The Role of Greece in the Geostrategic Chessboard of Natural Gas

As earlier described, don’t count Greece out of the picture, as they are much too critical for the German dominated EU to lose. Germany needs energy independence from Russia and needs to keep the EU in tact as a whole, otherwise a broken up European continent would not provide the solidarity needed to stand up to the Soviets.  Without one, or both, Germany would otherwise remain a stagnant useless nation plagued with external and internal security issues. Greece will become a major, if not the major, energy transit hub for all of Europe. China also once hailed Greece as the “gateway to Europe”.

 

Amid the hard times Greece is going through, the assertion that it is turning into an important regional player in the natural gas scene is not an exaggeration. Its geostrategic location on the map offers a number of advantages, which can translate to an economic competitive advantage, as well as to an upgrade of its geopolitical role in South-East Europe.

Firstly, Greece’s role in the international chessboard of pipelines becomes critical. The selection of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as the avenue for EU’s Southern Energy Corridor, as well as the pending project for the Greece-Italy Poseidon (IGI) pipeline with the participation of DEPA, is decisive; not only will it support local economies during the construction phase, but also ‘locks’ this particular route through Greece as the main entrance hub of Azeri gas to Europe. Continue reading

EU wants ‘Mediterranean hub’ for Azeri gas

Key policy ties in with the Maltese government’s prospective energy shift to gas, supplied by Azeri state corporation SOCAR

The European Union is looking southwards to develop a “southern gas corridor” for natural gas from Azerbaijan to fuel the European mainland.

The European Commission released an EU energy security strategy earlier this week, in response to the political crisis in Ukraine which is threatening gas supplies from Russia, after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia could cut off supplies to Ukraine unless the latter starts to pay off its gas debt, which Russia’s Gazprom says stands at €2.5 billion. Continue reading

Italy looks at Mediterranean for alternatives to Russian gas

Italy could increase gas imports from Algeria, Libya and the Netherlands to counter any disruption of supplies from Russia, Deputy Industry Minister Claudio De Vincenti said on Monday as G7 energy ministers gathered in Rome.

“We are capable of rapidly increasing imports from the supplier countries … Libya, Algeria and the Netherlands,” De Vincenti told Reuters.

Italy, which generates more than 40% of its electricity from gas, is increasingly dependent on Russian gas as Algerian imports decline and Libyan supplies are limited by growing unrest in the country. Continue reading

The Russian Military Has an Action Plan Involving Georgia if Iran Is Attacked

Bits of information have been appearing, indicating the essence of Russian military action. Last December it was disclosed that families of servicemen from the Russian base in Armenia have been evacuated to Russia, while the troops have been moved from the capital, Yerevan, north to Gumri – closer to the borders of Georgia and Turkey. The preparation of Russian forces in Armenia for action in the event of military conflict with Iran began “two years ago” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, December 15).

Large scale “strategic” military exercises Kavkaz-2012 are planned for next September, but it is reported that preparations and deployments of assets have begun already because of the threat of the possible war with Iran. New command and control equipment has been deployed in the region capable of using GLONASS (Russian GPS) targeting information. The air force in the South Military District (SMD) is reported to have been rearmed “almost 100 percent” with new jets and helicopters. In 2008, Kavkaz-2008 maneuvers allowed the Russian military to covertly deploy forces that successfully invaded Georgia (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, January 16).

The above stream of reports by official spokesmen and carried by government news agencies describes the forming of an offensive spearhead force in the SMD facing Transcaucasia. The force is too heavily armed with modern long-range weapons to be exclusively intended to take on the dispersed rebel guerrilla forces in Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria. This week, the Secretary of the Georgian National Security Council Giga Bokeria told radio Ekho Moskvi about the growing threat of a war with Russia (Ekho Moskvi, April 2).

In Tbilisi, the possible threat of a new Russian invasion is connected to the parliamentary elections scheduled for next October and possible disturbances that may accompany them. According to polls, the ruling party of President Mikheil Saakashvili seems to be poised for another landslide victory, while the opposition movement, organized by the Russian-based billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, seems to be failing to gather mass support.

Of course, Moscow would be glad to see the electoral defeat of Saakashvili, but the Iranian war is a much more important issue. The Russian spearhead may be ordered to strike south to prevent the presumed deployment of US bases in Transcaucasia, to link up with the troops in Armenia, and take over the South Caucasus energy corridor along which Azeri, Turkmen and, other Caspian natural gas and oil may reach European markets. By one swift military strike Russia may ensure control of all the Caucasus and the Caspian states that were its former realm, establishing a fiat accompli the West, too preoccupied with Iran, would not reverse. At the same time, a small victorious war would unite the Russian nation behind the Kremlin, allowing it to crush the remnants of the prodemocracy movement “for fair elections.” And as a final bonus, Russia’s military action could perhaps finally destroy the Saakashvili regime.

Full article: The Russian Military Has an Action Plan Involving Georgia if Iran Is Attacked (The Jamestown Foundation)