The Energy War Between U.S.A. , Russia and the European Union

Iakovos Alhadeff

 

The European Union imports most of the oil and natural gas it consumes. Please not that Norway, a rich in terms of energy country, is not a E.U. member state. There is currently a battle between U.S.A. and Russia about who is going to control the energy imports of the European Union, since this does not only involve economic benefits, but also geopolitical ones, because the energy recipient is normally tied to the energy supplier, and the other way round of course.

U.S.A. Europe Russia

Russia is the richest county in the world in natural gas proven reserves, and it already covers approximately 30% of the European Union’s natural gas and oil imports. The U.S.A., after the “revolution” of the shale gas production, are hopping to export shale gas, and that includes the European markets too of course, if facilities of liquefying shale gas are built on the Atlantic Ocean.

 The other energy rich regions in this geopolitical battle, are Norway (the orange circle), which is not controlled by the U.S. or Russia, but which is a NATO member, the Persian Gulf (yellow circle) which is militarily dominated by the U.S., but where China and Russia are trying to step in by connecting Iran and China with pipelines (red line), the Caspian Sea region (green circle), which is militarily dominated by the Russians, but where the Americans managed to export Caspian oil through the NATO friendly Azerbaijan (white line), following the route Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey, Libya, which is the 1st richest country of Africa in oil reserves, and whose leader, the national socialist Gaddafi was overthrown by Islamists who are greatly influenced by Qatar (a U.S. ally), and therefore if they prevail in Libya, Libya will be controlled by NATO, Nigeria, which is the 2nd richest country of Africa in terms of oil reserves, and which is militarily dominated by the U.S. and NATO.

 Russians’ great advantage is that the easiest and more cost efficient way to sell natural gas is through pipelines and not through liquefied natural gas that are transported with ships. That’s the reason the U.S.A. is desperately trying to use Turkey, in order to construct natural gas pipeline networks, that will connect the Caspian Sea with Europe, thus diminishing Russian energy dominance and influence. However they had not managed to do so until now, since neither the Nabucco nor the TAP pipelines have been constructed yet.

 This is a somewhat old representation of the European energy imports.

CSS-Analyses-36_Origin-oil-natural-gas

The following Wikipedia picture shows the countries with the largest military expenditures. I include the list since energy sources and wars go hand in hand.

Military Spending in Absolute Number

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

 

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Why the French Elite Allowed Le Pen’s “Black” Socialists to Rise

Iakovos Alhadeff

 

We always hear Southern European socialists, saying that southern countries must cooperate to achieve a cut a better deal in the EE. What they actually mean, is to threat Northern Europeans in order to print more money. In other words the Southern Europeans will use the “fresh” money to buy products from Northern Europe. That’s what they mean when they ask for European solidarity. 

They already made their first move in the 2014 European elections, by sending in the European Parliament tough socialists, both red and black. They were sending a message to Northern Europeans, who are superior in terms of institutions and economy, but inferior in terms of armaments. 

But what I initially found strange was that while all southern countries “pushed” red socialists, France “pushed” Le Pen’s black socialists. Why there was such a discrepancy? France is a country of the left, ruled for many decades by ex-communists. Why did the French elite allow black socialists to come first, in stark contrast to the rest of the socialist South?

 It turns out that the answer is quite simple. France was a colonial power, and has many black citizens, many of whom were or became Muslims, and most of these citizens are very poor. All the European South faces a problem with a rising Islamist element, but obviously France is under much more pressure. You can see at the following link of Newsweek, that 16% of the French people see the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria favorably (the ISIS army). That’s the reason the French elite allowed black socialists to come first, as a defense against rising French Islamism. 

http://www.newsweek.com/16-french-citizens-support-isis-poll-finds-266795

 You will see at the following link,

 http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/23/france-qatar-fund-idUSL5N0EZ0BS20130623

 that there is tension between the French government and Qatar, about the way Qatar is investing in France. France prefers the Qatari funding to go to small and medium businesses, while the Qataris prefer to invest in poor French suburbs, which are full of poor black Muslims, in order to promote what is called the “silent” Jihad. The “silent” Jihad refers to the support of Islamic fundamentalism through non violent means i.e. by buying political support mainly in parties of the political left.  

You will see at the link above that the French government and the Qataris worked it out. Therefore the French repaid the Qataris by huge anti-Israeli demonstrations during the Gaza crisis in July 2014.

 

 

 

 

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The 3 Levels of Conflicts in Energy Wars

Iakovos Alhadeff

 

Most of the world oil and natural gas reserves are located in the areas in the black circles at the following map i.e. the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea and Russia.

Two Wars

To give an example of magnitudes, the Persian Gulf holds over 50% of the world’s proven oil reserves, while Africa holds approximately only 10% of the world’s proven oil reserves. Moreover, Russia, Qatar and Iran hold more than 50% of the world’s natural gas proven reserves. 

We therefore see that there is the West i.e. U.S.A. and Europe, with their developed economies, and there is the developing East i.e. China and India, which threatens to overcome the developed West. The energy rich zones are located between the West and the East. Most of the revenues of the Persian Gulf and Caspian petrostates, but also most of Russia’s revenues come from energy exports. 

Therefore conflicts arise in 3 levels. The first one is the conflicts between the energy rich countries that compete with each other about who is going to export more to the rich customers i.e. U.S.A., Europe and China. For instance the oil rich Saudi Arabia and the natural gas rich Qatar, compete with Iran, which is rich in both, about who is going to sell more to Europe and China, as I was explaining in my essay “The Energy War Between U.S.A. and Russia”. 

All these countries also compete with Russia which is rich in both oil and natural gas too. Russia actually holds the largest proven natural gas reserves in the world, and has a geographical advantage over its competitors since it is located very close to both Europe and China. There is a lot of tension (wars) between the energy rich countries about who is going to sell more, and through which routes (pipelines and sea lanes), to rich customers i.e.  the Qatar-Turkey pipeline or the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline etc, as I was saying in my other essays. In these conflicts the natural gas pipelines and the sea routes are of strategic importance for the energy rich countries. 

The second source of conflicts exists between the West and the East, about who is going to influence more the energy rich countries, in order to have undisturbed access to energy supplies, about whose oil companies are going to profit from the energy sources, and about who will be in a position to cut off the competitor’s energy supplies in case of a confrontation. This level of conflict is mainly manifested between U.S.A. and China. The energy rich regions are between the West and the East, but closer to the East. 

The third level of conflict arises between the energy rich and the energy thirsty countries, about who is going to have the upper hand. This conflict is mainly manifested between U.S.A. and Russia. All the wars in Europe (Ukraine), Asia (Syria and Iraq) and Africa (Libya) are examples of these simple facts. I must note that Libya is the 9th richest in oil country of the world.

 

 

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Russia-China-Iran versus U.S.A.

Iakovos Alhadeff

China’s agreements with Kazakhstan and Russia, for the construction of pipelines that will supply China with oil and natural gas from these two countries were of great geopolitical importance, for both China and Russia as individual countries, but also as a coaltions against the U.S.A. It is not a secret that the Russian oligarchs, most of them ex KGB agents, have formed an alliance with the Chinese communists against the Americans.

SmashwordsChina Middle East

The Russians to begin with, sell most of their natural gas to the European markets. If the Europeans were to boycott them, they would face severe financial difficulties. With the new contract with the Chinese, the Russians will sell 400 billion dollars of natural gas to the Chinese for the next 30 years and will have a second major buyer. 

The Chinese on the other hand, in contrast to the oil and natural gas rich Russians, have to import most of their oil and natural gas. Energy dependence on the Persian Gulf is a great handicap for the Chinese, since the Gulf is dominated militarily by the Americans (area in the red circle). For Chinese imports see the following picture.

Capture

Source:http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2011/04/13/the-geopolitics-of-china-african-oil.html

Moreover, the Chinese ships that carry energy from the Gulf to China, have to pass though the straits between Malaysia and Indonesia (area with blue circle). However Malaysia has a close military cooperation with the U.S.A. Basically the Americans can cut off the Chinese energy supplies very easily in case of a military confrontation.

With energy flowing from Kazakhstan and Russia, the Chinese ensure that they will not run out of fuels in case of a confrontation. For the tensions between U.S.A. and China regarding the Persian Gulf oil, see the following Wall Street Journal article.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324755104579073283948517714

Moreover China has built with Turkmenistan a natural gas pipeline, following the route Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China (orange line), see Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Asia%E2%80%93China_gas_pipeline

China wants to get hold of Iranian energy, either through an extension of the Iran-Pakistan pipeline (pink line), see Forbes

http://www.forbes.com/sites/chriswright/2014/05/22/400-billion-gas-deal-shows-russia-looking-to-china-to-replace-western-money/

 or through an extension of the Turkmenistan line (green line). That would strengthen both China and Iran. It would greatly increase China’s energy options and secutiry, and it would protect Iran against sanctions from the West. We therefore see that there is a very strong coalition of inferior civilizations against the Americans, mainly consisting of the Chinese Communists, the Iranian Mullahs and ex KGB and current Russian oligarchs. 

We could say that the Americans lost completely the energy battle of the Caspian Sea, since the only thing they managed was to transfer some oil to the Mediterranean through the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey route (the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline). See following map

 Baku Ceyhan Pipeline

We should therefore not assume that the Americans have the power to fight energy rich aborigines for ever. If we take the American military power as given, we might wake up one day to see the Chinese Communists being the number one military power of the world. And that is very scary.

For the Russian Chinese deal see Forbes

http://www.forbes.com/sites/chriswright/2014/05/22/400-billion-gas-deal-shows-russia-looking-to-china-to-replace-western-money/

For the China Kazakhstan deal see Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazakhstan%E2%80%93China_oil_pipeline

For the Turkmenistan China deal see Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Asia%E2%80%93China_gas_pipeline

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How They are Cutting Syria and Iraq into Pieces

At the following map you can see the progress of the Islamic State Army (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and Levant). You can see that ISIS controls the eastern part of Syria and the northwestern part of Iraq.

Isis Control

This could be a situation that pleases all parties to some extent and a truce could be reached. At the situation described by the above map, Assad who is a Russian and Iranian ally, keeps the region next to the Israeli borders and next to the Mediterranean Sea. That means that the Russians keep the naval base they have at the Syrian port of Tartus. Moreover Assad still controls the rich off shore natural gas resources of Syria, which is already agreed to be exploited by the Russians. Keep in mind that Assad is full aware that worst things might happen to him i.e. what happened to Gaddafi in Libya.

The Saudis and the Qataris are happy because if ISIS controls the eastern part of Syria and the western part of Iraq, the Iranians will not be able to send Iranian oil and natural gas at the Mediterranean Sea, through the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline, thus hurting Saudi oil and Qatari natural gas, as I was explaining in my essay “The Energy War Between U.S.A. and Russia”. Please note that the Saudis are rich in oil, the Qataris are rich in natural gas, and the Iranians are rich in both.

 Turkey is happy too, because the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline will not end in Syria i.e. next to Turkey’s Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. The Iranian pipeline would reduce both Turkish revenues and Turkish geopolitical significance.

 The Iranians are a bit happy, since their ally Assad, keeps the region next to Israel. Assad is the main connection of the Iranians at the Israeli border. Moreover the Iranians use Assad to arm the terrorists of Hezbollah in Lebanon, in order to attack Israel. Both Assad and Hezbollah are very important to the Iranians, in case Israel tries to attack its nuclear facilities. Therefore al these connections remain at the Iranians’ disposal.

 Iranians face the main problem, since it would be their own oil and natural gas that would end in the Mediterranean Sea through the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline. However that’s what happens when a country is an enemy of the U.S.A., while its enemies i.e. the Saudis, the Qatarsis and the Turks are very good friends with the U.S.A. The Qataris have allowed the Americans to build big army and airport bases in Qatar, and the U.S.A. is still the strongest military power in the world. And when weapons talk bullshit walks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Page Long Summary of All the Wars in the Middle East

fIsr Turk Gr Syria

I will try to make a summary of my previous posts about the energy wars that we are experiencing in Middle East. The main idea is that there is Iran, which is very rich in both natural gas and oil, and there is Saudi Arabia, which is very rich in oil, and there is Qatar, which is very rich in natural gas, and  there is Turkey, which is very rich in neither.

 Iran wants to construct pipelines that will transfer its natural gas and oil to Syria (or even Lebanon), and from them to Europe. This is the Shiite Muslim pipeline route with the Green line. Saudi Arabia and Qatar want to send their oil and natural gas respectively to Europe, through the red pipeline i.e. the Sunni Muslim pipeline, through Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Turkey wants this pipeline because it wants to be the ultimate energy hub of the Mediterranean Sea, and the Shiite pipeline bypasses it.

 The counties that control Syria and Iraq, can build their pipeline and sell their energy, and at the same time block the competitor pipelines, as you can see on the map. That’s all the fighting about. At the same time, Israel, together with Cyprus, started extracting its natural gas in the Mediterranean, and that could be another source of energy to Europe i.e. the yellow line. 

Erdogan cannot accept that, and it is equally hostile to both Syria’s Assad and Israel, who dared to bypass his country as an energy hub, the first with the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline and the second with the Israel-Cyprus agreement. As you can see at the following map, both the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipelines are very close to the port of Ceyhan, which is the end of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline that brings oil from the Caspean Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and not only generates millions for Turkey, but it dramatically increases its geopolitical importance for the Americans and the Europeans too. You can see the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline on the map below.

Baku Ceyhan Pipeline

 The Israelis are discussing with the Turks the black line (first map), i.e. to send their natural gas through Turkey in order not to bypass them as an energy hub. However in the case of Israel Turkey is not only asking the role of the mediator, but wants a part of the pie since the natural gas of the Mediterranean is in its backyard. That’s basically all.

One thing that is very important, is that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have a motive to stop the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline (green line) that will transfer Iranian natural gas and oil to the Mediterranean Sea, even if they do not construct in the end their own pipeline netowork (red line) in order to send Saudi oil and Qatari natural gas to Europe through Turkey.  

The benefit of stopping the Iranians is immense for these three countries even if they do not build the red pipeline network. Because if the Iranians manage to send oil and natural gas to the Mediterranean Sea, it will be much cheaper for the Europeans to buy them, instead of having to send ships to the Persian Gulf to buy Saudi oil and Qatari gas and bring them back. Therefore with this pipeline the Iranians could finish the Saudi oil and Qatari gas in European markets, or at least reduce them dramatically, while at the same time eliminating or greatly reducing Turkey’s great geopolitical significance as an energy hub, since the pipeline would end next to Turkey’s Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.

 

 You can download a free copy of this essay in pdf, mobi or epub version from Smashwords at 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/470672

 

 

 

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Israel and the Syrian Civil War

You can obtain a free copy of this essay in pdf, mobi or epub version at Smashwords at the following address 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/470116

 

Iakovos Alhadeff

Introduction 

Many people believe that the current civil war in Syria benefits Israel since it weakens a traditional enemy of the Jewish state. That would only be correct only if the Syrian civil war as an independent event, an independent war so to speak. However this is not an independent war, but instead it is only one episode between Sunni and Shiite Muslims that take place in various places in the Middle East.

 The main but not the only reason for this Sunni-Shiite slaughter is the routes that the Persian Gulf natural gas and oil will follow in order to reach Europe and other markets. Even though I discuss this issue on my essay “The Energy War Between U.S.A. and Russia and the Threat for Israel’s Survival”, I will say a few words in order to make this essay autonomous.

 The fight for the Sunni-Shiite Pipeline Networks

 Sunnis and Shiites are different branches of Islam. I do not know the differences, and I do not want to know them. I believe that behind every religious war there is an economic war. Today the war might be for oil while yesterday maybe it was for water or a fertile piece of land. But behind every religious war there ought to be an economic war. People are not that stupid to kill themselves for religion. At the following map you can see the Middle East region.

Best Qatar Map

Source: http://www.internationalteflacademy.com/blog/bid/118036/Teach-English-in-the-World-s-Richest-Country-Qatar

Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are controlled by Shiite Muslims, or at least they were controlled by Shiites before the war with ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and Levant). Shiites constitute the majority of the population in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, and they are a minority in Syria, but Assad, the Syrian dictator, is an Alewite i.e. a branch of Shiite Islam, and therefore Syria is controlled by Shiites too. You can read at the first lines of the following Wikipedia link that Alewites are a branch of Shiite Islam. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alawites 

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Jordan are controlled by Sunni Muslims. Between the Shiite Iran and Sunni Qatar there is the largest natural gas field in the world, namely South Pars. But Sunni and Shiite countries have many other energy sources too, since the Persian Gulf holds most of the global energy resources. As you can see at the following Wikipedia link, the Persian Gulf holds 2/3 of the world’s oil and 35% of the world’s natural gas reserves. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persian_Gulf#Oil_and_gas 

Both the Shiites and the Sunnis want to build their own pipeline networks in order to market their energy. The Shiites want to use the route Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon-Europe, and the Sunnis the route Qatar-Saudi Arabia-Iraq-Syria-Turkey-Europe.

As you can see on the map, these two routes are incompatible, because if the Shiites control Iraq and Syria, the Qatar Turkey pipeline cannot reach Turkey since Syria and Iraq is blocking the pipeline. If on the other hand the Sunnis control Syria and Iraq, the Iran-Lebanon Shiite pipeline cannot reach Lebanon, since the Sunni controlled Iraq, Syria and Turkey will block it.

 You can therefore see that the geopolitics of the region is a bit complicated, and the energy sources of the region are very valuable. The Americans are on the Sunnis’ side and the Russians on the Shiites’ side. The Americans are hoping that if the Sunni natural gas pipeline reaches Europe, Russia’s geopolitical influence in Europe will be decreased. At the moment Russia provides about 30% of Europe’s oil and natural gas. 

The Russians on the other hand are on the Shiites’ side, since the Shiite pipeline will block the Sunni pipeline, and the Shiite pipeline will not be very competitive to Russia’s current networks. After all it will not reach Europe directly but only through the Mediterranean Sea, and it will also end up at Russia’s backyard, because Syria is Russia’s backyard. Russia has a naval base in Syria, at Tartus, and moreover Assad has signed an agreement with Russia in order for Russia to exploit the large Syrian natural gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea. Therefore to examine what is the best outcome for Israel in terms of the Syrian conflict one must examine it in the context of the whole Sunni-Shiite conflict. 

For the Iran-Syria pipeline see the following Wikipedia link. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Iraq-Syria_pipeline 

For the Qatar – Turkey pipeline see the following Wikipedia link. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Iraq-Syria_pipeline

Syria and Israel

Let’s examine first the case of Sunni dominance in Syria and Iraq. As it can be seen on the map, a dominant Sunni block is a very scary picture for Israel.  It involves Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Isn’t that very scary? Please note that Turkey is no longer the Israel ally it used to be. Turkey has taken the role played in the past by the Egyptian President Nasser, which is to be the coordinator of Muslim aggression towards Israel. I say more about the Turkish-Israeli conflict in my essay “The Causes Behind the Conflict Between Turkey and Israel”.

Best Qatar Map

Source: http://www.internationalteflacademy.com/blog/bid/118036/Teach-English-in-the-World-s-Richest-Country-Qatar

Therefore all those who believe that the Syrian civil war is good for Israel should reconsider it. The only benefit of a Sunni Syria, under a regime of the Muslim Brotherhood or a similar organization for Israel, would be that Iran would find it harder to support the Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah, since Assad is normally the intermediary. But is this a significant benefit? Making it a bit harder for Iranians Shiites to supply Hezbollah with ammunition, while taking the risk of seeing Turkey and Syria, two traditional enemies, building a Sunni coalition against Israel? It does not seem to be very tempting. 

What is indeed good for Israel in the Sunni side is the disagreement among Sunni members on the subject of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, which is its subsidiary in Gaza. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates are against the Brotherhood and Hamas, since they believe they pose existential threats to them, while Qatar and Turkey are strongly pro-Brotherhood. That’s the reason Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and United Arab Emirates blamed Hamas for the Gaza crisis of the summer of 2014. Not because they are pro Israel, but because they are anti-Hamas and it would be convenient for them if Israel was to execute Hamas. If this disagreement was bridged things would become much tougher for the Israelis. That’s all I can say for the Sunni block. It does not seem very promising for Israel to say the least. 

If the Shiites were to hold their positions against the Sunnis, it would be harder for a unified block to be formed against Israel. Even though this difficulty was bypassed in the case of Hamas, since Hamas was supported both by Sunni Qatar and Shiite Iran. Therefore even though I do not really know what is better for the Israelis, it seems naïve to assume that a regime change in Syria that would bring the Brotherhood in power would be a good thing for Israel. I do not think that the Israelis would exchange Assad, their old foe, for some extremist Sunnis. What is of vital importance for the Israelis is that Egypt does not fall in the hands of the Brotherhood, and that it continues to oppose them together with the Saudis, in order to be at the opposite side of the Qatar-Turkey camp. 

And one should not be confused by potential Israeli attacks on Assad. Assad is the intermediary between Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon, he is a traditional enemy for Israel, and Israel has every motive to destroy weapons that can be used against it, either from Assad or from a potential new enemy that can follow him.

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