which carries the oil and gas of Central Asia to the Eastern Mediterranean under the protection of Israel's military, was primarily designed to weaken the role of Russia in Central Asia and isolate China from the oil sources in Central Asia. It also helps transport part of the supply when the processing sources in the Middle East are interrupted. It also aims to isolate Iran, in addition to placing Israel as a new strong player in the global energy market through the new alliance between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Israel. Israel is now part of the British-American military axis that serves the interests of giant Western oil companies operating in the Middle East and Central Asia. Part of the oil transported via this line goes to Israel. Israel aims not only to obtain part of the Caspian Sea oil for the purpose of consumption, but also considers playing a key role in re-exporting the Caspian Sea oil to the Asian markets through its port on the Red Sea. This is reinforced by the coordination and the ongoing negotiations between Turkey and Israel over linking the Ceyhan Port in Turkey with the port of Ashkelon in Israel. This link is to be achieved by creating projects for the transport of oil, natural gas, water and electricity through four undersea pipelines, bypassing Syrian and Lebanese territories. The Baku oil is transported to the port of Ashkelon, India and the Far East through the Red Sea. There is a military cooperation agreement between Tel Aviv and Ankara that supports supplying Israel with water from the Tigris-Euphrates basin in Anatolia. It is a long-term strategic objective of minimizing Syria, Iraq and maximizing the influence of Israel on them. Reports have indicated that secret negotiations are underway between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Russian President Vladimir Putin through Olmert's multi-billionaire friend, Benny Steinmetz, in order to secure natural gas equipment for Israel through a pipeline under the Mediterranean linking Turkey with Israel. The Russian gas will be transported through the Russia-Turkey pipeline, which was established by Russia two years ago, across the Black Sea in order to increase Russian leverage in Turkey. President Putin seeks to gain some influence in Israel in order to counterbalance the unilateral US power over Israel's policy. Energy is no longer a pure national issue in the world today. It is difficult today for a State to contain the difficulties caused by energy alone in a world where policy has become increasingly managed in the form of battles over energy sources that do not rule out the use of force. There are many documents confirming the readiness of the US to use military force in a war, or several wars, for oil. The invasion of Iraq, for example, has turned the Middle East, which has international economic importance, into a US military protectorate. The goal of US policy is to prevent the southern region (the Middle East, India, Iran, Pakistan and countries South of Russia) from submitting to only one player. It also aims to prevent these countries from working together under any form (alliances) to remove the US from its bases located on the southern coasts. The region is described as combining political chaos and rich energy sources and looks forward to regional hegemony. To achieve full US sovereignty over the region, the US is striving by all means to prevent Russia, China, India and Japan from taking control over the South. This is hegemonic behavior: the more the State becomes stronger militarily, economically and politically, the more it expands its geopolitical influence and involvement beyond its immediate neighbors. Napoleon said: "To know a country's geography means to know its foreign policy".

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