11 years on… UK gets what it was always after; Libya’s oil

29 Nov 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

British oil giants BP and Shell are returning to the oil-rich north African country just over a decade after the UK took part in destabilizing the nation with the 2011 military intervention.

An oil and gas platform off the coast of Libya (Getty Images)

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) agreed last month for BP to begin drilling for and producing natural gas in a major project off the north African country’s coast.

The UK corporation, whose board of directors includes former MI6 chief Sir John Sawers, controls exploration areas in Libya nearly three times the size of Wales.

For a long time, British officials have sought to profit from oil in Libya, which contains 48 billion barrels of reserves – the largest oil resources in Africa, accounting for 3% of the world total.

BP is one of the few international oil and gas companies with exploration and production permits in Libya. Muammar Gaddafi nationalized its assets in Libya shortly after seizing power in a 1969 coup that called into question the entire British position in the country and region.

Following years of tensions between the two countries, Prime Minister Tony Blair met Gaddafi in 2004 and struck the so-called “Deal in the Desert,” which included a $900 million exploration and production agreement between BP and Libya’s NOC.

Read next: UN calls for Libya ceasefire after deadly clashes

BP re-entered the country in 2007, but its operations were halted by the 2011 NATO-backed aggression on the country, resulting in ousting Gaddafi and later killing him.

BP operations resumed after the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2018 between the NOC and Eni, the Italian oil major, to resume exploration, with Eni as the oil field operator. BP CEO Bob Dudley hailed the agreement as an important step “toward returning to our work in Libya.”

The $8 billion BP-ENI project includes two exploration areas, one onshore in the Ghadames basin and one offshore in the Sirte basin, totaling approximately 54,000 km2. The Sirte basin concession alone encompasses an area larger than Belgium.

The UK’s other oil major, Shell, is also “preparing to return as a major player” in Libya, according to its statement in a confidential document. After putting its Libyan operations on hold in 2012, the corporation is now planning to explore new oil and gas fields in several blocks.

Oil bribery

In September of last year, a third British company, Petrofac, which provides engineering services to oil operations, was awarded a $100 million contract to help develop the Erawin oil field in Libya’s deep southwest.

Petrofac was at the time under investigation for bribery by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO). One of its executives, global head of sales David Lufkin, had already pleaded guilty in 2019 to 11 counts of bribery. 

The SFO convicted and fined Petrofac on seven counts of bribery between 2011 and 2017 in the month following the award of the Libya contract.

The company pleaded guilty to using agents to bribe officials to the tune of £32 million in order to win oil contracts in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

“A key feature of the case,” the SFO noted, “was the complex and deliberately opaque methods used by these senior executives to pay agents across borders, disguising payments through sub-contractors, creating fake contracts for fictitious services and, in some cases, passing bribes through more than one agent and one country, to disguise their actions.”

It works with BP in several countries around the world, including Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Oman, and in the North Sea.

Backed by UK government

All three British firms re-entering Libya have close ties to the British government. During some of the years when Petrofac paid bribes, the company was led by Ayman Asfari, who donated nearly £800,000 to the Conservative Party between 2009 and 2017.

David Cameron appointed Asfari, who is now a non-executive director of Petrofac, as one of his business ambassadors in 2014.

In May 2019, when Petrofac was under investigation by the SFO, UKEF provided £700m in project insurance for the design and operation of an oil refinery at Duqm in Oman, a project in which Petrofac was named as the sole UK exporter.

Read next: Libya’s largest oilfield resumes operations after 2 months of shutdown

Petrofac was one of five companies that sponsored the official reopening of the British Embassy in Tripoli in June of this year.

Ambassador Caroline Hurndall told the audience, “I am especially proud that British businesses are collaborating with Libyan companies and having a meaningful impact upon Libya’s economic development. Many of those businesses are represented here tonight.”

BP and Shell are close to Whitehall, with a long history of personnel revolving between the corporation and former senior civil servants.

Control of oil

Despite all that has befallen the north African nation, Libya was the UK’s third largest source of oil last year, after Norway and the US, supplying 7.8% of all British oil imports. Oil provides over 90% of Libya’s revenue, which makes it the country’s lifeline. 

However, the country’s NATO-backed aggression has provoked a battle for control over the oil industry which has been described as being in “disarray”, with “little clarity on who really is in control of the nation’s most valuable resource.”

UK ministers have long sought access to Libya’s oil in the international rivalry over access to the key resource. Documents obtained by the oil-focused NGO Platform in 2009 revealed that Labour ministers and senior civil servants met with Shell at least 11 times and possibly as many as 26 times in less than four years to discuss the company’s oil interests in Libya.

Read next: Libya Announces the End of Division in Oil Sector

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Is Qatar the means for a US comeback in Eurasia?

Energy-rich Qatar’s designation as a major non-NATO ally may upset the Persian Gulf balance, but could be a means for the US to counter a Sino-Russian lockhold on Eurasia.

March 21 2022

Washington’s sudden upgrade of Qatar to a Major Non-NATO Ally is not only about gas, but a means to get a foothold back in Eurasia.Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Agha Hussain

The US’ designation of Qatar as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) carries more geopolitical significance than is immediately evident. It in fact can be viewed as one of Washington’s first steps toward a new strategy for a US riposte against Russia and China at key theaters in Eurasian great-power competition.

On 31 January, US President Joe Biden hosted the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hammad Al-Thani in Washington and declared Qatar an MNNA. Also discussed was gas-rich Qatar’s potential role in alleviating Europe’s reliance on Russian gas for its energy supply – a key leverage point for Moscow to dissuade European NATO members from confronting it over Ukraine.

It should be noted, however, that Qatar itself has cast doubt over any speculation that it could unilaterally replace the continent’s gas needs in case of a shortage.

Indeed, there is no western military response to current Russian operations in Ukraine. Whether US or European Union (EU), the western strategic calculus does not deem Kiev important enough to rescue from Russia.

Nonetheless, Ukraine is still crucial for the US as a means to help counter Russian influence in vast, resource-rich Eurasia. Namely, through connecting China to Europe via the multimodal Kazakhstan-Azerbaijan (via the Caspian Sea)-Georgia-Ukraine (via the Black Sea) route and thus helping China reduce reliance on its currently most-used land route to Europe, i.e. via Russia and Belarus, a close Russian ally.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

This strategy would give the US a rare opportunity to leverage China’s global economic expansion through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which it usually tries to counter with limited success, to reduce Russia’s geo-economic depth in Eurasia.

However, the aforementioned Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR) is more time-consuming, costly, and closer to conflict areas than Russia-Belarus. And Moscow and Tehran have all but blocked the Caspian Sea as a transit route for pipelines. Moreover, to justify the investment needed to improve Ukraine’s transit capacity and to ensure that traders even use the TITR, the EU needs to sanction Moscow and render the Russia-Belarus route untenable.

Thus, the EU hypothetically replacing Russia with Qatar as its gas supplier, and subsequently becoming more willing to confront Moscow, unlocks a major roadmap for the US to counter Russia.

In this scenario, the EU could enhance and leverage China’s own interest in tilting to the TITR from Russia. According to a 2016 study in the European Council of Foreign Affairs, Ukraine’s harmonization with EU trade standards boosted China’s interest in increasing its Ukrainian food imports, which necessitated enhancing Ukraine’s transport infrastructure since these imports cannot travel to China via the Belarus-Russia route due to Moscow’s sanctions on Kyiv. Indeed, China signed agreements with Ukraine last year to develop the latter’s transport infrastructure.


The freezing of Afghan central bank assets are burning US bridges with Afghanistan – where the US fought its longest war (2001-21) in its short history. However, the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2021 provided an opportunity for Russian and Chinese influence to fill the void. Thus, as the US’ great-power rivalries with Russia and China deepen, the case for rebuilding contacts and connections in Afghanistan will strengthen in Washington.

Afghanistan is central to the US’ goal of building new international transport routes for the Central Asian Republics (CARs) that do not transit through Russia, whose territory and infrastructure the CARs disproportionately rely on. This is an official US objective, as represented by the C5+1 platform and Washington’s official ‘Strategy for Central Asia 2019-25’.  Afghanistan is the transit state for this strategy, to connect the CARs to its own neighbor Pakistan and Pakistani Arabian Sea ports for access to global shipment.

For a proper ‘return’ to Afghanistan as a Eurasia-focused great-power, the US appears to have selected Qatar as its conduit. In this vein, Washington shifted its operational command for Afghanistan to Qatar during the withdrawal and designated Doha its official diplomatic representative in Kabul in November 2021.

Moreover, the US picked Qatar from amongst a broad mix of options for military involvement in post-withdrawal Afghanistan. Such options included negotiating with Pakistan to allow US aircraft to transit its airspace into Afghanistan for combat purposes and even Moscow’s offer, made during the withdrawal, for the US to use Russian bases in Central Asia for intel gathering flights over Afghanistan.

Qatar stood out as the best choice from the US’ great-power perspective. Pakistan’s close regional rapport with China and emphasis on cooperation, made it unlikely to facilitate an inroad for the US. Furthermore, Qatar’s retention of its own diplomatic channels to Afghanistan makes it yet more suitable to the US’ great-power sensitivities.

Qatar hosted US-Taliban peace talks since 2013, years before platforms such as the Moscow-led ‘Extended Troika’ or Beijing’s ‘Quadrilateral Coordination Group’ (QCG) were launched. Doha was not party to either platform, or of other multilateral dialogues on Afghanistan.

Hence, the US can integrate Qatar into its bigger-picture for Afghanistan without making the Gulf state feel as if it is sacrificing its positive bilateral relations with Afghanistan’s other external stakeholders.

Aside from Ukraine and Afghanistan, Washington has another potential front against its Eurasian rivals: Qatar’s home turf in the Persian Gulf region, where common ground exists between Doha’s own ambitions and the US’ containment efforts aimed at China in particular.

The Persian Gulf and China

China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are especially important trading partners to each other given the unmatched size of the former’s market for the latters’ energy exports. Beijing also invests heavily in the GCC to turn it into a commercial and logistics hub for the (BRI), the single most consequential driver of Eurasian geoeconomics.

The US views China’s expanding role in the Gulf – whether in the BRI, tech investment or security realms – as a challenge to its own decades-old status as the GCC states’ main security guarantor. How the Sino-GCC embrace pans out is therefore of special interest to Washington.

As noted by Jonathan Fulton, a specialist on Sino-GCC relations, the extent of GCC participation in the BRI is dependent on each Gulf state’s own development plans with BRI. Saudi Arabia and the UAE lead the way in this respect, hosting the bulk of China’s BRI supply chain in the region in the form of industrial parks and ports heavily invested in by Beijing.

In contrast, Chinese-Qatari relations lack this connectivity dimension and are more restricted to just trade.

“In general, Qatar and China maintain a very warm relationship,” noted Gulf affairs analysts Giorgio Cafiero and Anastasia Chisholm in August last year. “The Sino-Qatari partnership is mainly energy-oriented. Beyond the cooperation in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector, however, there is much less to Doha’s relationship with Beijing compared to Saudi Arabia or the UAE’s relations with China.”

China has also signed ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnerships’ with the Saudis and Emiratis in contrast to the lower-level ‘Strategic Partnership’ with Qatar.

Since Chinese investments in Qatar do not springboard the BRI the way those in Saudi Arabia and the UAE do, it makes sense for the US to boost Qatar as a hedge against complete Chinese monopoly over the Gulf’s integration with Eurasia via BRI.

The end of the three-and-a-half year, Saudi-led blockade against Qatar has not necessarily led to a halt in Doha’s rivalry with Abu Dhabi and Riyadh. Rather it has grown more central to its foreign policy as it reclaims its place in the GCC without letting its guard down. This is a reality of Gulf affairs that will likely accompany the GCC’s closer integration with the BRI.

Qatar can offset its GCC rivals’ gains from the BRI by increasing its military engagement with the US. Both the Saudis and Emiratis still rely on the security umbrella that complying with the US’ great-power priorities brings yet have also strengthened ties with China.

This dilemma could also turn Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s increasing defence ties with both China and Russia into driving factors of a partisan pro-Qatari slant in the US’ Gulf policy. After all, Qatar has kept its own defence dealings with China and Russia minimal compared to those with the US.

The UAE recently suspended talks with the US to import the latter’s F-35 fighter jets. One of the reasons for this impasse is Emirati resentment at the US tying the deal to Abu Dhabi’s 5g contract with Chinese telecom giant Huawei, which Washington sees as means for China to compromise the Emirati-imported F35s’ technology. Meanwhile, Qatar’s own talks for the F-35s proceed with less complications and are arguably boosted by its MNNA designation.

China does not want its regional investments getting caught up in the intra-GCC competition for primacy in the Gulf, which could happen if the US greenlights the F-35s for Qatar but not for the UAE, thus setting a precedent for deeper rivalry.

After all, intra-GCC competition has increasingly exhibited zero-sum tendencies. This was seen last year when Saudi Arabia told companies doing business in the kingdom that they would lose their government contracts unless they shifted their regional headquarters to Riyadh from Dubai and then also excluded imports from Emirati economic zones from their preferential tariffs.

Such “zero-sumism” is antithetical to what China wants in the Gulf, which is the harmonization of each Gulf state’s trade and connectivity policies. Beijing needs this to synergize its various Gulf investments into serving a broader, unified global strategy as per the BRI.

Thus, the US could use its ascendant ties with Qatar to cause China a significant headache in the Gulf, especially considering how far Beijing stays from contributing to zero-sum rivalries and standoffs due to its neutrality-oriented foreign policy.

Mutual convenience

However it pans out, the emerging US-Qatari alliance in Eurasia is highly convenient to both sides.

At the very least, the US can try to leverage Qatar’s potential energy role in Europe, its diplomatic role in Afghanistan and its ambitious Gulf policies relative to growing Chinese influence there for its own geopolitical interests.

As for Qatar, the fact that these roles do not threaten its bilateral relations with either China or Russia is a major plus point. Neither of the Eurasian great-powers is zero-sum in its foreign relations outlook and is unlikely to deem Qatar’s prospective participation in the US’ Eurasia strategy a major problem.

Eurasia is once again at the forefront of geopolitics and great power rivalries. Following the US exit from Afghanistan last summer, the incumbent superpower, was perceived to be scaling back if not withdrawing from this strategically important region, however in its relationship with Qatar, the US has shown it may be down but not quite out of Eurasia.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.




Jerusalem 1973

 Ashraf Marwan is a controversial figure within Israel’s intelligence community. Some regard him as Israel’s best ever Arab spy, others see him as an Egyptian spymaster who misled the Israeli military ahead of the 1973 war that was a military  disaster for the Jewish state.  In June 2007, Marwan ‘fell’  from the balcony of his London house. His wife and many commentators accused the Mossad of the assassination.


Marwan was born in 1944 to an influential Egyptian family. At the age of 21 he married  Mona Nasser, president Gamal Abdel Nasser’s second daughter and secured his place in the corridors of power in 1960s Cairo.


Following its humiliating defeat in the 1967 war, Egypt started to prepare its military to take back the Sinai peninsula.  Marwan was privy to Egypt’s best-kept secrets; its war plans, detailed accounts of military exercises, original documentation of Egypt’s arms deals with the Soviet Union and other countries, military tactics, the minutes from meetings of the high command, transcripts of Sadat’s private conversations with world leaders, etc. All of that allowed him to provide Israel with invaluable information about the coming war. 

 The intelligence that Marwan provided to the Mossad made its way to the desks of Israeli political and military leaders and shaped Israel’s so- called post ‘67 strategic ‘concept’ – the belief that Egypt’s Sadat wouldn’t launch a war against Israel unless his minimum requirements were fulfilled. Without long-range attack aircraft and long range Scud missiles, Israel was made to believe, Egypt could not overcome Israeli air superiority and would not launch a war.

 The reports that Marwan provided to Israel contained precious information that, although accurate, systematically contributed to Israel’s misconceptions about Egypt’s aspirations, plans and capabilities.

 In April 1973, Marwan persuaded the Mossad that Egypt planned an attack on Israel in mid-May. As a result, Israel raised its military to red alert, but that May war never happened. In late September, Marwan once again convinced the Mossad of an Egyptian plan for an attack, but this time the Mossad had lost its credibility and until the last minute, the IDF military chiefs treated Marwan’s information with suspicion. They basically ignored him.

 A few hours before it began, Marwan provided the Mossad with a final warning that a war was about to launch. Late on the 5th of October 1973,  Tzvi Zamir, the head of the  Mossad, met Marwan in London and learned that a war would start the following  day at 6pm. The war did indeed start the next day, four hours earlier than predicted. The 1973 war is considered by Israel to be its most humiliating and scandalous military blunder. Israel was totally unprepared. IDF battalions on the frontline were exposed to a full-on Egyptian and Syrian assault. They were wiped out within hours. Some rightly argue that it is only because the Egyptian and Syrian armies had limited plans in terms of territorial gains that Israel survived this war militarily and exists to this day. Most Israeli military commentators agree that it was not the IDF generals who saved the country but the foot soldiers on the ground who fought heroically with their backs to the wall.  


General Eli Zeira, then Director of Israeli military intelligence is regarded as a major contributor to the 1973 military blunder. Zeira claims that it was Marwan’s  earlier misleading information that led to  Israel’s ‘misconception’ of Egypt’s true intentions. Zeira argues that Marwan was a ‘double agent’ or more rightly, a skilful Egyptian spymaster,  who brilliantly managed to deceive  the Israelis into a delusional ‘misconception’ of the conflict. Those who believe that Marwan was assassinated by the Mossad tend to accept General Zeira’s opinion.


Kyiv 2022

 For months and months America, Britain and NATO warned the Ukrainians that Russia was planning a war. The Americans in particular have made it clear that they were privy to information, that although it couldn’t be  shared with the general public, indicated that  Putin was planning an imminent attack.  Naturally, not many people bought into these repeated American warnings: by now American and British intelligence have been involved in too many blunders and spectacular lies (among them phantasmic WMD in Iraq and chemical attacks in Syria)  that no one, including the Ukrainians, has taken these military institutions seriously. It was also evident  that, even more than Ukraine or Russia wanted or needed a military conflict, it was  Washington and London  that  desired one. Ukraine has become an energy hub following the discovery of large reserves of gas and oil within its territory. The West saw it as an alternative to Russia as the major gas supplier to Europe.


As happened with Marwan in 1973, someone ‘helped’ the Pentagon to build a ‘concept’ of an ‘imaginary Russian campaign.’ In American’s  delusional war plan, Putin would capture Ukraine’s Russian speaking regions in the East and might also attempt to seize some ground in the south to create a land  passage  to Crimea. This war would have come to an end within a short time as its military objectives were limited. Ukraine would accept the Russian territorial gains  as it would allow Ukraine to rid itself of its most problematic and contested regions. Russia would be condemned but, in this scenario, when peace prevails, Ukraine would be able to join the EU and maybe even NATO and most important, become Europe’s  prime energy supplier. 


This ‘concept’ of a war may well have been  induced by a Putin / Marwan figure. It misled the Americans and the Brits to build a completely wrong strategic and geopolitical vision. The Ukrainian military was foolish enough to follow the Pentagon’s intelligence scenario and deployed its elite units to the East. Those units prepared themselves for an express war on some disputed but defined territories.  But that wasn’t the war that  happened. Instead what transpired was tragic for Ukraine and its military. Just before the 24 February Russian invasion, it became clear that Russia had extended its military drills to Belarus. Days later, Russia launched its military campaign.  Russia’s main effort was launched from Belarus and it was aimed at the Ukrainian capital Kyiv not the Eastern regions as predicted. In a simple move, the Russian Army basically managed to cut off most of the Ukrainian Army  far from the capital and with no supply routes or logistical support from the West. 


By attacking Ukraine from Belarus, the Russians copied Hitler’s Belgium manoeuvre. In 1940 the French waited for the German Panzers on the vastly fortified Maginot Line. But the Germans bypassed the Maginot Line and went into France through Belgium and headed straight to France’s soft belly and Paris. That left the French military stranded at the Maginot line and exposed from the rear as the enemy was then behind them. It would have helped if American, British and Ukrainian generals had spent some time learning military history or even watching some relevant  Youtube history channel documentaries.


Why did these military leaders badly misjudge Putin’s plans and Russian strategic objectives? As happened with Marwan in 1973, someone or something planted into American, British and Ukrainian decision makers a complete misconception of Russian intentions. This blunder has caused a total disaster for Ukraine, its people, its military and the  integrity of its land.  It was their complete shock at the Russian decision to invade Ukraine  from Belarus  that led the West into panic and rapid escalation in sanctions and language.  For the West the situation is hopeless. Even if NATO would have liked to support the Ukrainian forces; it literally can’t. The European nations who promised to supply military equipment to the Ukrainian army can’t do so as the Ukrainian army is cut off in the East. If you  don’t believe this, ask a simple question.  How was it possible that the 60 km Russian convoy was stopped, standing still like sitting ducks for 10 days without being attacked? The answer is simple. The Ukrainian army is unable to  engage in a concentrated military effort. It is limited in its capacity to  attack Russian logistics and it certainly cannot launch a counter attack. Misconception comes with a price, especially when your leaders engage in relentless  warmongering. Yet, as in Israel 1973, in Ukraine in 2022 it isn’t the generals or the mini oligarch -actor/president who can save the situation. It is the resilient heroic  fighters on the ground. They don’t seem to give up and fight to their last drop of blood.     


Moscow 2022

 The Russian military ‘achieved’ its goals in just two days: it cut out the Ukrainian army and dismantled its ability to defend the country, let alone secure the area around the  capital. The Ukrainian air force lost its control over Ukraine’s skies on the first day. Command centres around the country were destroyed. Despite these losses, despite its clear military superiority, the Russians haven’t won the war, far from it, a decisive victory isn’t on the horizon.


The Russian war planners fell into the same trap as their counterparts in NATO and Ukraine.  They also held a delusional misconception of Ukraine.  The Russians overestimated the support they would find amongst the population and Ukraine’s political class. They grossly underestimated the Ukrainians’ will to defend their land.  They underestimated the Western reaction to their campaign. They grossly underestimated the world animosity towards Russia, its leaders, its Israeli/Russian oligarchs. They couldn’t envisage the present solidarity with the Ukrainians and their resistance. They certainly couldn’t see Zelensky, the actor, morphing into a Che Guevara character: in their eyes and for good reason, he was seen as a comical character and a political puppet. The modernist old fashioned Russian generals didn’t understand that in a world shaped by Tik Tok and Zuckerbergs, all it takes for a male actor who was dancing  in high heeled shoes to become an iconic ‘freedom fighter’ is simply a  matter of makeup and costume.


The Russian were  mistaken on most fronts. But being clumsy, heavy, miscalculated and delusional is not new to Russia, it may even be engraved in the Russian operational mode. Throughout its history Russia was caught sluggish and dysfunctional in battles against enemies who were superior technologically, tactically and spiritually. Remember that at one point the Soviets almost lost their capital to the 3rd Reich. Their allies (USA and Britain)  betrayed them,  but despite that, it was the USSR that  won the big war and chased the defeated German army all the way from Stalingrad to Berlin. The Russians are somehow resilient, or at least used to be.


I Misconceive Therefore I am

 Being trapped in misconception is probably inherent to the human condition. Projecting our own faults on others is often the means by which we bring disasters on ourselves. But in 2022, the Ashraf Marwans do not stop at just manipulating  leaders or generals. In the world we happen to find ourselves in, the incessant  duplicity is designed to enslave  us all.  We are repeatedly trained to be tormented by ‘global disasters’ from ‘Climate’, to ‘Covid’ to ‘Russia’ to Energy, to the Economy and back again. We are kept in a state of constant collective hysteria, united against our (global) ‘public enemy’ at the time. Unsurprisingly, this ‘universal’ panic mode is set to make the rich richer. 

It seems to me as if those who detected  the deep propagandist misconception that that was pushed by Fauci, Bill Gates and Bourla also tend to be suspicious  about the continuum between Biden (the father and the son), Johnson and  Zelensky. 


It is not a matter of Left or Right, it isn’t a matter of education or cognitive ability. It is a clear division between Jerusalem and Athens that is now dividing us and may as well leading us into a global civil war. Jerusalem within that context (as defined by Leo Strauss), is the city of revelation. It sustains itself by maintaining tyranny of correctness, legalism (Torah and Mitzvoth). Athens, on the contrary,  is the birthplace of  (Western) philosophy. It is all about skepticism, the ability to think for yourself. While Chomsky and Dershowitz  tell you what to say – what is right and who is wrong, Kant and Heidegger teach you how to figure out things by yourself. 

 To survive  the Marwans and defeat misconceptions, scepticism isn’t  just a tool, it is an existential necessity. Yet such scepticism is almost impossible to maintain, it entails constant regression and a consistent questioning of your most elementary thoughts and findings.  


Jerusalem is winning, at least at the moment, and for obvious reasons. It is easier to train people to act like sheep and be politically correct than to encourage people to think for themselves and allow for unpredictable results. Accordingly, the survival of the skeptic is a lone war that resembles heroic insurgency, it is a guerrilla battle.      


Maybe it is time to accept that the true meaning of globalisation is the acceptance that  there is no refuge, no safe haven, no escape. Even when you see it all, the lies, the propaganda, the tyranny of correctness, Jerusalem and the decline of the West as we know it, you are still locked together with the rest of humanity in a vessel spiralling down to impact. 

Ten Years Ago: “Operation Libya” and the Battle for Oil: Redrawing the Map of Africa

Part II

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, February 20, 2021

Global Research 9 March 2011

Author’s Note:

The following article was published almost ten years ago on March 9, 2011, at the outset of the US-NATO “humanitarian” military intervention in Libya.  Libya’s crude oil reserves in 2011 were twice those of the United States.

In retrospect. the 2011 US-NATO led war on Libya was a multi-trillion dollar trophy for the United States. It was also, as outlined in my 2011 article a means to establishing US hegemony in North Africa, a region historically dominated by France and to lesser extent by Italy and Spain.

The US-NATO intervention was also intent upon excluding China from the region and edging out China’s National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), which was a major player in Libya. 

Libya is the gateway to the Sahel and Central Africa. More generally, what is at stake is the redrawing of the map of Africa at the expense of France’s historical spheres of influence, namely a process of neo-colonial redivision.

Recent developments confirm this process. In the course of the last decade, starting with president Nicolas Sarkozy, France has become a de facto US proxy State. 

Michel Chossudovsky, February 15, 2021


The geopolitical and economic implications of a US-NATO led military intervention directed against Libya are far-reaching.

Libya is among the World’s largest oil economies with approximately 3.5% of global oil reserves, more than twice those of the US.

“Operation Libya” is part of  the broader military agenda in the Middle East and Central Asia which consists in gaining control and corporate ownership over more than sixty percent of the world’s reserves of oil and natural gas, including oil and gas pipeline routes.

“Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, possess between 66.2 and 75.9 percent of total oil reserves, depending on the source and methodology of the estimate.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, The “Demonization” of Muslims and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, January 4, 2007) .

With 46.5 billion barrels of proven reserves [2011 data], (10 times those of Egypt), Libya is the largest oil economy in the African continent followed by Nigeria and Algeria (Oil and Gas Journal). In contrast, US proven oil reserves are of the order of 20.6 billion barrels (December 2008) according to the Energy Information Administration.  U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves)

The most recent estimates [2011] place Libya’s oil reserves at 60 billion barrels. Its gas reserves at 1,500 billion m3. Its production has been between 1.3 and 1.7 million barrels a day, well below its productive capacity. Its longer term objective is three million b/d and a gas production of 2,600 million cubic feet a day, according to figures of the National Oil Corporation (NOC).

The (alternative) BP Statistical Energy Survey (2008) places Libya’s proven oil reserves at 41.464 billion barrels at the end of 2007 which represents 3.34 % of the world’s proven reserves. (Mbendi  Oil and Gas in Libya – Overview).

Oil is the “Trophy” of US-NATO led Wars

An invasion of Libya under a humanitarian mandate would serve the same corporate interests as the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. The underlying objective is to take possession of Libya’s oil reserves, destabilize the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and eventually privatize the country’s oil industry, namely transfer the control and ownership of Libya’s oil wealth into foreign hands.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) is ranked 25 among the world’s Top 100 Oil Companies. (The Energy Intelligence ranks NOC 25 among the world’s Top 100 companies. – Libyaonline.com)

The planned invasion of Libya, which is already underway [February-March 2011]is part of the broader “Battle for Oil”.  Close to 80 percent of Libya’s oil reserves are located in the Sirte Gulf basin of Eastern Libya. (See map below)

Libya is a Prize Economy. “War is good for business”. Oil is the trophy of US-NATO led wars.

Wall Street, the Anglo-American oil giants, the US-EU weapons producers would be the unspoken beneficiaries of a US-NATO led military campaign directed against Libya.

Libyan oil is a bonanza for the Anglo-American oil giants. While the market value of crude oil is currently well in excess of 100 dollars a barrel, the cost of Libyan oil is extremely low, as low as $1.00 a barrel (according to one estimate). As one oil market expert commented somewhat cryptically:

“At $110 on the world market, the simple math gives Libya a $109 profit margin.” (Libya Oil, Libya Oil One Country’s $109 Profit on $110 Oil, EnergyandCapital.com March 12, 2008)

Foreign Oil Interests in Libya

Foreign oil companies operating prior to the insurrection in Libya include France’s Total, Italy’s ENI, The China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), British Petroleum, the Spanish Oil consortium REPSOL, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, Hess, Conoco Phillips.

Of significance, China plays a central role in the Libyan oil industry. The China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) had a workforce of some 400 employees. The total Chinese workforce in Libya was of the order of 30,000.

Eleven percent (11%) of Libyan oil exports are channelled to China. While there are no figures on the size and importance of CNPC’s production and exploration activities, there are indications that they are sizeable.

More generally, China’s presence in North Africa is considered by Washington to constitute an intrusion. From a geopolitical standpoint, China is an encroachment. The military campaign directed against Libya is intent upon excluding China from North Africa.

Also of importance is the role of Italy. ENI, the Italian oil consortium puts out 244,000 barrels of gas and oil, which represents almost 25 percent of Libya’s total exports. ( Sky News: Foreign oil firms halt Libyan operations, February 23, 2011).

Among US companies in Libya, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) decided barely 6 months ago (October 2010) not to renew their oil and gas exploration licenses in Libya. (Why are Chevron and Oxy leaving Libya?: Voice of Russia, October 6, 2010). In contrast, in November 2010, Germany’s oil company, R.W. DIA E signed a far-reaching agreement with Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) involving exploration and production sharing. AfricaNews – Libya: German oil firm signs prospecting deal – The AfricaNews, 

The financial stakes as well  as “the spoils of war” are extremely high. The military operation is intent upon dismantling Libya’s financial institutions as well as confiscating billions of dollars of Libyan financial assets deposited in Western banks.

It should be emphasised that Libya’s military capabilities, including its air defense system are weak. 

Libya Oil Concessions

Redrawing the Map of Africa

Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa. The objective of US-NATO interference is strategic: it consists in outright theft, in stealing the nation’s oil wealth under the disguise of a humanitarian intervention.

This military operation is intent upon establishing US hegemony in North Africa, a region historically dominated by France and to lesser extent by Italy and Spain.

With regard to Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, Washington’s design is to weaken the political links of these countries to France and push for the installation of new political regimes which have a close rapport with the US. This weakening of France is part of a US imperial design. It is a historical process which goes back to the wars in Indochina.

US-NATO intervention leading to the eventual formation of a US puppet regime is also intent upon excluding China from the region and edging out China’s National Petroleum Corp (CNPC). The Anglo-American oil giants including British Petroleum which signed an exploration contract in 2007 with the Ghadaffi government are among the potential “beneficiaries” of  the proposed US-NATO military operation.

More generally, what is at stake is the redrawing of the map of Africa, a process of neo-colonial redivision, the scrapping of the demarcations of the 1884 Berlin Conference, the conquest of Africa by the United States in alliance with Britain, in a US-NATO led operation.

The colonial redivision of Africa. 1913

Libya: Strategic Saharan Gateway to Central Africa

Libya has borders with several countries which are within France’s sphere of influence, including Algeria, Tunisia, Niger and Chad.

Chad is potentially an oil rich economy. ExxonMobil and Chevron have interests in Southern Chad including a pipeline project. Southern Chad is a gateway into the Darfur region of Sudan, which is also strategic in view of its oil wealth.

China has oil interests in both Chad and Sudan. The China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) signed a farreaching agreement with the Chad government in 2007.

Niger is strategic to the United States in view of its extensive reserves of uranium. At present, France dominates the uranium industry in Niger through the French nuclear conglomerate Areva, formerly known as Cogema. China also has a stake in Niger’s uranium industry.

More generally, the Southern border of Libya is strategic for the United States in its quest to extend its sphere of influence in Francophone Africa, a vast territory extending from North Africa to Central and Western Africa. Historically this region was part of France and Belgium’s colonial empires, the borders of which were established  at the Berlin Conference of 1884.

Image Source www.hobotraveler.com

The US played a passive role at the 1884 Berlin Conference. This new 21st Century redivision of the African continent, predicated on the control over oil, natural gas and strategic minerals (cobalt, uranium, chromium, manganese, platinum and uranium) largely supports dominant Anglo-American corporate interests.

US interference in North Africa redefines the geopolitics of an entire region. It undermines China and overshadows the influence of the European Union.

This new redivision of Africa not only weakens the role of the former colonial powers (including France and Italy) in North Africa. it  is also part of a broader process of displacing and weakening France (and Belgium) over a large part of the African continent.

US puppet regimes have been installed in several African countries which historically were in the sphere of influence of France (and Belgium), including The Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.  Several countries in West Africa (including Côte d’Ivoire) are slated to become US proxy states.

The European Union is heavily dependent on the flow of Libyan oil. 85 percent of its oil is sold to European countries. In the case of a war with Libya, the supply of petroleum to Western Europe could be further disrupted, largely affecting Italy, France and Germany. Thirty percent of Italy’s oil and 10 percent of its gas are imported from Libya. Libyan gas is fed through the Greenstream pipeline in the Mediterranean (See map below).

The implications of these potential disruptions are far-reaching. They also have a direct bearing on the relationship between the US and the European Union.

Greenstream pipeline linking Libya to Italy (right)

Concluding Remarks

The mainstream media through massive disinformation is complicit in justifying a military agenda which, if carried out, would have devastating consequences not only for the Libyan people: the social and economic impacts would be felt Worldwide.

There are at present three distinct war theaters in the broader Middle East Central Asian region: Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq. In the case of an attack on Libya, a  fourth war theater would be opened up in North Africa, with the risk of military escalation.

Public opinion must take cognizance of the hidden agenda behind this alleged humanitarian undertaking, heralded by the heads of state and heads of government of NATO countries as a “Just War”. The Just War theory in both its classical and contemporary versions upholds war as a “humanitarian operation”. It calls for military intervention on ethical and moral grounds against “rogue states” and “Islamic terrorists”. The Just war theory demonizes the Gaddafi regime while providing a humanitarian mandate to US-NATO military intervention.

The heads of state and heads of government of NATO countries are the architects of war and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an utterly twisted logic, they are heralded as the voices of reason, as the representatives of the “international community”.

Realities are turned upside down. A humanitarian intervention is launched by war criminals in high office, who are the unchallenged guardians of the Just War theory.

Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo,… Civilian casualties in Pakistan resulting from US drone attacks on towns and villages ordered by president Obama, are not front page news, nor are the 2 million civilian deaths in Iraq.

There is no such thing as a “Just War”.  The history of US imperialism should be understood. The 2000 Report of the Project of the New American Century entitled “Rebuilding Americas’ Defenses” [pdf file no longer accessible] calls for the implementation of a long war, a war of conquest.

One of the main components of this military agenda is: to “Fight and decisively win in multiple, simultaneous theater wars”.

“Operation Libya” is part of that process. It is another theater in the Pentagon’s logic of “simultaneous theater wars”.

The PNAC document faithfully reflects the evolution of US military doctrine since 2001. The US plans to be involved simultaneously in several war theaters in different regions of the World.

While heralding the need to protect America (i.e. “National Security”), the PNAC report does spell out why these multiple theater wars are required.

What purpose do they serve. Are they an instrument of peace? The usual humanitarian justification is not even mentioned.

What is the purpose of America’s military roadmap?

Libya is targeted because it is one among several remaining countries outside America’s sphere of influence, which fail to conform to US demands. Libya is a country which has been selected as part of a military “road map” which consists of “multiple simultaneous theater wars”.  In the words of former NATO Commander Chief General Wesley Clark:

 “in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan…. (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).

Part I

Insurrection and Military Intervention: The US NATO Attempted Coup d’Etat in Libya?

Turkey Making Ties With Israel



Author: Vladimir Odintsov

In recent years, one can more and more often find articles in various media about Turkey’s apparent desire to develop and strengthen its diverse ties with Israel. New Eastern Outlook has also repeatedly addressed the issue of assessing the current state of relations between the two countries, dealing with one issue in particular: Turkey and Israel: Enemies or Allies?

Relations between the two countries have developed in waves over the past decades, most notably sparking a crisis in 2010 after the Israelis shot and killed 10 Turkish activists who were trying to reach the shore on the Mavi Marmara in besieged Gaza in support of the Palestinians. Ultimately, in May 2018, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador and recalled its own because of Israeli attacks on Gaza and the United States’ decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At the same time, it is no secret that economic ties have been maintained, and among the construction companies engaged in building Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory since the 1990s, there are also Turkish companies, such as the Yılmazlar Construction Group, which renewed its relationship with Israel in 2002.

As for Israel, it sees Turkey as a country with important financial flows for it and as one of the centers of world trade, a key and strategically important place for its domination in the Middle East. This explains Tel Aviv’s moves to agree to secret contacts with Turkey, one of which was the recent communication between the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Service, Hakan Fidan, and Israeli officials as part of Turkey’s efforts to normalize relations. These latest contacts, according to sources, have involved, among other things, restoring ties between Turkey and Israel back to the envoy level.

As The Jerusalem Post notes in this regard, Turkey expects not only to show its friendly attitude towards Israel and the Jews, but also to get dividends in the eyes of Joe Biden’s administration. At the same time, the publication stresses that “this is a model that has been used before… However, it is still unclear whether Israel will pander to Turkey and ignore its support for Hamas.”

The other day there was another offer from Ankara to reconcile with Israel and end the lingering bilateral conflict. Cihat Yaycı, a retired admiral and political science professor who is close to Erdoğan, has published an article in the December issue of Turkeyscope, a monthly magazine of the Moshe Dayan Center of Tel Aviv University, proposing a solution to the maritime economic border between Israel and Turkey. He sees this, in particular, at the expense of reducing the interests of Cyprus, with which Ankara’s relations have recently seriously deteriorated against the background of Turkish expansion in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is true that in the comments to this article, the editor-in-chief of Turkeyscope, Dr. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak, PhD in Oriental Studies, noted: “In order to raise the level of Israel’s relations with Turkey, in order to achieve a real normalization, it is necessary to restore mutual trust, for which, above all, it is necessary to return the envoys and consuls.”

The essence of the Turkish proposals is to establish a sea economic zone border between Turkey and Israel at the expense of Cyprus and, by redrawing the sea economic zones, to transfer a number of Cypriot blocks to Israel. In announcing these proposals, Ankara is trying to play on the fact that the border zones between Israel and Cyprus are still disputed, despite all the signed agreements. And since economic waters are concerned, where on the Cypriot side there is the Aphrodite gas field with 100 billion cubic meters of gas worth $9 billion, the new demarcation of the sea border is presented by Ankara as a very expensive gift to Tel Aviv, but only on one condition: Israel will only have business with Turkey and absolutely nothing with Cyprus, whose opinion does not interest Erdoğan in the slightest. At the same time, Ankara makes no secret of the fact that it, too, has “claims” to Cyprus, thus suggesting that Israel should conduct an “exchange of interests” by signing an agreement.

Admiral Cihat Yaycı also advises Israel not to build the expensive EastMed gas pipeline to Greece through Cyprus, but to connect to the Turkish pipeline for gas supplies to Europe, which is more practical and cheaper, clearly referring to the “Southern Gas Corridor” from Azerbaijan, which passes through Turkey.

It is worth noting that Turkey had already signed earlier a very similar agreement, only at the expense of Greece, with the Libyan government in Tripoli, which angered not only Athens, but also Brussels, Cairo and Tel Aviv. Moreover, it was the former Turkish admiral Cihat Yaycı, who suggested the idea of this agreement with Libya.

As the Israeli media commented on Yaycı’s proposal, this is the second time in the last four months that Ankara has used the energy sector in an attempt to negotiate a truce with Israel. The clearly targeted rapprochement on Turkey’s part is evidenced not only by the increasing frequency of contacts between representatives of the secret services of the two states, but also by the fact that Erdoğan himself has stopped his openly insulting attacks against Israel in recent months.

Regarding Israel’s proposed sea border agreement with Turkey, Israeli observers have already called it a “Turkish gambit,” in which Erdoğan intends to sacrifice another piece instead of a pawn… That piece being Cyprus, with which Israel has not yet agreed on a sea border.

Ankara’s proposed agreement on the mutually beneficial delimitation of the sea economic zone has so far been received rather negatively in Israeli expert circles. In particular, there is a clear warning that, if agreed on, it could pit Israel not only against Cyprus and Greece, but also against its new peace partner, the United Arab Emirates, whose formal ruler, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Zayed, recently signed a defense treaty with Greece. At the same time, it is not ruled out that tensions between the UAE and Erdoğan with his partners in Qatar could also lead to a serious conflict between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.

Under these conditions, experts believe that Israel certainly will not accept Ankara’s proposed agreement and betrayal of its ally Cyprus, which, in turn, casts doubt on the “Turkish gambit’s” success. As for Turkey, Tel Aviv insists that it must first change its public attitude towards Israel, stop delegitimizing it in the eyes of the Turkish population, and end its relations with Hamas. In doing so, Israel shows that if Erdoğan follows through, the Jewish state will find ways to restore the formal, mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries that it had in the past.

Vladimir Odintsov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

لماذا يستهدف الأميركيّون الرئيس بري؟

د. وفيق إبراهيم

العقوبات الأميركية على الوزيرين السابقين علي حسن خليل ويوسف فنيانوس بذرائع لا يقبضها أحدٌ تكشف ان هناك استهدافاً مركزاً يصوّب باتجاه رئيس المجلس النيابي نبيه بري لأسباب وطنية متفرقة، مغطياً هذا الرشق «الأولي» بإصابة تيار آل فرنجية المعروف بتحالفه مع سورية وحزب الله.

لماذا نبيه برّي؟

الوزير خليل جزء من تركيبته السياسية بما يعني أن توقيع عقوبات أميركية بحقه، هي رسالة مكشوفة للرئيس بري بقامته الوطنية التاريخية.

بداية هذه العقوبات هي أميركية صرفة ولا علاقة لها بالقانون الدولي، لكن النفوذ الأميركي العالمي يفرض على الكثير من الدول في العالم الالتزام بها.

اما التصويب على بري في هذه المرحلة بالذات فهي محاولة لتقزيم دوره الوطني التاريخي، لان المعروف عن رئيس المجلس قدرته على نصب تحالفات فاعلة وتحييد قوى هي في المقلب الآخر وتهدئة الشارع.

حتى انه يشكل الضامن الأكبر المدافع عن النظام السياسي وضرورات استمراره في هذه المرحلة بالذات لتجاوز أكبر «قطوع» كارثي يجتازه لبنان الكبير منذ تأسيسه في 1920 وانطلاق دولته في 1948.

بهذا الاتهام المنتقى أميركياً بعناية المحترفين، يحاول الأميركيون الإمساك بدولة ضعيفة منصاعة تطبق ما تطلبه منها الادارات الأميركية بصمت الخانع.

لذلك تبدو هذه العقوبات وكأنها رسالة لبري حتى يخفف من حدة دوره السياسي – الوطني لمصلحة المشروع الأميركي الذي يراهن على حكومة جديدة تضم أكبر قدر ممكن من حلفائهم في الداخل اللبناني من بين الجمعيات المشبوهة و»أبطال» ثورة مفبركة يتعاملون مع السفارات الغربية.

هنا لا بدّ من تأكيد أن المشروع الأميركي في لبنان بدأ يتشكل على قاعدة رفض الزيارة التي قام بها رئيس حركة حماس هنية الى لبنان مؤخراً، والدليل ان القوى المتأمركة في لبنان هاجمت الزيارة إعلامياً، وقالت علناً ان لبنان ليس في حالة حرب مع «اسرائيل» وذلك تمهيداً للإصرار على إقامة علاقة دبلوماسية معها.

هذا الانحراف السياسي لا يمكن ان ينمو سياسياً في ظل وجود قامة وطنية فاعلة بحجم تاريخية بري الذي يلتزم منذ سبعينيات القرن الماضي بالتحالف مع سورية وإيران والفلسطينيين حتى ان دوره النيابي الاستيعابي لم يقبل مرة واحدة بالتنازل عن هذه الثوابت مغطياً سياسياً الدور الإقليمي لحزب الله.

يتبين ان التصويب الأميركي غير القانوني على بري له أسباب وطنية تظهر بوضوح في ابتعاد العقوبات الأميركية عن فاسدين حقيقيين يمسكون بلبنان السياسي والاقتصادي منذ ثلاثين عاماً ومعظمهم من حلفاء الأميركيين والخليجيين.

الأمر الذي يؤكد على أنها رسالة لكل الطبقة السياسية اللبنانية، بأن لا كبير عندها في لبنان، بما يجعلها تتلقى تعليماتها من السفيرة الأميركية في بيروت.

هناك اذاً محاولة لكسر آخر زعامة وطنية من رئاسات النظام الأساسية وحماته، يعمل الأميركيون على تقليص وزنها، خصوصاً لجهة أثرها في التحالف مع حزب الله، هذا الأثر الذي ينشر تفاهماته على مناطق بكاملها في الجنوب والبقاع والضاحية وبيروت ومناطق أخرى.

إلا أن موضوع ترسيم الحدود اللبنانية البحرية والبرية لا يغيب عن ذهن الأميركيين في عقوباتهم الأخيرة.

فحرص بري على ترسيم يحفظ الحقوق اللبنانية في الغاز والأرض لا يطيقه الأميركيون.

والطريف أن وزارة الخارجية الأميركية أعلنت قبل وقت قليل من إعلان عقوبات بلادها، ان ترسيم الحدود بين الكيان المحتل ولبنان يتقدّم بإيجابية كبيرة.

فمن يصدّق أن هناك تقدماً في هذا المجال، يقابله الأميركيون بعقوبات على الطرف الرئيسي المتابع لهذا الترسيم وهو الرئيس بري وفريق عمله بما يؤكد ان العقوبات في جزء منها هي رسالة لتمرير وجهة النظر الأميركية في هذا الترسيم من دون أي ممانعة من بري الحريص بالطبع على مصالح بلاده.

يتضح اذاً أن العقوبات ثلاثية المرامي، وتبدأ من محاولة الانتقاص من الوزن السياسي الكبير والتاريخي للرئيس بري وإثارة اهتزاز في علاقته بحزب الله، ومحاولة السطو على الغاز اللبناني بالترسيم جنوباً وتمرير عقود لشركات أميركية او أخرى موالية في المناطق الأخرى.

لجهة الوزير فنيانوس فالعقوبات عليه هي الرسالة الاولى لكل حلفاء حزب الله بأن دورهم في العقوبات مقبل إذا واصلوا بناء تحالفات مع فريق بري حزب الله على مستوى لبنان.

فإذا كان الأميركيون ارادوا ايضاً اثارة رعب فريق فرنجية والأرمن والسنة المستقلين، فإنهم يرغبون ايضاً بإرهاب التيار الوطني الحر وطموحات جبران باسيل وحتى بعض المعتدلين في تيار المستقبل بأن مقصلة العقوبات لن ترحمهم.

هناك إذاً مشروع أميركي للعودة الى الإمساك بلبنان بجحيم العقوبات والحصار الاقتصادي، وذلك بالمباشرة باستهداف أقوى ركن دستوري لبناني يجمع بين المهارة في السياسة وشعبيته وتحالفه مع حزب الله وسورية وإيران.

الامر الذي يوضح أنها عقوبات متدرجة تهدد كل القوى السياسية من دون التغاضي عن هويتها الأميركية التي تحتم على الدولة اللبنانية رفضها رسمياً والإعلان عن عدم الاستعداد لقبولها وتطبيق مفاعيلها حرصاً على آخر ما تبقى من كرامة وسيادة لهذا البلد المنتهك.

توسّع أردوغان في شرق المتوسّط مسمار نعش النهاية..

سماهر الخطيب

وجّهت الولايات المتحدة بالأمس دعوة إلى الحليف الناتوي تركيا لسحب قواتها من شرق المتوسط.

وجاءت الدعوة على لسان وزير الخارجية الأميركية مايك بومبيو عشية زيارته إلى قبرص بهدف التوصل إلى حل سلميّ يُنهي التوتر في المنطقة.

وبحسب بومبيو فإن «زيارته لقبرص تأتي استكمالاً لاتصالات أجراها الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب مع نظيره التركي رجب طيب أردوغان ورئيس الوزراء اليوناني»، مشدداً على «ضرورة حل النزاع بطريقة دبلوماسية وسلمية». كما أشار إلى «دور ألمانيا في السعي إلى خفض التوتر».

فيما أكدت الدول الأوروبية السبع المطلة على المتوسط في ختام قمتها بشأن الأوضاع في شرق المتوسط استعدادها لـ»فرض عقوبات على تركيا ما لم تتراجع عما وصفته بتحركاتها الأحادية الجانب في المنطقة».

كما أكدت الدول الأوروبية السبع “دعمها الكامل وتضامنها مع قبرص واليونان في وجه التعديات المتكررة على سيادتهما وحقوقهما السيادية والأعمال التصعيدية من جانب تركيا”، وفق ما جاء في البيان.

وندّد الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون أول أمس، بـ”لعبة الهيمنة لقوى تاريخية” في البحر الأبيض المتوسط وليبيا وسورية، مسمياً تركيا. وقال ماكرون إن «دول المتوسط السبع تريد حواراً بنية حسنة مع تركيا التي تقود سياسة توسعية في البحر الأبيض المتوسط».

وفي المشهد التركي يبدو أنّ أردوغان ماضٍ إلى نهاية حقبته «الأردوغانية»، بعد أن أصبحت نزعته «السلطانية» المتحكمة والمسيطرة على أفعاله وأقواله. وهو يعلم جليّاً بأنّ تلك النزعة التوسعية فاقدة أي شرعية أو مشروعية وخالية من أي سند قانوني يدعمها أو حق تاريخي يؤصّلها، ليس في مياه البحر الأبيض المتوسط، فحسب، إنما في معظم الأراضي السورية التي سلخها أجداده عن أمها السورية بلا حق وها هو اليوم يفتح عليه أبواب مواجهات قاسية وقاصمة، قد تصل إلى حد الحرب.

ومنذ أن وقعت تركيا اتفاقية ترسيم الحدود مع الوفاق الليبية ولم تكل ولم تهدأ بتوجيه تهديداتها لجيرانها في منطقة شرق البحر الأبيض المتوسط، وبخاصة قبرص واليونان، وذلك من خلال إعلانها الخاص بتوسيع نطاق عملياتها لاستكشاف حقول الغاز في المنطقة المتنازع عليها شرقي المتوسط، وتأكيدها على مواصلة سفينة التنقيب التركية “ياووز” أعمالها، خلال الفترة الممتدة من 18 آب، وحتى نهاية أيلول الحالي.

وصرّح أردوغان مراراً أن بلاده ستستأنف عمليات التنقيب وستبحث عن مصادر الطاقة قبالة جزر يونانية، متوعّداً بعدم التراجع عن توغل بلاده في شرق المتوسط، زاعماً أن لبلاده «الحق تماماً» في المنطقة المتنازع عليها مع اليونان.. وإذا ما فتحنا دفتر الحساب حول الحق المزعوم فسنجد أنّ هذه «الحقوق العثمانية» ما هي إلا الأوهام مجرّدة من المصداقية بنت إمبراطوريتها السابقة على المجازر التي ارتكبتها كالمجازر الأرمنية والسريانية واقتطعت الأراضي بلا أدنى حق متذرعة بقوة السيف من جهة وباتفاق مع حلفاء الحربين العالميتين الأولى والثانية من جهة أخرى..

إنما هروب أردوغان من الجهة الغربية نحو جهة المتوسطية سيكون مسماراً في نعش النهاية الحتمية لجنون الحقبة «الأردوغانية» التي عاشتها بلاده ودفعت وستدفع أكلافها عالية وغالية..

إذ أضحى أردوغان عدواً مشتركاً للغرب وللشرق بتصرّفاته الرعناء ولم تقتصر تلك العداوة على الخارج بل ظهرت وتغلغلت داخل بلاده وبين مواطنيه..

ودخل في دوامة الخلافات مع محيطه الشرقي والغربي وبات العمق الاستراتيجي أضغاث أحلام ولم يعد يساوي الحبر الذي كتب فيه أحمد داوود أوغلو كتابه موجهاً دعواته لحزبه السابق حزب العدالة والتنمية بالتوجه نحو الشرق والداخل المشرقي وباتت رؤية “صفر مشاكل” صفراً على شمال طموحات أردوغان الرعناء.. فأصبح الإقليم برمته ضدّه، فبينما تلوّح أوروبا بورقة العقوبات، تحرّك فرنسا قطعها الحربية إلى المتوسط، وواشنطن تفتر علاقتها به وتطلب منه بصريح العبارة سحب قواته من المتوسط وتدين “الجامعة العربية” تصرفاته وتطالبه بسحب قواته من سورية وليبيا وغيرها من البلاد التي عاث فيها فساداً ليبدو وكأنّ الجميع اتفق عليه ويتجه نحو تشكيل حلف جديد في رحم المنطقة لملاقاته، والذي يبدو في الزمن القريب قدراً مقدوراً..

في المحصلة تبدو نهاية «الأردوغانيّة» أمراً محتوماً وحقيقة مؤكدة، وفي التاريخ الكثير من أمثولات أطماع أردوغان وأوهامه التي تسببت بانهيار إمبراطوريات كبيرة واندثرت حضارات عظيمة، إذا ما افترضنا أنّ تركيا «حضارة» وإن كانت، فإنما حضارة مسروقة مبنية على مجازر..

وفي العودة إلى التاريخ، فإن كثيراً من الإمبراطوريات انهارت وفسدت واضمحلت من داخلها، بسبب تصرفات حكامها وما محاولة أردوغان لبناء دولة خلافة تركية من جديد، إلا أوهام مضادة لحركة التاريخ وتزييف لتطور البشرية..

وإذا ما استمرّ في تجاوزاته لكل الخطوط الحمر فإن نهايته حتماً ستأتي على يد تحالف دولي إقليمي، قد يتحول إلى حلف عسكري في القريب العاجل، للقضاء على أوهام السلطان الذي لم يعد له صاحب أو صديق..

Russia – Nord Stream 2 vs. Poisoning of Alexei Navalny

By Peter Koenig

Global Research, September 07, 2020

Wednesday, 2 September – all German TV channels – mainstream media were focused unilaterally on the alleged Novichok poisoning of Russian opposition critique, Alexei Navalny. This “breaking-news” poison discovery was made in Germany two weeks after he has been flown from Tomsk in Siberia to Moscow, when he fell ill on the plane and the airliner had to return to Tomsk for an emergency landing.

Navalny was hospitalized in Tomsk, put in an artificial coma and closely observed. His family wanted him immediately to be flown out of Russia to Berlin, Germany, to get western attention and western treatment. So, the story goes. At first the medical staff at Tomsk hospital said that Navalny’s health was not stable enough for a transport of this kind. A few days later they gave the green light for flying him to Germany. Berlin sent a hospital plane – at German taxpayer’s cost – to fly the “poisoned” political patient to Berlin, where during the last 14 days he has been in an artificial coma in Berlin’s University Hospital “Charité”. At least that’s what the government reports.

After 11 days, finally “scientists” – supposedly military toxicologists, have discovered that Navalny was poisoned with military grade nerve gas Novichok.

Military grade! – It reminds vividly of the other bizarre Novichok case – Sergei and Yulia Skripal, father and daughter, who were found on March 12, 2018 on a park bench in Salisbury, Britain, unconscious. The location was about 12 km down the road from the British top-secret P-4 security military lab Porton Down in Wiltshire, one of the few labs in the world that still are capable to produce Novichok. The immediate reaction of Britain and the world was then, like today: Putin did it! Sergei Skripal was a Russian double agent, who was released from Russia more than a decade earlier and lived peacefully in England.

What interest would Mr. Putin have to poison him? However, the UK and Big Brother Washington had all the interest in the world to invent yet another reason to bash and slander Russia and President Putin. The same as today with Alexei Navalny.

Isn’t it strange that the Skripals as well as Navalny survived? And that after having been poisoned with what military experts claim to be the deadliest nerve agent ever? Although nobody has seen the Skripals after they were hospitalized 2 years ago, it seems they are still alive. Were they perhaps given US-British shelter under the guise of the so-called US-witness protection program – a full new identity, hiding in plain view?

The immediate question was then and is today, why would Mr. Putin poison his adversaries? That would be the most unwise thing to do. Everybody knows much too well that Mr. Putin is the world’s foremost perceptive, incisive and diplomatic statesman. Alexei Navalny wasn’t even a serious contender. His popularity was less than 5%. Compare this with Mr. Putin’s close to 80% approval rating by the Russian population. Navalny is known as a rightwing activist and troublemaker. Anybody who suggests such an absurdity, that the Kremlin would poison Navalny, is outright crazy.

If there would have been a plot to get rid of Navalny – why would he be poisoned with the deadliest nerve gas there is – and, as he survives, being allowed to be flown out to the west- literally into the belly of the beast? That would be even more nonsensical.

Yet the mainstream media keep hammering it down without mercy, without even allowing for the slightest doubt – down into the brains of the suspected brainwashed Germans and world populations. But the German population is the least brainwashed of all Europe. In fact, Germans are the most awaken of the globe’s wester populace. It clearly shows when they resist their government’s (and the 193 nations governments’ around the world) covid tyranny with a peaceful Berlin protest of 1 August of 1.3 million people in the streets and a similar one on 29 August.

Nevertheless, Madame Merkel’s reaction was so ferocious on September 2 on TV and with the media, as well as talking to leaders from around the world on how to react to this latest Russian atrocity and how to punish and sanction President Putin, that even conservative politicians and some mainstream journalist started wondering – what’s going on?Navalny Poisoning – The Real Target Is Russian-German Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

It’s a debateless accusation of Russia. There is no shred of evidence and there are no alternatives being considered. The simplest and most immediate question one ought to ask in such circumstances is “cui bono” – who benefits? – But no. The answer to this question would clearly show that President Putin and Russia do not benefit from this alleged poisoning at all. So, who does?

The evolving situation is so absurd that not a single word coming out of the German Government can be believed. It all sounds like a flagrant lie; like an evil act of smearing Russia without a reason, and that exactly at the time when Europe, led by Germany was about to improve relations with Russia. The gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 is a vivid testimony for closer relations between Germany, and by association Europe – with Russia – or is it?

One of Joseph Goebbels (Hitler’s propaganda Minister) famous sayings was, when a lie is repeated enough it becomes the truth.

Peculiarly enough, and without any transit-thought, the German rightwing, the CDU-party in particular, came immediately forward with recommending – no, demanding – an immediate halt of the Nord Stream 2 project – canceling the contract with Russia. The “biggest punishment” for Putin. “It will hurt Russia deep in their already miserable down-trodden economy”, were some comments. Those were angry anti-Russian voices. Another lie. The Russian economy is doing well, very well, as compared to most western economies, despite covid.

What do Russian health and toxicology authorities say, especially those who treated Mr. Navalny in the hospital of Tomsk?

RT reports, according to Alexander Sabaev, the chief toxicologist who cared for him in Siberia, if Alexey Navalny’s condition were caused by a substance from the ‘Novichok’ group, the people accompanying him should also be suffering from the fallout. Instead, Dr. Sabaev believes that Navalny’s condition was caused by an “internal trigger mechanism.” Novichok is an organophosphorus compound, and, due to its high toxicity, it is not possible to poison just one person. He explained, “As a rule, other accompanying people will also be affected.”

Doctors in the Tomsk Emergency Hospital, where activist Navalny lay in a coma for almost two days, found no traces of toxic substances in his kidneys, liver, or lungs, Alexander Sabaev, leading the investigation, concluded that Navalny was not poisoned.

So – why was Dr. Alexander Sabaev not interviewed on German TV – or by the western mainstream media?

Neither were members of other German parties interviewed, for example Die Linke (the Left), or the SPD – the Social Democratic Party. None. None of the medical doctors or “scientists” who were treating Alexei Navalny at Charité, and who allegedly discovered the deadly poison (but not deadly enough) in Navalny’s body, were interviewed.

Nor was the former Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder (Ms. Merkel’s predecessor, 1998-2005) interviewed about his opinion. Schroeder, a member of the SPD, is one of the master minds of Nord Stream 2 and is currently the chairman of the board of Nord Stream AG and of Rosneft. Would he think that Mr. Putin was as foolish as to kill this German-Russia unifying project by poisoning a right-wing activist, a non-adversary?

Of course not.

Therefore, who benefits?

The United States has for years been objecting vividly and voraciously against this pipeline. Trump: “Why should we pay for NATO to defend Germany, when Germany buys gas from Russia and makes herself dependent on Russia?” – He added, “We offer Germany and Europe all the gas and energy they need.” Yes, the US is offering “fracking gas” at much higher cost than the Russian gas. There are countries in Europe whose Constitution would not allow buying fracking gas, due to the environmentally damaging fracking process.

Is it possible that this was another one of those brilliant acts of the CIA or other US intelligence agencies? – Or a combination of CIA and the German Bundesnachrichtendienst (German Federal Intelligence Service) – or an EU-NATO trick? By now it’s no longer a secret that NATO runs Brussels, or at least calls the shots on issues of US interests concerning the European Union or its member states.

Is it possible that Angela Merkel was chosen by the deep-deep state to combat President Putin and Russia? This time by bashing and smearing them with lies – lies as gross as poisoning an opposition activist? To kill the pipeline? What will it be next time?

Today, the first time, official Germany through Mr. Heiko Maas, Foreign Minister, has questioned and threatened the Nord Stream 2 German-Russian joint venture – “if Moscow does not collaborate.” Mr. Haas knows very well, there is nothing to collaborate, as Russia was not involved. It is the same argument, if Moscow does not collaborate (in the case of the Skripals) that was used by Theresa May, then British PM, to punish Russia with further sanctions.

Indeed, all is possible in today’s world, where the Washington empire is faltering by the day and the Powers that Be are desperate that their international fraud base – the US-dollar – may be disappearing. Because, not only are Nord Stream 1 and 2 delivering Russian gas to Germany and Europe, but the gas is traded in euros and rubles and not in US-dollars.

Think about it. Killing (or – so far – poisoning) a Russian opposition leader to demolish the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 project? – This is certainly a crime within the realm and “competence” of the US Government and its western allies.


Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on New Eastern Outlook.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; New Eastern Outlook (NEO); RT; Countercurrents, Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; Greanville Post; Defend Democracy Press; The Saker Blog, the and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Featured image is from Land Destroyer ReportThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Peter Koenig, Global Research, 2020

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Turkey Makes New Greece Threat ahead of Military Drill


 September 5, 2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday issued a threat to Greece over simmering tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, the day before his forces launch military drills in the region.

Turkey and Greece, both Nato members, have been embroiled in an increasingly heated spat over gas and oil in the region since Turkey deployed an exploration vessel last month.

“As Turkey and the Turkish people, we are ready for every possibility and every consequence,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in Istanbul.

Turkish defense officials said they would start five days of military exercises on Sunday in the breakaway republic of northern Cyprus — an entity recognized only by Ankara.

Nato said this week Greek and Turkish leaders had agreed to take part in technical talks to avoid accidents between their navies.

But Greece later said it had not agreed to the talks, leading to accusations from Turkey that the EU country was shunning dialogue.

Greece and Cyprus have accused Turkey of breaching their sovereignty by drilling in their waters.

But Erdogan made it clear that he would not compromise, saying: “Turkey is ready for any kind of sharing (of energy resources) as long as it is fair.”

Turkey on August 10 deployed the Oruc Reis research vessel and an escorting flotilla of warships to the waters between Cyprus and the Greek islands of Kastellorizo and Crete.

The vessel’s stay in the contested waters has been extended three times.

Greece responded by staging naval exercises with several EU allies and the United Arab Emirates, not far from smaller ones Turkey conducted between Cyprus and Crete last week.


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Another warm summer in East Med

August 15, 2020

Another warm summer in East Med

by Kakaouskia for the Saker Blog

Greetings to the Saker community and readers.

Summers tend to be warm in East Mediterranean and not just due to weather. This one is no exception with Greece and Turkey apparently determined to make a stand for what each perceives to be its waters and Exclusive Economic Zone.

Before I delve into the existing situation, I feel that some background information is required: about every 12-15 years or so tensions flare up between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean / East Med. Apart from the historical grievances certain parts of the population feel are important to correct, the main reason is the natural resources apparently present.

There was the war of 1974, between Cyprus and Turkey were Greek and Turkish army units actively fought each other.

Then there was the crisis of 1987 were Turkey declared that their research vessel Hora was to conduct research for hydrocarbons in the Aegean. The Greek government of the time deployed the fleet with orders to sink the Hora and in a major political coup made an agreement with Bulgaria (Warsaw pact still existed then) to provide military assistance in the event of a war with Turkey.

After that there was the Imia incident in 1996; again, fleets were deployed, special ops teams from each country took over some rocks and it almost blew into a war. You can see the pattern.

This time the theatre of operations is in the East Med, the area south east of Crete and Kastellorizo. For the first time not only are there confirmed gas and oil deposits, the political and economic landscape allows for the utilisation of said deposits. Thus, the focus of all countries in the region is there.

At first Turkey focused on Cyprus as it was the first country to ascertain claim of an EEZ and license drilling rights to French and Italian companies. Turkey hired a Norwegian crew to conduct hydrocarbon surveys in Cyprus’s EEZ; after Cyprus issued international arrest warrants for illegal activities the Norwegians withdrew, and Turkey changed strategy by deploying its own vessels with Turkish crews and always under naval escort.

Sidebar: Cyprus being a small country with an economy that cannot sustain a serious air force or navy recently announced that it has come into a defence agreement with France. The diplomatic language was deliberately vague; however, rumours have it that France will have a quasi-permanent naval presence in Cyprus. Moreover, according to the Cyprus ministry of Defence Cyprus ordered Exocet Blk3 anti-ship missiles and Mistral manpads from France in a deal worth €240M. The Exocet Blk3 has a range of ~200Km and a land attack capability, a first for Cyprus.

Then this year Turkey reached an agreement with the Libyan “government” that marked the EEZ zones of each country. The biggest problem with this agreement is that it not only encroaches into the Egyptian EEZ, it also completely ignores the presence of Greek islands and runs over them:

(image taken from https://www.internationalworldgroup.it/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/libya-turkey-eez.jpg)

Greece countered by making a similar agreement with Egypt that partially marks the EEZ of each country (the blue line on the unofficial map) and which is pending ratification from the respective parliaments. The area east of the 28E line has been left deliberately out of the negotiations as it requires an agreement between Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Egypt.

(image taken from https://thepressproject.gr/app/uploads/2020/08/aoz-hellas-egypt.jpg)

The proposed East Med pipeline is expected to pass from that are as well:

(image taken from https://mediadc.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/e52cf5e/2147483647/strip/true/crop/1265×875+0+0/resize/1265×875!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fmediadc.brightspotcdn.com%2F62%2Fb1%2Fde0f172244da817f79e083c1ed3c%2Fwell.v24-05.2018-10-08.Psaropoulos_Map.TWS.jpg)

Turkey reacted to the agreement by deploying the survey vessel Oruç Reis with an escort of 4 (out of the 6 active) Burak class light corvettes (former French D’Estienne d’Orves-class avisos) and F-247 TCG Kemalreis, a Meko 200 TN track II frigate. This force is of moderate strength; while Kemalreis is a relatively modern ship, the corvettes are more of a token force.

(image taken from https://www.ptisidiastima.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/orus-reis-and-escort.jpeg)

Oruç Reis escorted by Turkish navy. Note that this formation is for the photo shoot; it is impossible to conduct hydrocarbon surveys like this.

Greece deployed part of its fleet to monitor the situation and cancelled the leave of military personnel. This resulted in a collision incident between F-451 Limnos (S class frigate) and F-247 TCG Kemalreis. Both countries claim their vessel damaged the other and both released images / videos to show that their respective ship remains operational.

Video supposedly showing Kemalreis after the collision with Limnos:

(image taken from https://www.ptisidiastima.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/FRGR138-2.png)

Limnos after the collision with Kemalreis. The lack of any “unofficial” videos of the collision so far is notable and says something about the information controls in place on both sides. In any case the truth, or at least solid indicators as to what really transpired will be revealed once both ships return to port.

The story of Greece has more credibility though as the image is guaranteed to have been taken after the event and in the present of witnesses; the day after the collision Greece and France conducted a joint naval exercise involving the following ships:

F-453 Spetsai (Meko 200 HN frigate)

F-451 Limnos (S class frigate)

F-460 Aigaion (S class frigate)

F-462 Kountouriotis (S class frigate)

FS La Fayette (La Fayette class frigate)

FS Tonnerre (Mistral class amphibious assault helicopter carrier)

Two French Rafale planes also participated in the drills and they used the facilities of 115 Combat Wing, Souda Bay.

Video of the Greek – French flotilla during the drills: https://youtu.be/gdojh9hWDoA

Based on the available open-source information, it is evident that Greece deployed a more substantial naval force to counter the Turkish threat. From a military point of view Turkey has the tactical advantage as the theatre of operations is closer to its shores and it can deploy additional forces faster if need be. Moreover, Greece cannot afford to risk the safety of the myriad of populated islands some of which are located closer to Turkey (one can say swimming distance).

Map roughly depicting the area of operations and distance from Attalya in Turkey and Souda Bay in Greece.

Greece is at a disadvantage as it is forced to react to Turkey’s movements. An EEZ is not equal to the territorial waters of a country; ships, even military ones, have the right of unopposed transit provided they do not engage in military / economic activities. Greece has no legal right to block the movements of the Turkish flotilla; it will have such a right if Oruç Reis starts conducting a survey. Even then, the acceptable process is to ask the ship to stop such activity and if it does not comply then board and arrest the captain. Oruç Reis is still a civilian vessel and one does not fire on unarmed civilian vessels.

Turkey on the other hand aims to demonstrate that Greece, claim or no claim over those waters cannot protect them effectively thus discouraging big oil from signing exploration / drilling contracts with Greece. A similar tactic was used against the French navy outside Libya during EU operation Irini. A French vessel tried to inspect a freighter suspected of carrying arms in violation of the embargo, only to be prevented by a passing (read escort) Turkish navy vessel that responded to the freighter’s captain request for help. In that case a few days after France complained and Turkey ignored them, unknown aircraft attacked the Libyan air base Turkey was using.

Militarily Greece and Turkey are practically equal. Turkey has an advantage in the form of air refuelling aircraft which allow its fighters to operate for longer periods of time in theatre and carry more weapons. Additionally the Turkish frigate force has 8 modernised Oliver Hazard Perry (OHP) class frigates which provide air cover to the fleet utilising Standard SM1-MR missiles. While the missiles themselves are considered obsolete and have been withdrawn from USN service, the Greek navy does not have such capability and relies on the protection of the Greek air force.

Greece on the other hand has the advantage given by the Mirage 2000 and Mirage 2000-5Mk2 aircraft bought from France. Unlike the US which has denied weapon sales to Greece in the past in order “not to shift the balance of power” France has provided Greece with ~100 Scalp EG cruise missiles for use by the M2000-5 aircraft giving the Greek air force sub-strategic strike capabilities as the export version has a range of 560Km. This is one of the reasons Turkey decided to purchase the S400 SAM complexes. Greece also invested heavily on the Exocet anti-ship missile in all its forms (air, ship and surface launched variants). The older M2000 aircraft of Greece can carry 2 such missiles each making them effective ship hunters over the Aegean. The surface launchers are mobile and can be placed on any island creating access denial areas.

Greek Mirage armed with Scalp cruise missile, courtesy of Hellenic Air Force:

Both countries have a similarly sized submarine fleet; Turkey with 12 subs (German Type 209 variants) and Greece with 11 (German Type 209 and Type 214 variants). Greece has a quality advantage here for the time being as 5 out of the 11 subs are equipped with air-independent propulsion systems and 4 of those being of the newer Type 214.

Sidebar: It is safe to assume that both countries have deployed at least part of their submarine force; the location and actions of said force will be very well hidden unlike surface combatants.

Notably Turkey did not deploy any of its OHP frigates in the East Med area; most likely they act as submarine hunters in the Aegean and as a missile shield for important installations / formations. As the operational status of the S400 complexes is not known, Turkey has no other long-range SAM option; the MIM-23 Hawk system is practically obsolete as recent events in Libya showed.

The militaries of both countries are plagued by problems. Turkey is facing financial difficulties; the officer corps suffered a blow from the purges after the failed coup against Erdogan that as word has it has not yet recovered from; the active involvement in Syria and Libya is occupying resources that cannot be used in the Aegean. The chart below compares the Turkish Lira with USD over the past 5 years. The seriousness of the problem is evident:

(chart from https://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=USD&to=TRY&view=5Y)

Turkey has poured a considerable sum of money into its defence industry, sometimes to the detriment of other areas of the economy. These investments have yielded products that however remain largely used only by Turkey thus any claims for their effectiveness remain to be proven.

For Greece, the years of being under IMF and EU monetary supervision have had their toll. Effectively Greece allocates €500 million per year for armaments; an amount that is inadequate. Recently negotiations between France and Greece for the purchase of Belhara class frigates have broken down due to cost. Moreover, in recent years the purchase and modernization choices for the Greek armed forces have been bizarre to put it mildly. It is said that major equipment is suffering from availability issues due to lack of spare parts and that even the newest Type 214 subs still operate with incredibly old torpedoes that partially negate the advantages of the platform. Also after a series of corruption scandals involving past ministers of defence that concluded in jail terms, the Greek parliament enacted an anti-corruption law aimed at defence procurement that makes it virtually impossible to sign any such contract, even a simple contract for spare parts from the sole manufacturer on the planet.

For now, the game of cat and mouse in East Med continues. Oruç Reis is practically bait Turkey is using to lure Greece into opening fire first. Greece is keeping its distance monitoring for any movement against an island. Neither country really wants to start a war, or at least to be viewed as being the one which started it. Whatever the case militaries cannot be constantly deployed; attrition, both material and of personnel is a fact of life and at some point, something will give.

ماذا يريد ماكرون فعلياً؟

د.وفيق إبراهيم

فرنسا الحالية السياسية والاقتصادية ليست في وضع يسمح لها بإطلاق مبادرة ضخمة لإنقاذ الدولة اللبنانية، ولم تعُد تمتلك النفوذ الدولي ما يؤهلها لإعادة صناعة “لبنان الدولة مرة ثانية”. فهذا يتطلّب مركزاً بين الدول العالمية الأساسية على غرار الولايات المتحدة الأميركية والصين وروسيا، اي بلدان تجمع بين النفوذ الدولي وقوة الاقتصاد والمناعة العالمية، وهذا ما تفتقده فرنسا حالياً.

بما يكشف على الفور ان زيارة الرئيس الفرنسي ماكرون الى لبنان الغريق في فرنكوفونيته تذهب الى واحد من احتمالين: اما إنها تحاول الاحتفاظ بدور على قياسها في السياسة اللبنانية عن طريق بعض المساعدات المقدور عليها وتتيح لها المشاركة في مرحلة ما بعد الحرب في سورية وتمتين وضعها في الصراع على البحر الأبيض المتوسط. اما انها الآلية المقبولة من لبنان لتمرير مشروع غربي لا يريد للبنان أن يذهب بعيداً في بحثه عن بديل للغرب وخصوصاً في الصين وروسيا وإيران.

فأي الاحتمالين هو الأقوى؟

بالتدقيق في مقارباته لضرورة بناء آلية سياسية جديدة في لبنان وتطرقه الى حكومة وحدة وطنية وتأكيده على استمرار الدعم الاقتصادي المباشر من مؤتمر سيدر والصندوق والبنك الدوليين والدول الغربية.

هذا اذاً عرض يربط بين السياسة والاقتصاد انما بعض تقديم مساعدات فرنسية كبيرة تعيد تذكير اللبنانيين بفرنكوفونيتهم القديمة.

بذلك يتضح ان المشروع فرنسي ظاهرياً وأميركي – أوروبي في اهدافه ويرمي الى منع لبنان، خصوصاً بعد تفجير مرفئه الأساسي في بيروت من الإقدام على التعاون مع الصين وروسيا والعراق وايران.

فهناك اهميات للبنان تبدأ حالياً في انه يشكل جزءاً من مياه البحر المتوسط وسواحله، بما يحتويه من كميات معروفة من الغاز وأخرى غير معروفة يقول الخبراء انها تشكل أكبر تجمع غاز معروف في العالم.

هذا بالإضافة الى حساسية آبار الغاز اللبنانية عند حدوده مع فلسطين المحتلة بما يمكن أن تشكله من دفع لحروب في الاقليم قد تؤدي الى وقف انتاج الغاز ليس فقط في الكيان الاسرائيلي ولبنان وانما في قبرص واليونان امتداداً الى ليبيا ومصر، فيتحكم بذلك حلف الغاز الذي يدعمه الاميركيون بين مصر و”اسرائيل” وقبرص واليونان وبعض الدول الاوروبية. فهذا حلف يبني عليه الاميركيون لوقف التمدد الروسي المعني كثيراً بهذا الأمر لان بلاده هي الدولة الاولى في انتاج الغاز في العالم. وتعرف ان حلف الغاز الاميركي في المتوسط إنما هو مبني لوقف الهيمنة الروسية على اسواق استهلاك الغاز في اوروبا.

كيف يفكر الفرنسيون؟

يعتبر ماكرون أن حزب الله اصبح حقيقة سياسية في لبنان والإقليم لا يمكن تجاوزه. لذلك فإن بناء آلية سياسية لبنانية تضم كل مكوّنات لبنان السياسية والطائفية هي إنقاذ للدور الغربي في لبنان من خلال الإصرار على التمثيل للقوى اللبنانية الموالية لهم على شاكلة الحريرية وجعجع والكتائب والاشتراكي.

بذلك يتأمن توازن سياسي داخلي مدعوم غربياً يمنع اي سياسات لبنانية جديدة نحو الصين وروسيا، ويفرض هدنة بين لبنان والكيان الإسرائيلي ويعرقل فتح الحدود السورية بوظائفها الاقتصادية وإذا سمح باستعمالها فللعراق فقط وفي إطار بعض التبادلات النفطية.

يحاول ماكرون إذاً ومعه النفوذ الغربي العام الاستفادة من مميزات لبنان على مستوى الموقع المتوسطي والجوار مع فلسطين المحتلة وسورية استخدامه في الصراعات الحالية والمقبلة على مصادر الطاقة.

لكن هناك مَن يضيف بأن مشروع ماكرون الاقتصادي – السياسي يخفي توقاً فرنسياً لإعادة الاعتماد على لبنان السياسي لأداء دور اقتصادي فرنسي كبير في الشرق الاوسط.

هنا يعرف ماكرون أن لبنان بتنوعه السياسي هو الوحيد في منطقة الشرق الاوسط القادر على ايصال حلفائه الى إيران والسعودية وربما امكنة اخرى.

واذا كان ماكرون قادراً على الوصول الى الرياض بامكانات دولته، فإن رحلته نحو سورية والعراق وإيران واليمن تتطلب مرشداً خبيراً وحليفاً لهذا الخط الطويل.

هذا ينطبق تماماً على حزب الله الوحيد الذي يستطيع فتح أبواب هذه الدول لفرنسا. اما لماذا يريد ماكرون التسلل الى هذه الدول؟

فهذا عائد الى انها تحتاج الى عمليات اعادة اعمار ضخمة تستطيع فرنسا بواسطتها العودة الى قطبية عالمية فعلية، فإعمار هذا الخط يتطلب آلاف مليارات الدولارات ويرتبط بتقارب سياسي بين هذه الدول والبلدان الراغبة في المشاركة. بما يؤكد ان حزب الله هو أفضل مؤدٍ لهذا الدور لعلاقاته البنيوية بخط مقاومة عميق جداً.

لكن ماكرون لن يتجرأ على البوح برغبات بلاده، بما يدفعه الى بناء سياسات هادئة تبتدئ من لبنان الفرنكوفوني ولبنان المنتمي الى حزب الله من دون اي كشف للأهداف الاقتصادية العميقة. وعندما تصل المنطقة الى مرحلة إعادة إعمار تكون فرنسا الهادئة سياسياً من المحظوظين القادرين على ايجاد مساحات للاقتصاد الفرنسي وربما الألماني أيضاً الذي يقبع في خلفية المشهد.

هل تنجح هذه المحاولات؟ هناك مَن يراهن على مرحلة ما بعد الانتخابات الأميركية والإسرائيلية مع انتظار بضعة أشهر بعد تنفيذها لبدء عصر التسويات في الشرق الأوسط.




Ripple Effects: Greece And Turkey Open New Northern Front On Libyan Conflict

Greece’s navy has declared a state of heightened alert and deployed ships to the Aegean Sea in response to a Turkish vessel conducting seismic surveys for energy exploration purposes close to a disputed maritime area.

On Tuesday the Greek foreign ministry issued a formal protest to Turkey following the announcement that a Turkish drilling ship would conduct explorations in the maritime area south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo in the south eastern Aegean. The foreign ministry also released a statement:

We call on Turkey to immediately cease its illegal activities, which violate our sovereign rights and undermine peace and security in the region.”

Following Turkey’s rejection of the protest, the Greek Navy has sent ships to patrol in the area.

“Navy units have been deployed since yesterday in the south and southeastern Aegean,” a navy source told AFP, declining to give further details.

Athens has stated that Turkish surveys in sections of the Greek continental shelf constitute an escalation of the tension in the region where the two countries dispute the boundary of their respective maritime areas. LINK

Experts cited in media reports have interpreted Turkey’s conduct as designed to test Greece’s determination to defend its interests in the eastern Mediterranean region, and believe that the Turkish leadership’s moves may also be linked to the Libyan conflict. According to this interpretation of the latest developments, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apparently seeks to “test” the reaction of his opponents. LINK

A report in Xinhua suggests that Greece’s response is to draw even closer to Egypt. Greece and Egypt have been holding negotiations over the demarcation of an exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean, however the boundaries of the area they are discussing overlaps with the area which was subject to a maritime agreement signed by Turkey and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord in Libya late last year (the two parties also signed a military agreement pursuant to which Turkey has sent thousands of fighters and a large amount of weapons and supplies to the Government of National Accord).

Ripple Effects: Greece And Turkey Open New Northern Front On Libyan Conflict

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi received a phone call from Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday, during which they discussed regional issues, with a focus on the Libyan crisis.

According to the Xinhua report, Sisi expressed Egypt’s opposition to “illegitimate foreign intervention” in Libyan domestic affairs, citing that they would further exacerbate the security conditions in Libya in a way that affects the stability of the entire region, said Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Rady in a statement.

For his part, the Greek prime minister also voiced rejection of foreign interference in Libya, while highlighting the political course as a key solution for the Libyan issue.

He hailed Egypt’s “sincere efforts” that seek a peaceful settlement to the Libyan crisis, according to the statement.

Over the past few years, the Egyptian-Greek ties have been growing closer, with their growing enmity with Turkey also resulting in them developing a similar position on Libya. The talks between Sisi and Mitsotakis took place just a few days after the Egyptian parliament approved a possible troop deployment in Libya to defend Egypt’s western borders with the war-torn country. LINK

A perceptive analysis of the emerging Turkey-Libya (Tripoli) relations published last month remains just as salient to describe the situation today:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gambled big in Libya and won big – so far. This victory portends important changes in the politics of the Mediterranean, for Turkey has succeeded not only in demonstrating its determination to become the dominant player in the Eastern Mediterranean, but also in showcasing its military prowess and wherewithal. The latter might precipitate a deeper conflict and crisis in the region, extending north toward Greece.

Erdogan threw his support behind the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) against General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which had besieged the GNA’s capital, Tripoli. Haftar suffered a humiliating defeat as Turkish drones, troops, navy vessels and some 10,000 Syrian fighters transported by Ankara to Libya stopped him in his tracks and then forced him to abandon bases and territory. A last-minute call for a ceasefire by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was rejected by the victorious GNA, which has set its aims at capturing other towns, including the critical port city of Sirte.

Indirectly, this was also a defeat for the countries that had backed Haftar: Egypt, the UAE and Russia. The UAE had contributed military equipment and the Russians non-state mercenary forces.

Turkey’s Libya expedition has to be seen from two perspectives. First, the GNA concluded a deal with Ankara that delineated their respective Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) in such a way that it divides the Mediterranean Sea into two sections. Turkey’s purpose is to hinder efforts by Egypt, Cyprus, Israel and Greece to export natural gas, either through a pipeline or on LNG vessels, to Europe. Turkey has aggressively interfered with efforts by these to drill for gas. Ankara claims that most of the waters around Cyprus actually belong to Turkey or to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a country recognized only by Turkey.

However, more important than simply preventing Eastern Mediterranean gas exports is the underlying strategy driving this push against Haftar. From the moment he assumed power in 2003, Erdogan has striven to elevate Turkey’s international role to that of a regional, if not global, power. Initially, his strategy was one of “zero problems with neighbors,” which served to emphasize Turkey’s soft power. The primary driver, however, was the desire for Turkey to assume a hegemonic position over the Middle East. This policy foundered and was essentially buried by the Arab Spring.

What has replaced it is a more aggressive and militarized posture that takes the fight to perceived enemies. That could mean anyone and everyone, since Turks tend to see most countries as a threat, even if they are allies. LINK

While Turkey has bet big and won big so far, it appears that the period of relatively easy victories is over and its aggressive moves are going to face more resistance in future. As Turkey continues to shows no sign of moderating its expansionist claims and manoeuvres, the region is now moving irrevocably towards a catastrophic military clash as Turkey and Egypt have drawn incompatible ‘red lines’ in Libya, with the coastal town of Sirte likely to be the detonator (or possibly the Jufra airbase to the south).

An international agreement promoted by the UN in 2014-2015 established an executive body and a legislative body to govern Libya and pave the way for a more permanent arrangement. However, fundamental disagreements between the two quasi-State organizations resulted in a complete split, with the executive arm becoming the ‘UN-backed’ Government of National Accord based in Tripoli and the House of Representatives relocating to Tobruk (thus the legislative arm is also ‘UN-backed’, though this detail is usually omitted from mainstream media reports).

Turkey has allied itself with the Government of National Accord (GNA), Egypt has allied itself with the House of Representatives (and its armed forces, the Libyan National Army – the LNA – headed by Khalifa Haftar). More generally, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia are invariably reported as supporting the LNA, while the GNA is mainly backed by Turkey and Qatar.

Following the drastic changes on the battlefield over the last two months as the GNA swept the LNA from its positions around Tripoli following a failed attempt to capture the Libyan capital, both Turkey and Egypt have committed themselves to positions that are in direct conflict, indicating that a major armed clash is inevitable unless there is a major diplomatic breakthrough or one of the two sides accepts a humiliating backdown.

Specifically, Turkey and the Government of National Accord are demanding that the Libyan National Army (which recently gave Egypt permission to send its armed forces into Libya) withdraw from the two areas (Sirte and Jufra) and have expressed their determination to take the areas by force if necessary. The Libyan National Army and Egypt have stated that any attempt to capture the two areas will result in Egypt entering Libya in force, which would result in a direct confrontation between Turkey and Egypt. While Egypt has the advantage of sharing a long land border with Libya, in the event of a major conflict air and maritime power could be decisive.


سورية تهشّم أنياب العثمانيّين في إدلب وموسكو

د. وفيق إبراهيم

معارك إدلب ليست حدثاً عسكرياً عابراً يندرج في اطار تطور الازمة السورية، بدليل ان الرئيس التركي رجب اردوغان يبحث عن وقف لاطلاق النار عند نظيره الروسي بوتين في لقائهما اليوم في موسكو.

هو لقاء فرضته التوازنات العسكرية الجديدة التي تنبثق يومياً من المعارك المستعرة في منطقة ادلب السورية بين جيشها العربي السوري وبين منظمات تضم إرهاباً منبثقاً من جبهة النصرة وجيشاً تركياً مكشوفاً للعيان. من دون نسيان حوامل النصرة من هيئة تحرير الشام والجيش التركستاني والايغور ومعارضات سورية لا تعمل إلا في محطات التلفزة.

بالمقابل يدعم حلفٌ من حزب الله ومستشارون إيرانيون وسلاح جوي روسي عند الضرورة عمليات الجيش السوري.

لقد كان الأتراك يعتقدون ان هجمات الجيش ليست إلا مجرد تسخين للاوضاع من دون أي إمكانية لتغيرات في الميدان وهدفها التعجيل في المفاوضات الروسية التركية.

لكنهم أصيبوا بذهول لأن المعارك السورية تنفذ تدريجياً خطة لتحرير أرياف حلب وادلب، وخصوصاً ما يتعلق منها بالخطين اللذين يربطان حلب مع البحر المتوسط عند اللاذقية ويصلانها بحماة وحمص ودمشق وحدود سورية مع الأردن والعراق.

لقد حاول اردوغان استعمال الوسائل العسكرية فلم يفلح، متجهاً نحو الأساليب السياسية بتهديد روسيا وايران شريكتيه في سوتشي وآستانة، فجوبه بمواقف قاسية أفهمته أن شريكيه يغطيان الهجوم السوري بتبريرات متنوّعة ومرتبطة بتفاهمات لم ينفذها الجانب التركي، فاتجه الرئيس التركي مستنجداً بالأميركيين والأوروبيين وحلف الناتو الذي يجمعه بهم وصولاً الى «اسرائيل».

الا انه لم يلق الا جعجعة اعلامية لم تؤثر في الاندفاعة العسكرية السورية في ادلب.

الامر الذي دفعه الى الاستثمار في ورقة النازحين السوريين، كما يفعل منذ سنوات عدة.

وذلك لتهديد اوروبا بهم لعلها تدعمه في احتلاله لقسم من سورية، وتدفع بالأميركيين الى دعمه عسكرياً بالمباشر او عبر الناتو.

ان كل هذه الحركات الاردوغانية لم تؤدِ الى ما اراده الاتراك فعادوا طائعين الى كنف «الروسي» يبحثون عنده عن وقف لإطلاق النار يحفظ لهم عمقاً في سورية بذريعة الدفاع عن أمنهم القومي. فيطالبون بعمق على طول حدودهم مع سورية لا يقل عن ثلاثين كيلومتراً. وهذا ما ترفضه سورية قطعياً وسط محاولات روسية لجعل هذا العمق لا يزيد عن 8 كيلومترات إنما بمدة متفق عليها وليست مفتوحة.

هذا ما يناقشه أردوغان اليوم مع بوتين ويربطه بدور للمعارضة السورية المؤيدة لسياسات بلاده في إطار اللجنة الدستورية قيد البحث لتأسيسها والمفترض ان يناط بها إجراء تعديلات على المؤسسات الدستورية السورية.

هل هناك إمكانية لتحقيق «هلوسات» اردوغان؟

لا بد من الاشارة الى ان المطالب التركية المتعلقة بإشراك المعارضة السورية في الحكم، ليست جديدة.

وسبق لأردوغان وناقشها مع الرئيس بشار الاسد في بداية اندلاع الأزمة السورية في 2011، لكنه تلقى في حينه رفضاً سورياً قاطعاً حول مشاركة الاخوان المسلمين المدعومين من انقرة في مؤسسات الدولة السورية.

فإذا كان النظام السوري رفض أي مشاركة للاخوان في تلك المرحلة التي كانت صعبة عليه، فكيف يقبل اليوم وهو يكاد يحرّر كامل بلاده ومسجلاً انتصاراً واضحاً على الادوار السعودية والاردنية والقطرية، دافعاً بالاميركيين الى الشرق ومقلصاً من حجم العدوانية الاسرائيلية ومحطماً داعش وإفرازاتها.

بأي حال يحمل اردوغان معه بدائل لطلباته السورية تكشف عن مدى انتهازيته وبراجماتيته.

ويبدو انه مستعد للقبول بتراجع كبير في ادلب مقابل دعم روسي له في ليبيا التي يدعم فيها دولة السراج في طرابلس الغرب فيما يدعم الروس دولة حفتر في بنغازي.

بما يوضح الأصرار التركي على الانخراط في الصراع العالمي المندلع للسيطرة على منابع الغاز في البحر الأبيض المتوسط.

هنا يجد التركي نفسه قوياً، فهو يحتل منذ 1974 القسم التركي من جزيرة قبرص مؤسساً هناك جمهوريّة لا احد يعترف بها إلا تركيا ويرفضها الاوروبيون عموماً واليونانيون خصوصاً الذين ترتبط قبرص بهم في النسب الإغريقي والجوار والتاريخ.

فيبدو هنا اردوغان شرهاً يسعى للاستئثار بقسم من موارد الغاز في قبرص البرية والساحلية وكذلك في ليبيا السراج الداخلية والبحرية. بما يجعله طرفاً اساسياً في تقاسم ثروات الغاز النائمة في اعماق البحر المتوسط من كل جهاته.

فهل بوسع روسيا منحه ما ليس من ممتلكاتها؟

يعتبر الروس معركة البحر المتوسط جزءاً مركزياً من اهتماماتهم الاستراتيجية ربطاً بأنهم الدولة الاولى في الغاز إنتاجاً واحتياطاً ومبيعاً، هذا الى جانب أسباب أخرى تعود الى حيازتهم على حق التنقيب عن الغاز في سورية البرية والبحرية المطلة على البحر المتوسط. كما أن روسيا لا تقبل بأي سيطرة للاميركيين او الأتراك على هذه الثروات، بما يهدد من مركزية تصديرها لهذه المادة الى اوروبا عبر الخطوط الاوكرانية والتركية.

يمكن هنا التأكيد بأن بوتين حريص على امكانات الغاز في ليبيا وسورية وحقوقهما في مياه المتوسط.

فلا يتبقى امام اردوغان الا قبرص الاوروبية وهذه مسؤولية أوروبية في معالجة الغزو التركي.

فهل يفشل اللقاء بين أردوغان وبوتين؟

المعتقد ان هذه المحادثات لن تتعدى مسألة ادلب انما في اطار الالتزام بمتغيرات الميدان والانسحاب التدريجي التركي منها، على قاعدة تأمين منطقة عازلة مقابل موافقة تركيا على القضاء على حلفائها في «النصرة» وهيئة تحرير الشام.

اما إذا رفض اردوغان هذا الحل بإيحاءات اميركية، فإن للميدان الكلمة الفصل حيث يحقق الجيش العربي السوري وحلفاؤه الانتصارات ولن تتأخر روسيا في الزج بقواتها النوعية في معركة تحرير سورية وتدمير الأحادية القطبية.

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Global Research, February 28, 2020

Global Research 8 January 2009

Eleven years ago, Israel invaded Gaza under “Operation Cast Lead”.

The following article was first published by Global Research in January 2009 at the height of the Israeli bombing and invasion under Operation Cast Lead.



Author’s Note and Update

The purpose of Operation Cast Led was to confiscate Palestine’s maritime natural gas reserves. In the wake of the invasion, Palestinian gas fields were de facto confiscated by Israel in derogation of international law.

A year following “Operation Cast Lead”,  Tel Aviv announced the discovery of  the Leviathan natural gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean “off the coast of Israel.”

At the time the gas field was: “ … the most prominent field ever found in the sub-explored area of the Levantine Basin, which covers about 83,000 square kilometres of the eastern Mediterranean region.” (i)

Coupled with Tamar field, in the same location, discovered in 2009, the prospects are for an energy bonanza for Israel, for Houston, Texas based Noble Energy and partners Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration. (See Felicity Arbuthnot, Israel: Gas, Oil and Trouble in the Levant, Global Research, December 30, 2013

The Gazan gas fields are part of the broader Levant assessment area.

What has been unfolding is the integration of these adjoining gas fields including those belonging to Palestine into the orbit of Israel. (see map below).

It should be noted that the entire Eastern Mediterranean coastline extending from Egypt’s Sinai to Syria constitutes an area encompassing large gas as well as oil reserves.

While the debate regarding  Trump’s “Deal of the Century” has largely concentrated on the de facto annexation of the Jordan Valley and the integration and extension of  Jewish settlements, the issue of the de facto confiscation and ownership of  Palestine’s offshore gas reserves have not been challenged.

Michel Chossudovsky, February 28, 2020

War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

by Michel Chossudovsky

January 8, 2009

The December 2008 military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves. 

This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline. 

British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.

The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21,  2007).

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).

The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.

The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine’s gas reserves could be much larger.Will Israel’s Gas Hopes Come True? Accused of Stealing Gas from the Gaza Strip

Map 1

Map 2

Who Owns the Gas Fields

The issue of sovereignty over Gaza’s gas fields is crucial. From a legal standpoint, the gas reserves belong to Palestine.

The death of Yasser Arafat, the election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority have enabled Israel to establish de facto control over Gaza’s offshore gas reserves.

British Gas (BG Group) has been dealing with the Tel Aviv government. In turn, the Hamas government has been bypassed in regards to exploration and development rights over the gas fields.

The election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 was a major turning point. Palestine’s sovereignty over the offshore gas fields was challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court. Sharon stated unequivocally that “Israel would never buy gas from Palestine” intimating that Gaza’s offshore gas reserves belong to Israel.

In 2003, Ariel Sharon, vetoed an initial deal, which would allow British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from Gaza’s offshore wells. (The Independent, August 19, 2003)

The election victory of Hamas in 2006 was conducive to the demise of the Palestinian Authority, which became confined to the West Bank, under the proxy regime of Mahmoud Abbas.

In 2006, British Gas “was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt.” (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt.

The following year, in May 2007, the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert  “to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority.” The proposed contract was for $4 billion, with profits of the order of $2 billion of which one billion was to go the Palestinians.

Tel Aviv, however, had no intention on sharing the revenues with Palestine. An Israeli team of negotiators was set up by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a deal with the BG Group, bypassing both the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority:

Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government.” (Ibid, emphasis added)

The objective was essentially to nullify the contract signed in 1999 between the BG Group and the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat.

Under the proposed 2007 agreement with BG, Palestinian gas from Gaza’s offshore wells was to be channeled by an undersea pipeline to the Israeli seaport of Ashkelon, thereby transferring control over the sale of the natural gas to Israel.

The deal fell through. The negotiations were suspended:

 “Mossad Chief Meir Dagan opposed the transaction on security grounds, that the proceeds would fund terror”. (Member of Knesset Gilad Erdan, Address to the Knesset on “The Intention of Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Purchase Gas from the Palestinians When Payment Will Serve Hamas,” March 1, 2006, quoted in Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza’s Coastal Waters Threaten Israel’s National Security?  Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 2007)

Israel’s intent was to foreclose the possibility that royalties be paid to the Palestinians. In December 2007, The BG Group withdrew from the negotiations with Israel and in January 2008 they closed their office in Israel.(BG website).

Invasion Plan on The Drawing Board

The invasion plan of the Gaza Strip under “Operation Cast Lead” was set in motion in June 2008, according to Israeli military sources:

“Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago [June or before June] , even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.”(Barak Ravid, Operation “Cast Lead”: Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008)

That very same month, the Israeli authorities contacted British Gas, with a view to resuming crucial negotiations pertaining to the purchase of Gaza’s natural gas:

“Both Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler agreed to inform BG of Israel’s wish to renew the talks.

The sources added that BG has not yet officially responded to Israel’s request, but that company executives would probably come to Israel in a few weeks to hold talks with government officials.” (Globes online- Israel’s Business Arena, June 23, 2008)

The decision to speed up negotiations with British Gas (BG Group) coincided, chronologically, with the planning of the invasion of Gaza initiated in June. It would appear that Israel was anxious to reach an agreement with the BG Group prior to the invasion, which was already in an advanced planning stage.

Moreover, these negotiations with British Gas were conducted by the Ehud Olmert government with the knowledge that a military invasion was on the drawing board. In all likelihood, a new “post war” political-territorial arrangement for the Gaza strip was also being contemplated by the Israeli government.

In fact, negotiations between British Gas and Israeli officials were ongoing in October 2008, 2-3 months prior to the commencement of the bombings on December 27th.

In November 2008, the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Infrastructures instructed Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to enter into negotiations with British Gas, on the purchase of natural gas from the BG’s offshore concession in Gaza. (Globes, November 13, 2008)

“Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler wrote to IEC CEO Amos Lasker recently, informing him of the government’s decision to allow negotiations to go forward, in line with the framework proposal it approved earlier this year.

The IEC board, headed by chairman Moti Friedman, approved the principles of the framework proposal a few weeks ago. The talks with BG Group will begin once the board approves the exemption from a tender.” (Globes Nov. 13, 2008)

Gaza and Energy Geopolitics 

The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel in violation of international law.

What can we expect in the wake of the invasion?

What is the intent of Israel with regard to Palestine’s Natural Gas reserves?

A new territorial arrangement, with the stationing of Israeli and/or “peacekeeping” troops?

The militarization of the entire Gaza coastline, which is strategic for Israel?

The outright confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza’s maritime areas?

If this were to occur, the Gaza gas fields would be integrated into Israel’s offshore installations, which are contiguous to those of the Gaza Strip. (See Map 1 above).

These various offshore installations are also linked up to Israel’s energy transport corridor, extending from the port of Eilat, which is an oil pipeline terminal, on the Red Sea to the seaport – pipeline terminal at Ashkelon, and northwards to Haifa, and eventually linking up through a proposed Israeli-Turkish pipeline with the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Ceyhan is the terminal of the Baku, Tblisi Ceyhan Trans Caspian pipeline. “What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel’s Tipline.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 23, 2006)

Map 3The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020

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Indigenous Resistance Shakes the Canadian State

Indigenous groups resisting a destructive gas pipeline have blockaded one of Canada’s busiest rail lines bringing business as usual to a grinding halt, reports John Clarke

By John Clarke

Global Research, February 21, 2020

Counterfire 17 February 2020

In early February, the RCMP, Canada’s colonial police force, raided the land defender camps of the Wet’suwet’en people in British Columbia, in order to clear the way for pipeline construction. Clearly, none of the political decision makers responsible for this repressive action ever imagined that it would spark a powerful wave of solidarity actions across Canada. There have been ongoing protests and rallies but the focus has been on the tactic of economic disruption, most notably by blockading the railway network. If the attack on the Wet’suwet’en was driven by the profit needs of extractive capitalism, the resistance that has emerged has targeted the flow of goods and services as the most effective form of counter-attack.

In October of 2018, the provincial government of British Columbia approved the building of a 670 km pipeline to bring liquified natural gas from northern BC to a $40-billion export plant, to be constructed in Kitimat. In BC, the New Democratic Party (NDP) is in power, so it was shameful that Canada’s social democratic party would join with the federal Liberals to provide “a bouquet of government subsidies for BC’s largest carbon polluter.”

From the outset, it was clear that there would be a major problem with driving this environmentally destructive project through Indigenous territory. Unlike the rest of Canada, BC has been built up on disputed or ‘unceded’ land over which no treaties between the Crown and the Indigenous nations were ever drawn up. This is because the process of colonization in BC was especially ruthless and lethal. In 1862, when a smallpox epidemic broke out in Victoria, infected Indigenous people were driven back into the interior of the province, spreading the disease. At least 30,000 died as a result, which was about 60% of the Indigenous population at the time. Following this successful genocide, treaties seemed unnecessary to the colonizers. “The Indians have really no rights to the lands they claim,” concluded land commissioner, Joseph Trutch, in 1864.

Trutch and his friends would doubtless be chagrined to learn that, in the 21st Century, an unintended legacy of their handiwork has emerged. The Wet’suwet’en Nation lays claim to a 22,000 square kilometre unceded territory through which the Coastal GasLink project must pass. Moreover, almost twenty five years ago, in the Delgamuukw ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada held that there is, indeed, Aboriginal title over such land. Coastal GasLink and its apologists make much of the fact that they were able to coerce and cajole twenty Indigenous band councils into signing agreements with them. However, these bands only have authority, under the Indian Act, over the reserves they operate. They have no jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land as a whole, whereas the hereditary chiefs of the Nation have a claim that predates Canada and that various court rulings have acknowledged is still highly relevant.

The hereditary chiefs remain implacably opposed to the pipeline project and neither the Trudeau Liberals in Ottawa, the BC government or the pipeline company have the “free, prior and informed consent” that is required under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that Canada has signed onto.

Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Against the Colonial Policies of the Canadian State

Resistance and Solidarity

The brutal arrogance with which the RCMP were unleashed on the land defenders was so shocking and appalling that it blew up in the faces of those responsible. After a previous assault on the Wet’suwet’en, in January of last year, it was discovered that RCMP planners were ready to shoot to kill. The notes of their meeting included an observation that “lethal overwatch is req’d.,” a reference to the deployment of snipers. After this last raid, a video emerged of a cop training his telescopic sights on the unarmed defenders. The footage and accounts of the militarized police action against people trying to protect their own ancient land was as heartbreaking as it was enraging.

“This is Wet’suwet’en territory. We are unarmed. We are peaceful. You are invaders,” yelled Eve Saint, the daughter of one of the hereditary chiefs. She later told the media that, “I held my feather up and cried because I was getting ripped off my territory and there was nothing I could do about it. That’s the type of violence our people face. It’s embedded in my DNA and hit me in the heart. This is what my people have been going through since contact (with colonizers).”

This ugly use of state power was made all the more vile and disgusting by Justin Trudeau’s hypocrisy. He is fully implicated in the attempt to crush Indigenous rights yet he postures as a champion of ‘reconciliation.’ The response was remarkable and powerful and created a political crisis, as hard-hitting actions took place across the country. BC’s NDP Premier, John Horgan, has been left ‘despondent’ by a solidarity action that disrupted his government’s throne speech. A day of action targeted BC government offices across the province. The Port of Vancouver has been blockaded. On the other side of the country, in Halifax, the Ceres container terminal was blocked by protesters chanting, “Where are we? Mi’kmaqi! Respect Indigenous sovereignty!” as well as, “Shut down Canada!”

It is, however, the rail blockades that have had such a huge economic impact and that have taken things to the level of political crisis. Action taken by residents of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in eastern Ontario has prevented the movement of train traffic along a vital corridor connecting Toronto with Ottawa and Montreal for almost two weeks now and has had a national impact. The Mohawks have refused to obey a court injunction ordering them to leave on the grounds that Canadian courts have no right to tell them what to do on their land and they have made clear that they are going nowhere until the just demands of the Wet’suwet’en have been met. The economic impact of their action, along with a series of other rail blockades across Canada, has been enormous and it is growing. It is reported that “wood, pulp and paper producers have lost tens of millions of dollars so far.” At least 66 cargo ships have been unable to unload in BC and the president of the province’s Chamber of Shipping says, “those line-ups are only going to increase, of course ships are continuing to arrive. Eventually, there will be no space and they’ll be waiting off the coast of Canada, which is a situation we’d like to avoid.”

The federal Indigenous Services Minister, Marc Miller, has now been to Tyendinaga to meet with members of the community. His account of the hours long meeting doesn’t suggest much was resolved at all. Clearly, the Trudeau government is in a very difficult situation. They have seen the response to the RCMP raid on the Wet’suwet’en and they desperately fear the consequences of moving on the rail blockades. Yet the driving of pipelines through Indigenous territory is vital to their strategic priority of exporting dirty oil and gas to the Pacific market. The Coastal GasLink project is the harbinger of much more to come and the resistance of Indigenous people and their allies poses a threat to all their plans.

The considerable ability of the Liberal Party to serve the interests of the capitalists while containing social resistance is being tested to the limit. The vulnerability to disruption of the global supply chain that has been created during the neoliberal era, with its wide ranging sources of raw materials and component parts and its systems of ‘just in time’ inventory, makes the blockades and the economic disruption even more of a threat than they would have been at an earlier time.

The political crisis that has been unleashed by this wave of action in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en is already very serious but if state power is unleashed to remove the blockades, at Tyendinaga or at other locations, especially if a serious confrontation ensues, the mood across the country is such that disruptive actions could intensify dramatically. In that eventuality, the choice for Trudeau and his provincial allies would be between a dangerous escalation or a retreat on so fundamental an objective as the pursuit of environmentally disastrous extractive capitalism. Sparked by the magnificent defiance of the Wet’suwet’en, a struggle is unfolding with the most important implications for the building of resistance in Canada to the colonial project that Indigenous people face. At the same time, however, it is also creating a precious model for the global struggle against the deadly consequences of corporate climate vandalism.


Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

John Clarke is a writer and retired organizer for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). Follow his tweets at @JohnOCAP and blog at johnclarkeblog.com.

Featured image: Rail blockade. Photo: Twitter/Krystalline KrausThe original source of this article is CounterfireCopyright © John ClarkeCounterfire, 2020https://www.globalresearch.ca/indigenous-resistance-shakes-canadian-state/5704242

Shut Down Canada Until It Solves Its War, Oil, and Genocide Problem

FEBRUARY 20, 2020

Photograph Source: tuchodi – CC BY 2.0


Indigenous people in Canada are giving the world a demonstration of the power of nonviolent action. The justness of their cause — defending the land from those who would destroy it for short term profit and the elimination of a habitable climate on earth — combined with their courage and the absence on their part of cruelty or hatred, has the potential to create a much larger movement, which is of course the key to success.

This is a demonstration of nothing less than a superior alternative to war, not just because the war weapons of the militarized Canadian police may be defeated by the resistance of the people who have never been conquered or surrendered, but also because the Canadian government could accomplish its aims in the wider world better by following a similar path, by abandoning the use of war for supposedly humanitarian ends and making use of humanitarian means instead. Nonviolence is simply more likely to succeed in domestic and international relations than violence. War is not a tool for preventing but for facilitating its identical twin, genocide.

Of course, the indigenous people in “British Columbia,” as around the world, are demonstrating something else as well, for those who care to see it: a way of living sustainably on earth, an alternative to earth-violence, to the raping and murdering of the planet — an activity closely linked to the use of violence against human beings.

The Canadian government, like its southern neighbor, has an unacknowledged addiction to the war-oil-genocide problem. When Donald Trump says he needs troops in Syria to steal oil, or John Bolton says Venezuela needs a coup to steal oil, it’s simply an acknowledgement of the global continuation of the never-ended operation of stealing North America.

Look at the gas-fracking invasion of unspoiled lands in Canada, or the wall on the Mexican border, or the occupation of Palestine, or the destruction of Yemen, or the “longest ever” war on Afghanistan (which is only the longest ever because the primary victims of North American militarism are still not considered real people with real nations whose destruction counts as real wars) , and what do you see? You see the same weapons, the same tools, the same senseless destruction and cruelty, and the same massive profits flowing into the same pockets of the same profiteers from blood and suffering — the corporations that will be shamelessly marketing their products at the CANSEC weapons show in Ottawa in May.

Much of the profits these days comes from distant wars fought in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, but those wars drive the technology and the contracts and the experience of war veterans that militarize the police in places like North America. The same wars (always fought for “freedom,” of course) also influence the culture toward greater acceptance of the violation of basic rights in the name of “national security” and other meaningless phrases. This process is exacerbated by the blurring of the line between war and police, as wars become endless occupations, missiles become tools of random isolated murder, and activists — antiwar activists, antipipeline activists, antigenocide activists — become categorized with terrorists and enemies.

Not only is war over 100 times more likely where there is oil or gas (and in no way more likely where there is terrorism or human rights violations or resource scarcity or any of the things people like to tell themselves cause wars) but war and war preparations are leading consumers of oil and gas. Not only is violence needed to steal the gas from indigenous lands, but that gas is highly likely to be put to use in the commission of wider violence, while in addition helping to render the earth’s climate unfit for human life. While peace and environmentalism are generally treated as separable, and militarism is left out of environmental treaties and environmental conversations, war is in fact a leading environmental destroyer. Guess who just pushed a bill through the U.S. Congress to allow both weapons and pipelines into Cyprus? Exxon-Mobil.

Solidarity of the longest victims of western imperialism with the newest ones is a source of great potential for justice in the world.

But I mentioned the war-oil-genocide problem. What does any of this have to do with genocide? Well, genocide is an act “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group.” Such an act can involve murder or kidnapping or both or neither. Such an act can “physically” harm no one. It can be any one, or more than one, of these five things:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Numerous top Canadian officials over the years have stated clearly that the intention of Canada’s child-removal program was to eliminated Indigenous cultures, to utterly remove “the Indian problem.” Proving the crime of genocide does not require the statement of intent, but in this case, as in Nazi Germany, as in today’s Palestine, and as in most if not all cases, there is no shortage of expressions of genocidal intent. Still, what matters legally is genocidal results, and that is what one can expect from stealing people’s land to frack it, to poison it, to render it uninhabitable.

When the treaty to ban genocide was being drafted in 1947, at the same time that Nazis were still being put on trial, and while U.S. government scientists were experimenting on Guatemalans with syphilis, Canadian government “educators” were performing “nutritional experiments” on Indigenous children — that is to say: starving them to death. The original draft of the new law included the crime of cultural genocide. While this was stripped out at the urging of Canada and the United States, it remained in the form of item “e” above. Canada ratified the treaty nonetheless, and despite having threatened to add reservations to its ratification, did no such thing. But Canada enacted into its domestic law only items “a” and “c” — simply omitting “b,” “d,” and “e” in the list above, despite the legal obligation to include them. Even the United States has included what Canada omitted.

Canada should be shut down (as should the United States) until it recognizes that it has a problem and begins to mend its ways. And even if Canada didn’t need to be shut down, CANSEC would need to be shut down.

CANSEC is one of the largest annual weapons shows in North America. Here’s how it describes itself, a list of exhibitors, and a list of the members of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries which hosts CANSEC.

CANSEC facilitates Canada’s role as a major weapons dealer to the world, and the second biggest weapons exporter to the Middle East. So does ignorance. In the late 1980s opposition to a forerunner of CANSEC called ARMX created a great deal of media coverage. The result was a new public awareness, which led to a ban on weapons shows on city property in Ottawa, which lasted 20 years.

The gap left by media silence on Canadian weapons dealing is filled with misleading claims about Canada’s supposed role as a peacekeeper and participant in supposedly humanitarian wars, as well as the non-legal justification for wars known as “the responsibility to protect.”

In reality, Canada is a major marketer and seller of weapons and components of weapons, with two of its top customers being the United States and Saudi Arabia. The United States is the world’s leading marketer and seller of weapons, some of which weapons contain Canadian parts. CANSEC’s exhibitors include weapons companies from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.

There is little overlap between the wealthy weapons-dealing nations and the nations where wars are waged. U.S. weapons are often found on both sides of a war, rendering ridiculous any pro-war moral argument for those weapons sales.

CANSEC 2020’s website boasts that 44 local, national, and international media outlets will be attending a massive promotion of weapons of war. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Canada has been a party since 1976, states that “Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.”

The weapons exhibited at CANSEC are routinely used in violation of laws against war, such as the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact — most frequently by Canada’s southern neighbor. CANSEC may also violate the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court by promoting acts of aggression. Here’s a report on Canadian exports to the United States of weapons used in the 2003-begun criminal war on Iraq. Here’s a report on Canada’s own use of weapons in that war.

The weapons exhibited at CANSEC are used not only in violation of laws against war but also in violation of numerous so-called laws of war, that is to say in the commission of particularly egregious atrocities, and in violation of the human rights of the victims of oppressive governments. Canada sells weapons to the brutal governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

Canada may be in violation of the Rome Statute as a result of supplying weapons that are used in violation of that Statute. It is certainly in violation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. Canadian weapons are being used in the Saudi-U.S. genocide in Yemen.

In 2015, Pope Francis remarked before a joint session of the United States Congress, “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”

An international coalition of individuals and organizations will be converging on Ottawa in May to say No to CANSEC with a seris of events called NoWar2020.

This month two nations, Iraq and the Philippines, have told the United States military to get out. This happens more often than you might think. These actions are part of the same movement that tells the Canadian militarized police to get out of lands they have no rights in. All actions in this movement can inspire and inform all others.Join the debate on FacebookMore articles by:DAVID SWANSON

David Swanson wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition.


Illustrative image. Click to see full-size

South Front

On February 2nd, armed militants blew up a gas pipeline in Northern Sinai connecting Egypt and Israel.

At least six masked militants planted explosives under the pipeline in the town of Bir al-Abd. It transfers gas to el-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai, and a cement factory in central Sinai, local officials said.

The pipeline allegedly remained “functional” following the attacks.

A statement from the office of Israel’s energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, read:

“At the moment, the natural gas is flowing from Israel through the pipeline and reaching Egypt.

The ministry looked into the reported explosion, such as it was, in coordination with all relevant authorities.”

Another statement from the corporate partners operating Israel’s Leviathan gas field, which supplies the gas to the pipeline in question, issued a statement late on February 2nd said:

“There has not been any damage to the EMG pipeline connecting Israel and Egypt. The flow of gas from Leviathan to Egypt is continuing as normal.”

Thus, it is unclear if the attack even took place.

The reports of the sabotage come just two weeks after Israel started pumping natural gas to Egypt from two massive offshore fields, marking a major milestone and a historic cooperation between the countries, according to a joint January 15 statement by the two countries’ governments.

Steinitz hailed the move at the time as “the most significant cooperation ever between Israel and Egypt, in energy and the economy, since the [1979] peace treaty.”

The gas pipelines running through the Sinai Peninsula have long been a favorite target of jihadist groups in the restive region.

Samer Mosis@Samermosis

@nblenergy and Delek have finalized their acquisition of EMG pipeline, enabling a landmark $15 billion natural gas export deal between #Egypt and #Israel begin next year #oott #lng #energy @EgyptOilandGas

View image on Twitter

7 · Houston, TXTwitter Ads info and privacySee Samer Mosis’s other Tweets

Israel’s Delek Group and the American company Noble Energy – which together own 85% of the Leviathan field – completed the purchase of 39% of the Egyptian gas pipeline in partnership. The purchase was carried out in conjunction with Egypt’s state-owned company EGAS for about $520 million.

Egypt has battled insurgents in Northern and Central Sinai since 2011, with varied intensity.

In late 2017, North Sinai was the scene of the deadliest attack in Egypt’s modern history when fighters killed more than 300 worshippers at a mosque, without any group claiming responsibility.

Following that, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi gave the order that the peninsula must be purged of terrorist elements.

In February 2018, the army launched a military operation aimed at defeating ISIS or related armed groups in the Sinai Peninsula.

Since then Egypt provides regular updates of how the operation is going. In November 2019, which was the most recent report it said that throughout October 2019, 83 suspected terrorist fighters had been killed, and 61 were detained.

According to estimates based on official figures upwards of 700 militants have been killed since the start of the operation, while the army has lost around 50 soldiers.


غاز الأبيض المتوسّط.. هل يُشِعل المنطقة؟

حسني محلي

حسني محلي

باحث علاقات دولية ومختصص بالشأن التركي

لولا الدعم الذي قدَّمه القذّافي للثُنائي أجاويد وأربكان لما استطاعت تركيا ربما السيطرة على قبرص عام 1974 لتصبح اليوم طرفاً أساسياً في كل معادلات المتوسّط بغازه الذي قد يحرق الجميع، وهذه المرة “إسرائيل” أيضاً.

  • غاز الأبيض المتوسّط.. هل يُشِعل المنطقة؟ (أ ف ب).

وقَّعت تركيا أواخر الشهر الماضي على اتفاقياتٍ هامةٍ مع دولتين في المنطقة، إحداهما الحليف العقائدي قطر، والأخرى تشكّل العُمق الاستراتيجي لأنقرة في شمال إفريقيا وهي ليبيا التي تشهد حرباً طاحِنة بين فريقين، أحدهما مدعوم من أنقرة والدوحة، والآخر من القاهرة والرياض وأبو ظبي.

إذا تجاهلنا الجوانب العقائدية والأمنية والعسكرية والمالية للعلاقة بين أنقرة وكل من طرابلس والدوحة، فالغاز الطبيعي هو القاسَم المُشترك لعلاقات إردوغان مع الدولتين الغنيّتين نفطًياً.

قطر هي الدولة الثالثة في العالم من حيث احتياطيات الغاز بعد إيران وروسيا، فيما تُعدّ ليبيا الدولة الثامِنة غازياً وفق الاحتياطيات المُعلَنة عالمياً والتي تُقدَّر بنحو 200 تريليون متر مكعب، تقع نحو 80 تريليون منها في منطقة الشرق الأوسط.

ويُقدِّر العديد من الدراسات الأميركية والأوروبية احتياطي الغاز في شرق المتوسّط أي مصر وفلسطين (غزَّة) و”إسرائيل” ولبنان  وسوريا وقبرص بحوالى 50 تريليون متر مكعب. كان هذا الغاز وما زال سبباً لصراعاتٍ صعبةٍ ومُعقَّدةٍ مع استمرار الخلافات السياسية والعسكرية والاستراتيجية بين كل الأطراف مع انضمام تركيا إليها.

أنقرة أعلنت أكثر من مرة أنها لا تعترف بالاتفاقيات التي وقَّعت عليها قبرص مع مصر و”إسرائيل” ولبنان في ما يتعلَّق بترسيم الحدود البحرية وتقاسُم المناطق الاقتصادية بينها، كما هدَّدت وتوعدَّت الشركات التي وقَّعت على اتفاقيات مُتعدِّدة مع الدول المذكورة للتنقيب عن الغاز واستخراجه وتسويقه.

وجاء اتفاق أنقرة مع حكومة الوفاق الليبية (تسيطر على حوالى 8% فقط من مساحة ليبيا) في ما يتعلّق برسم الحدود البحرية بين تركيا وليبيا في البحر الأبيض المتوسّط ليُثير نقاشاً جديداً في المنطقة، بعد أن اتّهمت تركيا سابقاً القبارصة اليونانيين واليونان بالسيطرة على مساحاتٍ واسعةٍ في البحر على حساب مصر ولبنان و”إسرائيل” وسوريا. فبعد أن ناشد الجنرال خليفة حفتر مجلس الأمن للتدخّل ضدّ تركيا تحدَّث وزير خارجيّته عبدالهادي حويج للإعلام الإسرائيلي وعبَّر عن استعداد بلاده للتعاون ضدّ تركيا، فيما اعتبرت أثينا الاتفاق مُخالِفاً للقانون الدولي وعملاً استفزازياً كون المنطقة التي اعتبرتها تركيا ضمن حدودها البحرية، شملت جزءاً من المياه الإقليمية والجرف القاري للجزر اليونانية وأهمّها كريت التي كان من المُقرَّر أن يصلها الأنبوب الذي سينقل غاز قبرص إلى اليونان ومنها إلى إيطاليا.

وكانت أنقرة قد أعلنت قبل ذلك من جانبٍ واحدٍ عن خارطةٍ تُبيِّن حدودها البحرية في البحر الأبيض المتوسّط، ليزيد ذلك في الطين بلّة في ما يتعلّق بالتوتّر الموجود أساساً والمُستَنِد إلى عددٍ من الأسباب السياسية والتاريخية.

ففي تموز/يونيو 1974 تدخّلت تركيا في قبرص بحجَّة الانقلاب الذي وقع آنذاك ضدّ الرئيس مكاريوس وقالت عنه إنه يُهدِّد القبارصة الأتراك في الجزيرة التي سيطر الجيش التركي آنذاك على ثلث مساحتها. وترفض أنقرة أيّ اتفاق يوقّعه القبارصة اليونانيون باعتبارهم لا يمثّلون الجزيرة بأكملها، فأرسلت أربعاً من سفنها المحمية بالبوارج والطائرات إلى محيط الجزيرة للتنقيب عن الغاز واستخراجه.

وأعلنت واشنطن، التي تشهد علاقاتها توتّراً جدِّياً مع أنقرة على خلفيّة صفقة صواريخ  أس 400، رفضها للموقف التركي ووصفته بأنه استفزازي فيما فرض الاتحاد الأوروبي عدداً من العقوبات الاقتصادية والمالية والسياسية ضد تركيا باعتبار أن قبرص التي يمثّلها القبارصة اليونانيون عضو في الاتحاد.

وشكّل التعاون القبرصي مع “إسرائيل” واليونان من جهة، ومع مصر واليونان من جهةٍ أخرى، سبباً آخر في ردّ فعل أنقرة على هذه التحرّكات ذات الطابع السياسي والعسكري والأمني ووصفته بأنه يستهدف أمن تركيا القومي.

ويُفسّر ذلك ردّ فعل الدول المذكورة على اتفاق أنقرة مع طرابلس باعتبار أن الوضع الحالي في ليبيا لا يسمح لها بالتوقيع على مثل هذه الاتفاقيات، لاسيما وأن تركيا لم توقّع على معاهدة الأمم المتحدة الخاصة بترسيم حدود البحار المفتوحة بين الدول المُتشاطِئة. لذلك فهي على خلافٍ دائمٍ مع اليونان في ما يتعلّق بتقاسُم الجرف القاري ورسم حدود المياه الإقليمية في بحر إيجة الذي يحتضن عشرات الجزر اليونانية القريبة من الشواطئ التركية والتي ترى فيها أنقرة خطراً على أمنها الاستراتيجي.

دفع ذلك إردوغان أكثر من مرة إلى الحديث عن ضرورة إعادة النظر في اتفاقية لوزان لعام 1923 التي اعترفت باستقلال تركيا، فالاتفاقية اعترفت لليونان بمساحاتٍ أوسع من مياه بحر إيجة أي 43.5% لليونان و 7.5% لتركيا والباقي مياه دولية.

ويزعج ذلك أنقرة كما يزعجها الوضع في قبرص التي تحوّلت إلى قاعدةٍ مشتركةٍ لتحالفاتٍ إقليميةٍ ودوليةٍ مُعاديةٍ لها بالإضافة إلى صراعاتها الاقتصادية بعد اكتشاف الغاز فيها. فقد قامت نيقوسيا بترسيم حدودها البحرية مع مصر عام 2004 ومع لبنان عام 2007  ومع “إسرائيل” عام 2010، كما وقَّعت العديد من الاتفاقيات مع الشركات الأوروبية والأميركية والروسية وحتى القطرية، للتنقيب عن الغاز واستخراجه ونقله إلى أوروبا.

ومن هذه الشركات شركة “أيني” الإيطالية و”توتال” الفرنسية و”نوبل إنيرجي” و”أكسون موبيل” الأميركية و”وود سايد” الأسترالية و”بي بي” البريطانية و”روسنفت” الروسية.

وقد وقَّعت “روسنفت” على اتفاقٍ هامٍ مع مصر ولبنان وسوريا كما سبق لها أن وقَّعت على اتفاقيات مُماثلة مع العراق وإيران وكردستان العراق.

ويرى كثيرون في التواجُد الروسي في سوريا ذات الاحتياطي الكبير جداً (أكثر من قطر) سبباً هاماً في الحسابات الروسية الخاصة بالغاز، لأن موسكو لا تريد لغاز الأبيض المتوسّط أن يُنافِس غازها في أوروبا وبشكلٍ خاص في ألمانيا وإيطاليا التي يصلها الغاز الروسي عبر أنابيب يمرّ بعضها عبر  الأراضي التركية التي يصلها الغاز الإيراني والأذربيجاني والتركمنستاتي، فيما تغطّي تركيا 60% من استهلاكها للغاز من روسيا.

ويُفسّر ذلك مع عناصر أخرى العلاقة الاستراتيجية بين موسكو وأنقرة بانعكاسات ذلك سلباً كان أو إيجاباً على الوضع السوري.

وكانت أنقرة قبل تدهور علاقاتها مع تل أبيب قد بذلت مساعي مُكثّفة لإقناع الأخيرة بمدّ أنابيب تنقل الغاز الإسرائيلي والقبرصي إلى تركيا، مقابل أنابيب للمياه التركية تصل قبرص ومنها إلى “إسرائيل”.

فشل هذا المشروع بسبب تدهور العلاقات التركية- الإسرائيلية كما فشلت مباحثات توحيد شطريّ الجزيرة القبرصية وهو المشروع الذي لو تحقّق لكان ساعد أنقرة على تحقيق أهدافها الاستراتيجية عبر قبرص طالما أنها دولة ضامِنة لاستقلال الجزيرة وفق اتفاقية 1960، حالها حال اليونان وبريطانيا التي تمتلك قاعدتين هامّتين في قبرص.

وكان لـ”إسرائيل” ومن قبلها اليهود منذ بدايات العهد العثماني أطماع مُثيرة في الجزيرة باعتبارها بوابة الانفتاح البحرية الوحيدة لنجاة اليهود من الطوق البري العربي في حال تفعيله.

وجاءت التطوّرات اللاحِقة في المنطقة لتضع أنقرة أمام تحدّيات جديدة بعد خلافها العقائدي أي الإخواني مع مصر، الدولة الأهمّ في حسابات الغاز بسبب تقارُبها مع قبرص واليونان ومجاورتها لقطاع غزَّة الذي يذخر أيضاً باحتياطي هام من الغاز.

وتُبيّن كل هذه المُعطيات مدى صعوبة الحسابات الوطنية والإقليمية والدولية لكل الأطراف بخصوص الغاز الذي يبدو أنه سيحرق شرق الأبيض المتوسّط حاله حال البترول الذي كان ومازال سبباً لكل مشاكل المنطقة العربية منذ استقلالها وحتى اليوم.

ومع استمرار الحرب في سوريا وانعكاساتها الإقليمية والدولية، لاسيما في ما يتعلّق بالتواجُد الروسي والدور التركي هناك وهو ما يؤجِّل حسم ملف الغاز السوري بحرياً، فقد وقَّعت بيروت على اتفاقيّتين مع شركات “توتال” الفرنسية و”إيني” الإيطالية و”نوفاتك” الروسية للتنقيب عن البترول والغاز واستخراجهما في منطقتين يقع جزء من إحداهما في المياه المُتنازَع عليها مع تل أبيب.

ومع استمرار مساعي الوساطة الأميركية التي بدأها ديفيد ساترفيلد وهو الآن سفير أميركا في أنقرة، فقد قدَّرت الدراسات حصَّة لبنان من الغاز الطبيعي في  المتوسّط بنحو 11 تريليون متر مكعب وهي كافية لإنهاء جميع مشاكل لبنان.

وكان الأمين العام لحزب الله السيّد حسن نصرالله قد تحدَّث في 16 شباط/فبراير من العام الماضي عن معركة الغاز في المنطقة وقال “إننا نستطيع تعطيل العمل بمحطّات الغاز الإسرائيلية في البحر المتوسّط في حال اتّخذ مجلس الدفاع اللبناني الأعلى قراراً بذلك”. بالمقابل أعلنت تل أبيب أنها طوَّرت درعاً صاروخية أسمتها “مقلاع داوود” الصاروخي لصدّ أيّ هجوم من حزب الله يستهدف منصّات الغاز.

ويعكس ذلك بكل وضوح الوضع المُعقَّد والصعب والخطير في قضية الغاز وانعكاساتها على حسابات الدول المعنية مباشرة أولاً. وثانياً الدول ذات العلاقة ومنها أوروبا وأميركا وروسيا وبالطبع تركيا التي يريد لها إردوغان أن يكون لها باع وذراع طويلة في جميع أنحاء العالم لأنه يريد لتركيا أن تعود إلى أمجاد الدولة العثمانية التي حكمت العالم فانتهى بها المطاف بحدودها الحالية فخسرت جميع مناطق الغاز والبترول في المنطقة التي كانت تحت حُكم الدولة  العثمانية. ويؤمِن إردوغان أنه وريث هذه الدولة بعقيدتها وقوميّتها، وهو ما يُفسِّر ما قام ويقوم به في سوريا وليبيا والمنطقة عموماً منذ ما يُسمَّى بالربيع العربي.

فقد اعترض إردوغان على التدخّل الأميركي والأوروبي في ليبيا في 28 شباط/فبراير 2011 إلا أنه عاد وأعلن تأييده لذلك في 21 آذار/مارس، أي بعد عام من القمّة العربية في سرت التي حضرها بدعوةٍ من معمّر القذافي. ولولا الدعم الذي قدَّمه القذافي للثنائي أجاويد وأربكان لما استطاعت تركيا ربما من السيطرة على قبرص عام 1974 لتصبح الآن طرفاً أساسياً في كل مُعادلات المتوسّط بغازه الذي قد يحرق الجميع وهذه المرة “إسرائيل” أيضاً.

البحر المتوسط يختزن الصراعات على مواقع القوة في العالم

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نوفمبر 25, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

أكثر من أربعين بارجة حربية من الأكثر فتكاً وتدميراً تجوبُ مياه البحر الابيض المتوسط قبالة سواحل تمتلك الدول العربية ثلثيها وليس فيها بارجة عربية واحدة كالعادة.

تتصارع هذه الاساطيل على نحو 30 تريليون قدم مكعب من الغاز، تشكل ركيزة الاستهلاك الوقودي للعالم الصناعي في العقود المقبلة وآبارها في قبرص ومصر وفلسطين المحتلة وغزة ولبنان وسورية.

فإذا ما أضيفت احتياطات قطر وإيران والعراق يصبح الشرق الاوسط محتكراً عالمياً لإنتاج الغاز لا تخرج منه الا احتياطات الغاز الروسية الضخمة.

هذه اذاً إعادة إحياء لدبلوماسية الاساطيل التي لا تزال تعتمد اسلوب السيطرة على البحار وسيلة للسيطرة على دوله المتشاطئة، وبالتالي للتوضيح فإن سيطرة الرومان على المنطقة قبل الإسلام جعلت المؤرخين الإغريق يسمّونه بحر الروم وسرعان ما أصبح لقبه بحر اللاذقية بعد انتصار العرب على الروم في معركة ذات الصواري، لكن السيطرة الغربية الأميركية المعاصرة على الجزيرة العربية والعراق وسورية، حوّلته الى البحر الابيض المتوسط لانه يتوسط العالم جغرافياً.

وهكذا تكشف هذه الأهميات بسرعة اسباب حصار ايران واحتلال العراق وقسم من شمال سورية وشرقها والعبث بأمن مصر بالمياه والارهاب والصراع التركي الغربي على قبرص، وسورية والعراق والهجوم الأميركي الغربي على لبنان، والقواعد الأميركية المنتشرة في قطر والإمارات والربع الخالي في السعودية وتمزيق ليبيا والسودان والجزائر.

إنه الغاز إذاً مقبل على متن دبلوماسية الأساطيل القاتلة.

هناك ثلاثة عناصر تجذب العالم بأسره الى منطقة البحر المتوسط العربية القبرصية التركية بعمقها العراقي وصولاً الى الجزيرة واليمن وهي أنها تحتوي على 122 تريليون قدم مكعب من الغاز 1.7 مليار برميل من النفط، بما يجعل لعاب القوى الكبرى يتصبّب شبقاً وشهوة.

دافعاً روسيا الى اقتحام المشهد المغري من خلال الميدان السوري الأثير لديها فتندفع نحو مصر ولبنان وتعقد علاقات جيدة مع السعودية والإمارات، الى جانب حلف مع إيران «الغاز» والنفط والموقع بخلفية صينية كامنة تتمظهر بابتسامة تاجر سوق ماكر.

أما العنصر الثاني فهو الموقع الاستراتيجي للمتوسط الذي يتشاطأ مع القارات الثلاث آسيا وأفريقيا وأوروبا مشرئباً عبر المحيط الأطلسي الى القارة الأميركية.

لجهة الأكثر قدرة على استهلاك سلع العالم الغربي، لأن بلدانها هي الاكثر تخلفاً ولا تنتج شيئاً باستثناء الكيان الإسرائيلي في فلسطين المحتلة وتركيا وايران.

لقد الهبت هذه الأهميات الاميركيين فنشروا في مناطق حروبهم المباشرة وغير المباشرة والناعمة مركزين على إيران والعراق وسورية وليبيا وقطر والسعودية والبحرين، كما أثاروا الأتراك الذين يتذرّعون بخطورة المشروع الكردي وعيونهم العثمانية على غاز سورية ونفط وغاز العراق وغاز قبرص التي تحتل أنقرة ثلثها في الشمال الشرقي منذ 1974 وتقيم عليها دولة أطلقت عليها اسم جمهورية شمالي قبرص التركية، لكن لا أحد يعترف بها منذ اعلانها في 1983 الا ان انقرة بالطبع. وهنا يقول الخبراء ان قبرص تحتوي بمفردها على 400 مليار متر مكعب من الغاز، اليس هذا كافياً لعودة العثمانية إلى فيينا؟

«إسرائيل» بدورها تضرب غزة كل شهر تقريباً وتمسك بسواحلها المليئة بالغاز وبالشاطئ الفلسطيني المحتل وصولاً الى حدود اعماق البحر اللبناني المكتنز بدوره على كميات وقود هائلة تريد «اسرائيل» السطو عليها.

هذا ما يدفع اليونان للعودة الى الأساطير الإغريقية لضمّ قبرص فتجد تركيا متهيئة لحرب عسكرية من أجل عيون «أفردوديت» ورائحة الغاز المنبعث منها التي تجد أيضاً الاوروبيين الحالمين ايضاً بالعودة الى المتوسط.

لذلك لا يمكن تفسير أسباب الحروب في منطقة الشرق الاوسط الا بمدى الحاجة اليها في عصور الغاز على مستويي الاحتياطات او مناطق المرور.

فهذه هندسات مستقبلية يجري رسمها بدماء شعوب المنطقة وانصياع دولهم وحكامهم لحركة أقلام الرسم في مختبرات صناعات الدول. ألم ترسم دبلوماسية بريطانية في بغداد حدود العراق وهي تضع ساقيها الطويلتين على طاولة عالية للمزيد من التركيز؟

فتظهر سورية خزاناً للوقود، ومعبراً له الى اوروبا، ومطمعاً مباشراً للأميركيين والسعوديين والقطريين والأتراك والإسرائيليين. بما يفسر أسباب تركيز هذه الدول حروبها في سورية.

ونتيجة لبدء مشارف عصر الغاز، يريد الأميركيون منع روسيا والصين والأوروبيين والهند من احتكار قسم أساسي من احتياطاته فيحاولون جهدهم ضرب ايران او محاصرة احتياطاتها الهيدروكربونية ويريدون أيضاً خطوط نقل يحاولون بناءها بالحروب لضرب أدوار الغاز الروسي او بالاضطرابات والضغوط الاقتصادية وتفجير الداخل.

لذلك فهم يهندسون هذه الخطوط بشكل يخرج فيه الغاز القطري الى العراق وسورية فالمتوسط بإسقاط الدولة السورية وهذا فشل.

والغاز السعودي المرتقب الى سورية عبر الاردن والى البحر الاحمر ايضاً. هذا الى جانب منع نهائي لتصدير غاز إيران عبر العراق الى سورية او أي علاقة تصدير للغاز او النفط من العراق الى سورية مباشرة.

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كما يسعى الأميركيون الى تأسيس حلف للغاز بين الكيان الإسرائيلي واليونان وقبرص ومصر وحظر روسيا من التموضع في الشرق والشمال السوريين حيث الغاز والنفط ودحر الصين الى أقصى الأرض، فيتبين بالاستنتاج ان الصراع الاميركي الروسي الصيني الإيراني التركي والإسرائيلي يجري في ميدان عربي صرف لا تخترقه الا قبرص، ومضمونه استراتيجي جيوبوليتيكي يهندس عصر عالم متعدّد القطب ركيزته الوقود الأحفوري ومحوره المدى العراقي السوري المحطة الأساسية لترجيح واحدة من القوتين الأميركية او الروسية.

ففيما تحاول اميركا القضاء على خطوط النقل الروسية من تركيا وسورية يركز الأميركيون على ضرب سورية واعتقال تركيا واحتلال العراق وإسقاط إيران، فيما العرب عاكفون على تسليم ثرواتهم للأميركيين مقابل تعهد أميركي بإبقاء القرون الوسطى ورقصة «العرضة» وسباق العجن في إماراتهم.

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ماذا يعني الاختراق الروسي لبحار الخليج؟

يوليو 31, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

تتحضّر روسيا لإرسال بوارجها الى المحيط الهندي وبحر عدن حتى حدود مضيق هرمز الفاصل بين المجالات البحرية لإيران وعمان، بذريعة إجراء مناورات عسكرية مشتركة مع البحرية الإيرانية.

لا بدّ هنا من الإشارة الى الطابع الجيوبوليتيكي لهذا الدخول باعتبار أن الاتحاد السوفياتي السلف الذي ورثته روسيا الحالية، لم تكن لديه مرافئ صديقة في الخليج، للرسو والتموين من التزوّد بالوقود. فإيران كانت شاهنشاهية معادية له في ما كان الجانب العربي من الخليج خاضعاً لهيمنة أميركية كاملة تمسك بالأجواء والبحر الى درجة الخنق وتحت شعارات العداء للإلحاد الشيوعي.

ما هي مصلحة روسيا في هذا التطوّر؟

يملأ أولاً حاجة روسيا لحيازة مكان هام في قلب حركة الصراع على الشرق الأوسط من بوابة بحاره وأمن الملاحة فيه، متحالفاً مع إيران التي تقف في وجه المحاولات الأميركية لتدميرها كطريقة لإنعاش تفرّدها بالقرار الدولي لذلك فإن هذا الدخول الروسي له أهداف تبدأ بتقليص قوة الضغط الأميركية على عنف إيران، ما يعني استتباعاً، المزيد من تقهقر الأحادية الأميركية مقابل الاستمرار في الصعود الروسي والصيني.

لكن لروسيا حساباتها الخاصة الإضافية المؤدية الى الأهداف نفسها، وتتعلق اولاً بنمو حاجتها للدخول الى اليمن عبر الصراع اليمني مع الأميركيين والسعوديين على الساحل الغربي والحديدة، أي المنطقة المشرفة على باب المندب الذي لا يقل أهمية استراتيجية عن مضيق هرمز، بما يعني مراكمة أهميات جيوبوليتيكية عند الذي يهيمن على حركته البحرية أو يشارك في جزء من إدارته.

وهكذا تبدو الحركة الروسية الجديدة، وكأنها تتدحرج على هدي العلاقة مع إيران فتطمح لدور يمني يخترق موانئ الحديدة من زوايا الصراع الأميركي ـ السعودي والإيراني من جهة ثانية.

للإشارة فإن سياسة الرئيس الروسي بوتين تتحاشى أي سوء في علاقاتها مع السعودية، ما يجعلها تكتفي بالتحرك البحري حتى حدود هرمز الإيراني أي بعيداً عن الساحل السعودي المطلّ على الخليج.

أما الأسباب فعلى ارتباط بالتنسيق الروسي ـ السعودي الذي أدّى حتى الآن الى استقرار النفط أسعاراً وأسواقاً بمواكبة نمو تدريجي لعلاقات اقتصادية واعدة تشمل احتمالات شراء السعودية لمنظومة سلاح روسي جوّي وبرّي.

هذا ما يجعل التحرك الروسي في الخليج حذراً ولن يتقدم بسرّعة إلا بعد صدور صرخات استغاثة أميركية نتيجة فشل مرتقب لعقوباتها على إيران. وهناك احتمال آخر وهو نجاح الأميركيين بتركيب حلف ما يزعمون أنه لأمن الملاحة في الخليج مع الأوروبيين وبلدان عربية ودول من آسيا وأوستراليا.

عند هذا الحد لن يكتفي الروس بالتدحرج التدريجي نحو بحار الشرق الأوسط بل يرفعون من عيار سرعتهم بمعونة صينية مع دول أخرى من منظمتي البريكس وشانغهاي، فالصراع في الخليج ليس على مياه بحاره، بل على اقتصاده وثرواته من النفط والغاز وقدرته على استهلاك أي نوع من السلع، لأنه لا ينتج شيئاً.

تكفي الإشارة هنا إلى أن صحراء الربع الخالي تحتوي بمفردها على أضعاف عدة من الغاز الموجود في العالم، وربما أكثر حسب ما يتسرّب من مراكز أبحاث الطاقة في الغرب الذي يبرر اندلاع جزء من الصراع الدولي على الشرق الأوسط تحت مسمّيات أمن الملاحة فيه.

هناك إذاً خشية روسية من الإمساك الأميركي بالشرق الأوسط مجدداً فتتجاوز واشنطن بلعبة أمن الملاحة خسائرها في سورية والعراق واليمن، فتستعيده بتشكيل هذا الحلف الملاحي الماخر عباب الأمواج بحثاً عن الغاز والنفط.

كما تُجهض بذلك محاولات أوروبية للخروج من هيمنتها التي امسكت بتلابيب القارة العجوز منذ 1945 وأجلستها على المقاعد الخلفيّة لنفوذها، ترى الثروات وقد تشارك في جبايتها، إنما من الحق باقتطاع أي شيء منها باستثناء الفتات المتساقط جراء تعثر قوة الهضم الأميركية.

لكن موسكو لا تتوقع نجاحاً أميركياً بتشكيل تحالف دولي ملاحي لغايات أبعد، وتراهن على التردّد الأوروبي الباحث عن استقلالية واستمرار الصمود الإيراني والإحباط الذي يسري في المشاريع السياسية للدول العربية في الخليج، التي كانت تعتقد أن واشنطن عازمة على تدمير إيران بضربة ساحقة ماحقة، لا تحتاج لقصف لمدة أسبوع، لكنها ترى وبعد أشهر على بدء التوتير الحربي أن إيران تتمرد على الجبروت الاميركي وبعض التلاعب الأوروبي وتهديدات «إسرائيل»، وهذا ما استولد إحباطاً عميقاً عند عرب الخليج، كما يراهن بوتين أيضاً على تأجيج الصراع التركي ـ الأميركي، بما يخدم الصعود الروسي نحو القرار الدولي وبالتالي التراجع الأميركي عن السيطرة المطلقة على العالم.

لذلك، فإن ما أعلنه الادميرال قائد القوات البحرية الإيرانية حسين خان زاده في موسكو منذ يومين حول بدء المناورات المشتركة بين البحريتين الإيرانية والروسية من المحيط الهندي، إلى مضيق هرمز، انما هو رسالة الى الأوروبيين وبضرورة الحياد عن المشروع الأميركي في الخليج، ويشبه تهديداً الى الأميركيين بأن روسيا لن تتخلى عن إيران بحسابات خاصة تتعلّق بطموحها لدور في القرار الدولي، ولن تسمح بالتالي بعودة الأحادية الاميركية الى خنق روسيا والصين وأوروبا والاستئثار بالاقتصاد العالمي كما فعلت في مرحلة 1990 ـ 2018 هذه المرحلة التي جعلت الأميركيين يمسكون بمفاصل العالم ثقافياً وسياسياً واقتصادياً وعسكرياً، مواصلين احتفاظهم بجزء كبير منها حتى اليوم.

هذه إذاً رسالة، لكنها قابلة للتنفيذ وما الدليل على انها رسالة إلا توسيعها لمدة المناورات حتى بدء السنة الفارسية الجديدة في آذار 2020.

وهذا يكشف أن التحرك الاميركي الفعلي في بحر الخليج لن يبدأ إلا بعد الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية في 2020 أيضاً كما يعتقد الروس، بما يشير إلى أن الصراعات البحريّة في الخليج الدائرة ضمن أحلاف تتطلّب وقتاً وظروفاً خاصة بها.

أما الذي لا شك فيه، فهو مشروع ولادة حلف صيني روسي إيراني قد تنضم إليه الهند وتركيا، بوسعه إعادة نصب صراع دولي متوازن يقلّص من حجم الهيمنة الأميركية، معيداً شيئاً من الاحترام للقانون الدولي وليس «قانون الأقوى»، لكن العرب بمفردهم لإعلانه لهم بما يجري لأنهم لا يزالون على متن النوق في القرون الوسطى.

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