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This scandal should be investigated – and it’s not Russiagate

Special Counsel should look into the conduct of the US intelligence community and how it sought to swing the election to Hillary Clinton and away from Donald Trump

Alexander Mercouris

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In my last article on Russiagate I made known my continued doubts that the bureaucracy in Washington would ever agree to the wide-ranging investigation of the events of the US Presidential election which is now pressing.

To be clear, this investigation must go beyond Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s current narrow investigation into the allegations of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

Sixteen months after those claims first began to be investigated no evidence of such collusion has been found outside of the Trump Dossier, which even its compiler Christopher Steele now admits is not completely accurate (he now says it is “70-90% accurate”).

Michael Flynn’s conversations with Russian ambassador Kislyak, Jeff Sessions’s two meetings with Russian ambassador Kislyak, Jared Kushner’s meeting with Russian ambassador Kislyak (which as it turns out was misreported), Donald Trump Junior’s meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Carter Page’s various activities, and the indictments of Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, do not provide evidence of illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.  On the contrary they evidence that no such collusion took place.

I am in full agreement with the independent blogger Caitlin Johnstone  that if any illegal collusion had taken place evidence for it would have been found long ago.

What the evidence points to is – as Jared Kushner has admitted – a chaotic and disorganised Trump campaign, incapable of carrying out any sort of secret or illegal collusion not just with the Russians but with anyone, with unpaid and junior staffers like George Papadopoulos and Carter Page amateurishly attempting – in one case enthusiastically, in the second case calculatedly – to do foreign policy with Russia all by themselves, without receiving guidance or encouragement from the Trump campaign.

Nothing those people who were genuinely close to Trump  – eg. Manafort, Flynn, Kushner, Sessions and Donald Trump Junior – did during the campaign looks to me wrong or improper.

By contrast, whilst there is no evidence of illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and no prospect of anyone finding such evidence, there is now abundant evidence that the US intelligence community, the Justice Department and the FBI were pulling out the stops during the election to help Hillary Clinton.  Consider:

(1) The FBI took it on itself to announce that there would be no prosecution of Hillary Clinton’s misuse of her private email server whilst Secretary of State, despite this being illegal and despite her wilful destruction of thousands of her emails which passed through her server.

This happened following a conversation between Bill Clinton – Hillary Clinton’s husband – and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which former FBI Director James Comey admits was improper.

The decision not to proceed to a prosecution was moreover announced by former FBI Director James Comey in a manner which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the Justice Department admit was also improper.

(2) The FBI did not undertake its own independent forensic investigation of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers following Hillary Clinton’s, the DNC’s and John Podesta’s complaints of Russian hacking of those computers.

Instead it accepted Hillary Clinton’s, the DNC’s and John Podesta’s assertion that the Russians had hacked the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers, even though this assertion is based on nothing more than the opinion of a private expert – Crowdstrike – which was paid to provide its opinion by the DNC.

Having accepted Hillary Clinton’s, the DNC’s and John Podesta’s assertion that the Russians had hacked the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers, the FBI thereafter did none of the things which a proper investigation of the hacking claims would have required..

The FBI did not for example insist on on being given access to the computers or seek a warrant to obtain possession of the computers; nor did the FBI draw any inference from the refusal of the DNC and John Podesta to allow it access to their computers; nor did the FBI interview any of the relevant witnesses, such as the staff of the DNC, Julian Assange, Craig Murray and the staff of Wikileaks.

(3) As Joe Lauria has pointed out, there is now compelling evidence that the original allegations of illegal collusion by the Trump campaign with the Russians originate with the Trump Dossier, which it has now been confirmed was paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

There is now also compelling evidence that it was the ‘information’ in this Dossier which was used to obtain FISA warrants which led to the surveillance of Paul Manafort and Carter Page and possibly of others during the election campaign.

Since the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community refuse to discuss the Trump Dossier publicly, or the extent of their reliance on it, and will not say what evidence was provided to the FISA court to obtain the FISA warrants, it is not known whether the FISA court was told when the FISA warrants were applied for that the information upon which the applications were  based apparently originated in a Dossier paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

(4) Though the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community have presumably known from the outset that the Trump Dossier was paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, Trump was not told this when as President elect he was first shown the Dossier by former FBI Director Comey during the meeting between Trump and the intelligence chiefs on 6th January 2017.

Though the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community have presumably known from the outset that the Trump Dossier was paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, they did not disclose this important fact either to the American people or to Congressional investigators, with this key fact only becoming known in the last few weeks as a result of the enquiries of the Congressional investigators.

Nor do the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community seem to have drawn any inferences from the fact that the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign wanted to keep their role in paying for the Trump Dossier secret.

I would add that if the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community did not in fact know that the Trump Dossier was paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, then that would prove a grossly incompetent and biased investigation.

It ought to be the first order of business when considering ‘evidence’ of the sort purportedly provided by the Trump Dossier to find out who had paid for it.  It would beg a host of questions if this was not done.

(6) The use of FISA warrants to undertake surveillance of persons involved in the Trump campaign during the election to an extent which has still not been fully disclosed was anyway inherently abusive.

FISA is not supposed to be used to carry out surveillance of US citizens.  Rather it is supposed to be used to enable surveillance of the agents of foreign powers.  That is why its full title is Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”).

In this case all the safeguards seem to have been thrown to the winds.  Though it is legally possible to undertake ‘incidental surveillance’ of US citizens caught by surveillance carried out under FISA warrants (so called “warrantless surveillance”) in this case there seems to be little doubt that Manafort and Carter Page were actually specifically targeted.

Former FBI Director Comey moreover admitted to President Trump – and it has been admitted repeatedly since – that Trump himself is not the target of the Russiagate investigation, and it is denied that he was ever a surveillance target.

Given that this is so why was it necessary to place anyone under surveillance at all?  Why did the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community not simply inform Trump during the election that there were serious concerns about the activities of some members of his campaign and invite him to take the necessary action?

Why instead of taking that obvious – and obviously appropriate – step which might have led to the individuals in question being removed from the campaign – was a campaign of secret surveillance undertaken instead?

Was it because the true intention was not to protect the integrity of the election but rather to undertake secret surveillance of the Trump campaign in the hope that this would unearth something which could be used either to prevent Donald Trump being elected or to provide grounds for his impeachment if he was elected?

(7) Just a few weeks before the election the US intelligence community published a fact-free and tortuously worded statement alleging Russian meddling in the election by implication on Donald Trump’s behalf.

Why was that done instead of the step discussed in (6) given that releasing a statement of that kind would clearly have an influence on the outcome of the election and might therefore constitute a violation of the Hatch Act (former FBI Director Comey refused to sign it for precisely that reason)?

(8) After the election members of the US intelligence community leaked to the media classified details of a secretly recorded conversation between Michael Flynn – President elect Trump’s pick for National Security Adviser – and Russian ambassador Kislyak.

As has been admitted, nothing inappropriate was actually said during this conversation.  However the leak of details of this conversation was used to force Michael Flynn to resign.

As was pointed out at the time, and as has been pointed out since, and as has never in fact been denied, the leaking of the classified details of this conversation in a way that identified Michael Flynn was a serious criminal offence under the FISA act.

That fact does not however seem to have weighed on those within the US intelligence community who leaked this information or on their superiors.  To date no-one appears to have been punished or prosecuted for it.

In any properly functioning democracy all of the above ought to be a cause of very serious concern.

It is very bad if during an election members of a campaign illegally conspire with a foreign power in order to win the election.  However – to repeat again – there is no evidence that during the 2016 election that actually took place.

It is however arguably even worse when the intelligence and security agencies of a country interfere in the conduct of an election in order to swing the outcome of the election from one candidate to another.

It becomes a matter of still greater concern if the intelligence and security agencies of that country act in concert with the party of the defeated candidate that they supported to orchestrate a media campaign vilifying the candidate they opposed because despite their efforts he won the election, and conduct a bogus investigation of phoney collusion allegations in order to put pressure on him and to discredit him and in order to conceal their own activities.

In such a situation one must question whether the country where such things are happening is any longer a democracy at all.

This however is the extremely dangerous situation in which the American Republic now finds itself.

The need for someone to look into all of this and to find out what really happened during the 2016 election would appear to be obvious.

I would add that it is by no means impossible that serious criminal offences were committed over the course of the election, which because of the diversion of time and resources into investigating the phoney Trump campaign/Russian collusion allegations are not being investigated.

These could include all or any of the following:

(1) Possible obstruction of justice arising from Hillary Clinton’s destruction of 30,000 emails which passed through her private email server;

(2) Obstruction of justice arising from the DNC’s refusal to allow the FBI access to its computers;

(3) Violations of constitutional provisions in the event that the FISA warrants were improperly used and obtained;

(4) Violations of the Hatch Act, which specifically prohibits any US government official from

[using] his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election

(5) last but by no means least, the straightforward and indisputable crime of the leaking of classified information to force the resignation of Michael Flynn.

The above list of possible crimes is not intended to be exhaustive.  Other crimes may have been committed as well.  I am not in a position to say.  An investigator commissioned to look into this affair might however find more.

Of course if there was collusion between the Democrats and the US intelligence community which led to any one of the above crimes being committed then that would be a very serious matter indeed.  The US would then have a serious constitutional crisis on its hands.  However it is important to say that at the moment there is no evidence of this.

However enough is already known about what went on during the 2016 election to give rise to very serious concerns.  Loud alarm bells ought to be ringing.  It is alarming that they are not or if they are that people seem to be deaf to them.

The problem is that far too many important people are compromised by this affair, making it completely unsurprising that calls for the appointment of another Special Counsel to look into their activities is running into fierce resistance.

Thus in Congressional testimony Attorney General Sessions appeared to push back on suggestions that another Special Counsel should be appointed, whilst a meeting between CIA Director Mike Pompeo and William Binney, the former NSA official behind the recent VIPS report which has cast doubt on the Russian hacking claims, seems to have resulted in nothing.

Nonetheless the proposal for the appointment of another Special Counsel is now out in the open, though in my opinion some of its advocates are not helping matters by asking that the new Special Counsel be instructed to look into the Uranium One case.  Whilst there may be a scandal buried deep inside that tangled case, it has no connection to the 2016 election, which is where the focus of any expanded investigation by Special Counsel should lie.

As I have attempted to show in this article, there is actually a huge amount connected to the 2016 election for a Special Counsel to look into.  If another Special Counsel is ever appointed – and the job calls for a top constitutional law expert such as a Supreme Court Justice, not a former police investigator like Mueller – he or she will have their hands full, and should not be burdened with a sideshow like Uranium One.

I will not pretend that I have any very great hopes that such a Special Counsel will be appointed.  On the contrary the odds are heavily against it.

However anyone who genuinely cares about the future of democracy in the US ought to be demanding it.

Since there are still such people in the US, I for one am not yet willing to give up hope.  Presumably there are still people in America who remember that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

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Theresa May’s soft Brexit plan continues to fail, as EU now pushing for UK to leave (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 138.

Alex Christoforou

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Theresa May’s soft Brexit strategy has been such a monumental failure that even Brussels negotiators are now pushing for the UK to simply leave the union, in what has becoming a British debacle, and a thorn in the Conservative Party’s side.

Many media pundits and analysts are now asking if the latest impasse in Brexit talks means that we are indeed seeing the last days of Theresa May?

While much of the mess the Conservative Party finds themselves in because of Brexit is squarely Theresa May’s fault, much of the damage done by May’s inability to close the deal on Brexit will not go away, even if she does.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s continued failure to obtain her soft Brexit dream, placing herself (and her Conservative Party) in such an embarrassing position, that European Union negotiators, tired of never ending talks, are eager to see Britain go away, in what will be an inevitable hard Brexit.

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“Are these the last days of Theresa May?”, authored by Stephen Bush via The New Statesman:


Are these the last days of Theresa May? This morning’s papers are full of stories of plots and ultimatums to the Prime Minister unless she changes her Brexit strategy, whether from her Scottish MPs over any extension of the transition period due to concerns over fisheries policy, from her Brexiteer MPs over the backstop or from her Cabinet over practically everything.

All this before the Budget next Monday, when Philip Hammond is going to have to find some way to pay for the extra cash for the NHS and Universal Credit all while keeping to May’s pledge that debt will continue to fall as a share of GDP. So added to all May’s Brexit woes, a row over tax rises could be coming down the track.

Of course, the PM’s position has been perilous for a very long time – in fact, when you remember that her period of hegemony ran from July 2016 to June 2017, she’s actually been under threat for more of her premiership than she hasn’t. But just because you roll heads 36 times in a row doesn’t mean your chances of rolling tails aren’t 50/50 on roll 37, and May’s luck could well be running out.

But while May shares a good size of the blame for the mess that the Conservative Party are in, it’s not all her fault by any means and none of those problems will go away if May is replaced or changes tack to win over her internal opponents in the European Research Group.

Ireland has a veto over the end state and only an indefinite and legally binding backstop for the island of Ireland will do if any deal is to be signed off. It’s true to say that no deal also means a hard border on the island of Ireland, but it’s also true that it will always been in the political interests of whoever is in office in Ireland for a hard border to be imposed as a result of no deal rather than for the Irish government to acquiesce in the creation of one through a EU-UK treaty.

The DUP can bring the Conservative government to an early end so they, too, have a de facto veto over any deal that creates barriers between Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. But the only UK-wide solution – for the backstop to encompass the whole of the United Kingdom – is nothing doing with pro-Brexit Conservative MPs who don’t want an indefinite backstop. It’s also politically tricky with many EU member states, who don’t want the default outcome of the talks to be a UK-wide backstop, which many regard as a threat to the sanctity of single market. (The only reason why it is acceptable on the Irish border is because Ireland is still a member state and because the Irish border was both the location and the cause of political violence within living memory.)

Added to that, the Conservative parliamentary party seems to be undergoing a similar psychological journey to the one that Steve van Riel described during the 2015 Labour leadership election: that groups of any kind tend to reach a more extreme position the longer an issue is debated. Brexiteers who spent 20 years saying they wanted a Norway style deal now talk of Norway as a betrayal. Leavers who cheerily talked about making Northern Ireland into its own customs area before Brexit now talk of the backstop as a constitutional betrayal. And Conservative Remainers who only reluctantly backed an In vote to avoid the political upheaval of negotiating Brexit, or the loss of David Cameron, now call for a referendum re-run and privately flirt with the idea of a new party.

Some of that is May’s fault, yes. But none of it is going to go away if she does and all of it makes the prospect of reaching a Brexit deal considerably less likely.

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Saudi Crown Prince Spoke To Khashoggi By Phone Moments Before He Was Killed: Report

The shifting Saudi narrative of the killing has been met with scepticism and condemnation from the international community.

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Via Zerohedge


In the latest bombshell report involving the Khashoggi murder, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly spoke on the phone with journalist Jamal Khashoggi moments before he was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish pro-government daily Yeni Safak disclosed the new alleged details of the case in a report on Sunday, contradicting claims by Saudi authorities that Prince Mohammed played no part in Khashoggi’s murder.

“Khashoggi was detained by the Saudi team inside the consulate building. Then Prince Mohammed contacted Khashoggi by phone and tried to convince him to return to Riyadh,” the report said.

“Khashoggi refused Prince Mohammed’s offer out of fear he would be arrested and killed if he returned. The assassination team then killed Khashoggi after the conversation ended,” it added.

While the report is so far unconfirmed, the New Arab reports that so far Turkish pro-government media have been receiving a steady stream of leaks many of which turned out to be accurate, including pictures of the hit team as they entered Turkey and reports of audio recordings of the murder said to be in the possession of Turkish authorities.

Meanwhile, the Saudi version of events has been changing significantly over the past two weeks with authorities conceded Saturday that Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist and a Riyadh critic, was killed inside the kingdom’s Istanbul diplomatic compound following a “brawl”. The admission came after a fortnight of denials with the insistence that the journalist left the consulate alive, starting on October 5, when Crown Prince MBS told Bloomberg that Khashoggi was not inside the consulate and “we are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises”.

On Saturday, the kingdom announced it had fired five top officials and arrested 18 others in an investigation into the killing – a move that has widely been viewed as an attempt to cover up the crown prince’s role in the murder.

The shifting Saudi narrative of the killing has been met with scepticism and condemnation from the international community, and has left the U.S. and other allies struggling for a response on Sunday. As Bloomberg reports, France demanded more information, Germany put arms sales to Riyadh on hold and the Trump administration stressed the vital importance of the kingdom and its economy to the U.S.

In Sunday radio and TV interviews, Dominic Raab, the U.K. politician in charge of negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union, described the latest Saudi account as not credible; French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called for “the truth’’; and Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said his government would approve no arms sales so long as the investigation was ongoing.

Earlier on Sunday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir acknowledged a cover-up attempt. The dramatic reversal, after Saudi officials had previously said the columnist left the building alive, has only complicated the issue for allies.

Saudi Arabia’s al-Jubeir told Fox News on Sunday that the journalist’s death was an “aberration.”

“There obviously was a tremendous mistake made and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to cover up,” he said, promising that “those responsible will be punished for it.”

More importantly, he said that Prince Mohammed had no knowledge of the events, although if the Turkish report is confirmed, it will be yet another major flaw with the official narrative.

Several senior members of US President Donald Trump’s Republican Party said they believed Prince Mohammed was linked to the killing, and one called for a “collective” Western response if a link is proved. In an interview with The Washington Post, President Trump, too, said the Saudi narrative had been marked by “deception and lies.’’ Yet he also defended Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a “strong person,’’ and said there was no proof of his involvement in Khashoggi’s death. Some members of Congress have questioned his willingness to exonerate the prince.

“Obviously there’s been deception and there’s been lies,” Trump said on the shifting accounts offered by Riyadh.

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to disclose details about the case at a meeting of his AK Party’s parliamentary faction on Tuesday, Haberturk newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, as Western firms and high-ranked officials scramble to avoid any Saudi involvement, Russia is more than happy to step in and fill the power vacuum void left by the US. As a result, Russian businesses are flocking to attend the investment forum in Saudi Arabia, as Western counterparts pull out.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has had considerable success boosting Moscow’s influence in the Middle East at U.S. expense, by standing by regimes that fall afoul of the West, including in Syria and Iran. Last week Putin signed a strategic and partnership agreement with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, backed by $25 billion in loans to build nuclear reactors. Until El-Sisi came to power, Egypt had been closely allied to the U.S.

Meanwhile, all eyes are fixed squarely on the Crown Prince whose position of power is looking increasingly perilous. Congressional leaders on Sunday dismissed the story proffered earlier by the Saudis, with Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bob Corker of Tennessee saying they believed the crown prince was likely involved in Khashoggi’s death.

Lawmakers said they believe the U.S. must impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia or take other action if the crown prince is shown to have been involved. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, said the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. should be formally expelled until a third-party investigation is done. He said the U.S. should call on its allies to do the same.

“Unless the Saudi kingdom understands that civilized countries around the world are going to reject this conduct and make sure that they pay a price for it, they’ll continue doing it,”’ Durbin said.

The obvious question is what happens and how the Saudi royal family will respond if it is pushed too far, and whether the worst case scenario, a sharp cut in oil exports, could be on the table if MBS feels like he has little to lose from escalating the situation beyond a point of no return.

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The Biggest Winners In The Mediterranean Energy War

Energy companies are flocking to the Mediterranean after oil and gas discoveries in the territorial waters of Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt.

The Duran

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Authored by Vanand Meliksetian via Oilprice.com:


Former Vice-President of the United States Dick Cheney once said: “the good lord didn’t see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected states… Occasionally we have to operate in places where, all considered, one would not normally choose to go. But we go where the business is.” Europe is surrounded by states with abundant energy resources, but supply from these countries is not always as reliable. Russia, for example, is regularly accused of using energy as a weapon. However, major discoveries of gas in the Eastern Mediterranean could mitigate dependence on Russian gas.

The discovery of a gas field named Tamar near the coast of Israel in 2009 set off a wave of investments in the energy sector. After 9 years, companies are flocking to the region after other discoveries in the territorial waters of Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt. Ever larger finds in the Mediterranean Sea’s Levant Basin such as the Leviathan gas field in 2010 and Zohr in 2015, have the potential to transform the strategic importance of the region.

Turkey’s energy hub ambitions

Few states in the world are geographically so well positioned as Turkey. The country controls Russia’s only warm water port in the Black Sea and serves as a bridge between east and west. Therefore, during the Cold War Ankara was an indispensable member of NATO. More recently, Turkey has the ambition to become an energy hub for Middle Eastern and Caspian energy. Ankara has had mixed successes in attracting investors and maintaining political stability.

After Israel’s significant discoveries, a U.S. backed initiative presented Turkey as an energy hub. Although a land pipeline is the cheapest option to transport gas from the Mediterranean to Europe, political developments have stalled construction. President Erdogan’s escalating public denunciations of Israel have made Jerusalem look for other options. Furthermore, relations with Europe have also been damaged which would be dependent on Turkey as a transit country.

Egypt as the regional gas hub

Egypt’s has the third largest gas reserves in Africa. Therefore, its export-oriented LNG industry came on-stream in 2004 but was shut mid-2013 due to a lack of resources. The growth of the domestic market demanded ever larger volumes, which went at the expense of exports. Instead, Egypt started importing LNG. However, the discovery of the massive Zohr gas field, the largest in the Eastern Mediterranean, has turned around the situation. Egypt imported its last shipment of LNG in September 2018.

Although relations between Egypt and Israel are far from normal, privately held companies have been able to strike a deal. Starting from the first quarter of 2019, in 10 years 64 bcm worth $10 billion will be delivered. The agreement has stirred controversy in Egypt, which until recently was exporting to Israel. However, with this deal, Cairo comes closer in becoming an energy hub.

The recent signing of another agreement, this time with Nicosia to develop a subsea pipeline from Cyprus’ Aphrodite gas field, has been another important step. Cypriot gas will be pumped 400 miles (645 kilometers) to the south to Egypt’s LNG facilities. Difficult relations with Nicosia’s northern neighbors make a pipeline to the north highly unlikely.

Cairo has been able to act pragmatically concerning its relations with its neighbors such as Israel while taking advantage of the limited amount of options for exporting gas. The obvious winner in this context has been Egypt and its LNG industry. Its chances of becoming the regional energy hub instead of Turkey have significantly increased.

Turkey’s hope for luck

All littoral states of the Eastern Mediterranean struck ‘gold’ in the shape of natural gas except for Turkey. Ankara strongly opposes the exploitation of the gas resources in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus without a sharing agreement with Northern Cyprus’ Turkish inhabitants. The Turkish Navy prevented ships from Italy’s Eni from performing exploratory drilling off the coast of the Republic of Cyprus.

In search of its own luck, Ankara has set up a project to start looking for gas in the EEZ of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognized by Turkey. Kudret Özersay, TRNC deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, proclaimed the desire to turn the TRNC into an energy and electricity hub. However, it seems unlikely that investors will be willing to participate due to political and legal reasons.

The legal situation of the TRNC is an impediment to any major decision involving a longtime commitment worth billions. From an international point of view, the region is de jure part of the Republic of Cyprus, despite holding no control over the region. The TRNC holds no seat in the WTO.

Large investments require solid legal and political support for companies to earn back their investments. The current economic situation of Turkey makes it dependent on foreign money. However, stringent due diligence rules could impede some international banks in lending the necessary funds.

The Eastern Mediterranean Sea basin promises great rewards, but the risks are also high. With Turkey potentially being the only country that doesn’t profit from the gas bonanza, Ankara has acted aggressively to get what it regards as its fair share. However, it faces a united front from the other littoral states of the Eastern Mediterranean. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that Turkey will be able to profit in the same way as Cyprus, Egypt or Israel.

By Vanand Meliksetian for Oilprice.com

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