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The Warsaw Summit: NATO’s Blueprint for Aggression

At its summit in Warsaw the NATO alliance reaffirmed its course of aggression and expansion against Russia and the world.

Vladimir Kozin

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The Summit Meeting of the NATO Alliance held in the Polish capital on 8th and 9th July 2016  unfortunately justified the pessimistic forecasts of many analysts.

An analysis of the final documents shows they have been prepared based on an assessment of the current state of the military-political situation in the world, which has been qualified as “more dangerous”.  This has been backed by provocative language and policies and gross distortions of  Russian policy in the international arena.

These actions were founded on the claim of “projecting stability” and “of responding to crises” outside the borders of the states that are members of the Alliance. The areas of “strategic importance” NATO has highlighted are the North Atlantic, the Baltic, the Mediterranean and the Black Seas.

In order to realise these objectives the Alliance confirmed its previous decisions to establish a division sized rapid reaction force (the “NATO Joint Response Force”) and the so-called “Very High Readiness Joint Task Force”, which will be capable of deployment within two to three days.  These forces are to be set up with the participation of seven Member States of the Alliance (the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, Turkey and France). Permanent operational liaison connections between these forces and NATO’s Naval Forces (the “NATO Standing Naval Forces”) in these Seas are to be created, tasked with coordinating naval support for these Joint Rapid Reaction Forces in these areas.

In terms of its military capabilities NATO declared its readiness to strengthen its military power in general and its nuclear power in particular.  The documents repeat the wording of declarations made by previous summits that NATO will remain a nuclear alliance as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world. For the first time the final documents however say that the policy of nuclear deterrence of the Alliance will be based, amongst other things, on US nuclear facilities “forward deployed” in Europe – in other words on US strategic and tactical nuclear weapons based in Europe.

NATO’s nuclear powers (the UK, US and France) are to strengthen their offensive nuclear doctrine by lowering the threshold for using nuclear weapons. They expressed the hope that other states of the Alliance will be involved “in the division of nuclear burden through appropriate arrangements,” which can be interpreted as Washington’s call to expand the range of non-nuclear states who might sign an agreement with the US “on the division of nuclear liability” (nuclear sharing agreements; also known agreements on “joint nuclear missions”). Although NATO recognised that the circumstances that might cause the Alliance to use nuclear weapons remain “very remote” the Alliance still reserves the right to use nuclear weapons at any time.

The final communique repeated the fairly imprecise formula carried over from previous summits that the Alliance is ready to “contribute to creating the conditions” for further reductions of nuclear weapons in the future on a reciprocal basis.  However no guidance is provided as to the sort of nuclear weapons – strategic or tactical – this might involve. Note that the language in the communique only speaks of a willingness “to contribute to creating the conditions” for nuclear disarmament.  No answer is given to the question implicit in this phrase: what is lacking in “the conditions” today that prevents reaching agreements on nuclear disarmament now? This wording in fact confirms that there is no desire to commit “transatlantic solidarity” to the goal of creating a world free of nuclear weapons.

In the final documents NATO has also confirmed the existence of the “Chicago triad” – created at the NATO summit in Chicago in May 2012.  As previously discussed, US nuclear-missile forces of a strategic and tactical nature, as well as anti-missile systems conventional forms of US weapons are being pushed closer to Russia’s territory, posing a direct military threat to Russia, compromising its national security and those of its allies, as well as thoroughly destabilising the global military-political situation.

Missile issues were in fact given an inordinate amount of attention at the Warsaw Summit. The final communiqué devotes fully eight paragraphs to them.

The Summit committed the Alliance to continuing with the deployment of the US and European segment of the global missile defence infrastructure.  The Alliance announced the creation of “initial operational capability” of NATO ’s missile defence system, which means (according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg) that four US Navy warships providing Aegis “combat information control systems” (CICS) are now permanently based at the Roth naval base in Spain, as well as a US missile early warning radar located at Kyurechikom in Turkey (delivered there in May) to provide operational depth to the US land based missile defence system located in Romania which has been “transferred to the command and control of NATO.”

By way of comparison, the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012 merely announced that the level of “pre-missile defence capacity” had been reached as of March 2011 following the permanent deployment of US naval forces equipped with CICS “Aegis” around the European continent.

At the Warsaw Summit it was announced that a number of NATO allies had declared their willingness to participate in the creation of a multinational missile defence system under the leadership of the USA (NATO members Denmark, Spain, Norway and Germany, as well as the non-NATO states Australia Israel, South Korea and Japan). There is to be enhanced coordination and operational cooperation in the management of the US global missile defence system and NATO.  NATO allies are expected to participate in the development of combat missile equipment and intelligence information and early warning systems, to make their territory available for the construction of US missile bases, and to participate in the subsequent deployment of a global “missile shield”.

The stock justification for strengthening this anti-missile capacity used previously – defence against Iranian and North Korean missile threats – has now been dropped and no longer appears in the documents.  Instead development of anti-missile defences is now justified by the need to confront unspecified “missile threats” emanating from zones “outside the Euro-Atlantic space.”

The Warsaw Summit reiterated that the NATO anti-missile system is defensive in nature.  However, as discussed previously, there is no fundamental obstacle to using the missile defence infrastructure being created in Romania and Poland to install offensive cruise missiles designed to carry out disabling strikes on Russian territory and on the territory of other countries.

The Warsaw Summit did issue some tepid declarations concerning NATO’s supposed willingness to discuss missile problems with Russia.  These announcements were however extremely vague, providing no details of any real offer or mandate to engage Russia in serious negotiations.

As part of the strategy for strengthening the means of “forward deployment” in the eastern part of Europe it was decided to send to the Eastern European countries of Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Estonia four battalions from the four countries of the transatlantic alliance (the UK, Canada, USA and Germany).   

Early deployment of naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea under the code-named “Sea Guardian” was also announced.  These will interact with the naval forces of the EU operating under the code-name “Sofia” in the same area.

The Summit also announced a new operational military sphere in cyberspace.

The Summit highlighted the need “to strengthen the nuclear deterrence and defence capability” of the Alliance, including by reversing the tendency for budget spending for military purposes to fall. The meeting recalled that only five of the 28 states that make up the Alliance had reached the 2% of GDP level of military expenditure Alliance membership commits them to.  However it announced that what is already the world’s largest military alliance accounting for more spending on defence than the rest of the world combined was increasing defence spending by 3% (in absolute terms $8 billion). 

In relation to Russia the Warsaw Summit fell back on the stock clichés of the Cold War. The Russian Federation, as stated in the final communiqué, performs “aggressive actions, including provocative activity along the periphery of the territory of NATO member countries” and “manifests a desire to achieve political goals by means of threats and use of force.”

Russia is groundlessly accused of all mortal sins: of increasing the level of instability,  of violating the Russia-NATO Founding Act of 1997, of the “illegal annexation of Crimea” etc.

In relation to Crimea, the Summit reaffirmed that NATO does not recognise this step.  Thus the situation in Crimea is blithely described in the Summit documents from the perspective of people who have never been there, either before Crimea’s reunification in March 2014 with Russia – Crimea’s historical and spiritual home – or after the event.

Moscow is again charged with unproven involvement in the “destabilisation” of the situation in eastern Ukraine, although the situation there has long been destabilised by the Kiev regime’s armed force and by the economic blockade imposed on the area by the Kiev regime acting with the moral and material support of many countries of the NATO Alliance. The Summit documents refer to Russian “aggression against Ukraine”, but again without indicating the place and time when this aggression is supposed to have taken place.

The final communique refers to the importance of implementing the Minsk agreement on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, but does not recognise that it is the Kiev regime, not the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, who are not implementing it. Without any logic or evidence it states that only Russia is responsible for carrying out the terms of the Minsk agreement, but for some reason says nothing about the responsibilities of the current regime in Kiev and of Germany and France as guarantor States of the Minsk agreements.  Nor does it say anything concerning the need to implement fully all of the Minsk agreements’ 13 points.

The Summit rightly identified the need to reduce the number of civilian casualties in Ukraine.   (According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at the beginning of July this year the total number of those killed in the east of Ukraine amounted to 9,470 persons, and the number of those wounded was 21,880).  However nowhere in any of the documents is it anywhere said that these are overwhelmingly the victims of the illegal actions of the armed forces and ultra-right wing militias doing the Kiev regime’s bidding, who have used and are still using heavy weapons against residents of the Donbass in violation of the agreements reached in Minsk last year. According to the UN, as a result of shelling by of the armed forces of Ukraine, in just the month of June this year, 12 civilians were killed and 57 people were injured in the Donbass.

The Warsaw Summit heard a great deal about the large-scale exercises of the Russian Armed Forces on Russia’s own territory.  However NATO has openly admitted that in 2015 it conducted a total of 300 military exercises and manoeuvres, half with a pronounced anti-Russian flavour, which were carried out in close proximity to Russia’s borders.

The documents also condemn Russia’s “aggressive nuclear rhetoric” even though the US has been engaged in such rhetoric for years and also in the sort of practices that go hand in hand with it.  By way of example, the US has never given up its policy of a first use of nuclear weapons and has not removed its tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.  By contrast Russia for a long time did have a no policy of no first use of nuclear weapons and withdrew all its tactical nuclear weapons from the territories of the three European states of the former Soviet Union way back in 1994.

The documents call on Russia to respect the provisions of the inoperative Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, implying a wish to revive it.  However there is no hint anywhere that none of the NATO countries ever ratified this Treaty or showed any interest in doing so whilst Russia was observing it.

In order to lull Russia and cause it to lower its guard, the Warsaw summit declared its readiness to seek a “constructive” political dialogue with Russia.  This was backed by a statement that the Alliance “does not seek confrontation and does not pose a threat to Russia.”  What I would say about that is that I remember all too well the talk at previous Summits of the Alliance seeking “partnership” between Russia and NATO and what all those fine words in the end came to.

In the event at the same time the Summit was making these seemingly positive pronouncements about seeking dialogue with Russia it left unchanged its April 2014 decision to suspend all forms of military and civilian cooperation with Russia. It announced that the next meeting of the Russia-NATO Council would be held at the ambassadorial level in Brussels on July 13 this year. I wonder how the NATO leadership intends to conduct “constructive” dialogue with Russia when it has already pronounced against Russia the guilty verdict I set out above?

The Summit once again reaffirmed the policy of expanding NATO by confirming its previously announced policy of an “open door” to the accession of other states.   To that end the Warsaw Summit invited Sweden and Finland to participate in the discussion of “security challenges” and to participate in joint military exercises.  It also reaffirmed its course of expanding its operational cooperation with the armed forces of Ukraine and Georgia.

NATO’s next summit will take place not in two years, as was the case previously, but next year in 2017 in its new building in Brussels.

What is the sum total of the Warsaw Summit?  It can be summarised as follows:

(1) From the point of view of political, the Alliance has preserved and even enhanced its aggressive military posture which it seeks to project on a global scale over the long term;

(2) In terms of the military, the Alliance has committed itself to building up its military power far beyond the territories of its member states;

(3) From the standpoint of arms control, it offered nothing concrete or constructive;

(4) In terms of unfreezing the NATO-Russia relationship, the Summit resulted in no new initiatives such as could elicit a positive response from Moscow.   The next meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, to be held on 13th July 2016 at ambassadors’ level, will most likely witness another accusatory tirade from the NATO delegation directed at Russia, with shrill condemnations of Russia’s foreign and defence policy;

(5) From the perspective of the global military-political situation, the Summit cemented the dangerous trend towards a qualitatively new phase of the Cold War (“Cold War 2.0”), which was initiated by the US – the Alliance’s leader – in April 2014, and for the outbreak of which the Russian Federation bears no responsibility.

In the prevailing circumstances Russia can do no other than decide the future course of its foreign and defence policy based on these findings, guided at all times by its sacred duty to ensure, consistently and effectively the protection of its own independence and sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Russian state as well as that of its allies and friends; doing so on the basis of the principles of reasonable sufficiency of military means and making best use of asymmetric technical responses to the growing challenges posed by NATO.

The Warsaw Summit showed once again that the aggressive and militaristic North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the major destabilising factor in the world today, as well as the key player in dissipating a huge part of humanity’s material and intellectual resources on a renewed arms race.

One thing the Warsaw Summit has once again made clear.  Current and future generations must be freed once and for all from the block system, which emerged after the Second World War.  Until and unless that happens – with coercive military blocks like NATO being once and for all consigned to past – there can be no secure peace in the world.

The author is Chief Adviser, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, a Professor, of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, a Member of the Scientific Board of the National Institute of Global Security Research, a Member of the Gorchakov’s Foundation Club and a Global Senior Fellow National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Global Think Tank Network (GTTN)  in Islamabad Pakistan.  He is also a Ph.D., Senior Researcher (Academic Rank)

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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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