Greece May Be Key Player In European Energy Security

…which is why it’s often said here that Greece is going nowhere (See also HERE and HERE). It simply holds too much strategic value as it is the gateway to Europe. Whether it’s 100% submission to the German-led troika or a parallel currency compromise, the most likely option, it will stick around in one form or another.

 

The United States is reporting some success in persuading Greece to accommodate a Western-backed pipeline through Turkey to supply Europe with gas from the Caspian Sea rather than an alternative project – backed by Moscow – that would ship Russian gas.

Washington sent Amos Hochstein, the State Department’s special envoy on energy affairs, to Athens to discuss the options with several Greek officials. On May 8 Hochstein reported that both sides “agreed on more than we disagreed.” Continue reading

Does Turkey Prefer A European Or Eurasian Energy Union?

December 2014 saw the reemergence of competition between rival pipeline projects in Eurasia—similar to the earlier competition between the Nabucco natural gas pipeline, proposed by a consortium of European companies, and Russia’s South Stream. Currently, Russia’s new proposed pipeline project—Turkish Stream—is challenging the Azerbaijani-initiated Southern Gas Corridor, which will carry Caspian-basin gas to Europe via the South Caucasus, Turkey and then across Southeastern Europe.

Turkey is already signed on to the Southern Gas Corridor—the Corridor’s longest pipeline segment, the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), will cross Turkey from east to west—but it is also being strongly courted by Moscow to host Turkish Stream (see EDM, December 17, 2014; February 20, 2015). This growing significance of Turkey in competing large-scale energy transit projects across Europe and Eurasia has also opened up a discussion domestically regarding which prospective energy union the country should become part of—European or Eurasian. Continue reading

Putin prepares bitter and hysterical missile surprise to ‘American partners’

The article, which is blatantly pro-Russia, cannot be dismissed. The threats coming from Russia are real.

 

Russia’s new sea-based cruise missiles reduce the military power of the United States on a vast geopolitical region from Warsaw to Kabul and from Rome to Baghdad.

Information about new Russian sea-launched cruise missiles could be a reason. Putin announced the deployment of such missiles and said that the missiles would bring the US military power to nothing and minimize Washington’s superiority on a vast geopolitical region from Warsaw to Kabul and from Rome to Baghdad.

Here is how the story was developing.  Continue reading

Russia Is About To Absorb Part of Another Country

Surely, if this escalates into another war, the propaganda masters behind the last Russian-Georgian war will effectively paint tiny Georgia as the aggressor. The previous, long-planned and pre-determined 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia, that is. The next invasion would likely permanently take away the energy corridor from the Caspian Sea to Europe planned under the Bush/Cheney administration to bring independence. This is also why you see Europe frantically scrambling to find alternatives to Russian resources.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, it was never about an aggressive rogue military in a nation barely larger than Israel. But that’s what the masses believe and it goes to show how effective the propaganda is. You can read more about Georgia under its respective category HERE.

While Moscow continues to be hammered by low oil prices and western-led sanctions, it is doubling down on hard-edged political and financial retribution: Russia is preparing to absorb a province of neighboring Georgia, and delivering an ultimatum to Europe that it could lose much of the Russian gas on which it relies.

Ten months after annexing Crimea and igniting his current standoff with the west, Russian president Vladimir Putin will as early as this week take control of South Ossetia, a breakaway region of Georgia, with which he has a long, sour relationship. He is to sign a little-publicized accord that will hand over foreign policy, border control, and security to Moscow. Continue reading

Russia, Turkey pivot across Eurasia

As was stated here before ahead of the trend, the West is punishing Russia by shooting itself in the foot while the Soviets are laughing all the way to the banks in Turkey and China.

 

The latest, spectacular “Exit South Stream, Enter Turk Stream” Pipelinistan gambit will be sending big geopolitical shockwaves all across Eurasia for quite some time. This is what the New Great Game in Eurasia is all about.

In a nutshell, a few years ago Russia devised North Stream – fully operational – and South Stream – still a project – to bypass unreliable Ukraine as a gas transit nation. Now Russia devises a new sweet deal with Turkey to bypass the “non-constructive” (Putin’s words) approach of the European Commission (EC) concerning the European “Third Energy Package”, which prohibits one company from controlling the full cycle of extraction, transportation and sale of energy resources.

Russian “defeat”? Really?

Turkey also made a killing. It’s not only the deal with Gazprom; Moscow will build no less than Turkey’s entire nuclear industry, and there will be increased soft power interaction (more trade and tourism). Most of all, Turkey is now increasingly on the verge of becoming a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); Moscow is actively lobbying for it. Continue reading

Iran, Russia hold joint naval exercise

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s state television says two Russian warships have left a northern Iranian port after the two countries held a joint, three-day naval exercise in the Caspian Sea. Continue reading

The Galloping Militarization of Eurasia

Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula and the deployment of up to 40,000 troops on Ukraine’s border to support the actions of pro-Russian separatist forces have been widely identified as a turning point in the “post-Cold War” European security system. But Russia’s militarized policy toward Ukraine should not be seen as a spontaneous response to the crisis. It has only been possible thanks to a long-term program by Moscow to build up its military capabilities.

A 21ST CENTURY RUSSIAN MILITARY

To be a “great power” – which is the status that Moscow’s political elite claim for Russia – is to have both an international reach and regional spheres of influence. To achieve this, Moscow understands that it must be able to project military force, so the modernization of Russia’s armed forces has become a key element of its “great power” ambitions. For this reason, seven years ago, a politically painful and expensive military modernization program was launched to provide Russia with new capabilities. One of the key aims of this modernization has been to move the Russian military away from a mass mobilization army designed to fight a large-scale war (presumably against NATO) to the creation of smaller and more mobile combat-ready forces designed for local and regional conflicts. Continue reading

Russia conducts test-launch of ballistic missile

Russia today carried out a successful test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, news agencies reported citing the defence ministry, amid a standoff between Moscow and the West over Ukraine.

Interfax and ITAR-TASS quoted the defence ministry as saying a successful test of the RS-12M Topol ICBM had been carried out from Russia’s Kapustin Yar rocket launch site near the Caspian Sea at 2238 IST (1708 GMT). Continue reading

Caspian sea closed for US military

Within this region, this is likely the final nail in the coffin as far as access for the US is concerned. Russia will now have the area 100% secured and sealed off both economically and militarily, yet more so economically as US military units would likely be sitting ducks in an isolated and hostile region. The Caspian Sea was also one of the main reasons for the pre-planned Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, as a gas pipeline was being brought from the sea into Georgia and on to Europe to help it diversify away from Russia.

A convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea will keep the sea free from any military facilities except of either Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Iran or Azerbaijan, according to nur.kz citing Kazakhstan’s KTK Channel.

The accord was reached between foreign ministers of the five Caspian states at talks held in Moscow.

Although the countries have been in dispute over delimitation of the sea bed for the last two decades, the diplomats came up with unanimous decision on alien military presence. Continue reading

Iran to Set Up Naval Zone in Eastern Caspian Sea

TEHRAN (Tasnim) — Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced on Wednesday that the Navy will establish a naval zone east of the Caspian Sea.

Speaking in a ceremony to mark the National Army Week in the Northern port city of Bandar Anzali on Wednesday, Sayyari emphasized that the navy has increased its forces’ level of preparedness.

“In the near future a new naval zone will be established east of the Caspian Sea,” the commander said. Continue reading

Turkey, Azerbaijan lead revival of modern Silk Road

Hundreds of high-level political figures, CEOs and international experts from around the world explored the economic, political and strategic potential of the region at the third Caspian Forum in Istanbul. Experts and politicians discussed the latest about the Caspian region, particularly efforts to transport its energy resources to an eager European market. Experts described the Caspian as the centre of trade relations between East and West and as the new centre of energy for the world.

Participants at the December 5th forum also discussed the latest on transportation projects designed to establish a modern Silk Road trade route that would link Asia and Europe. Turkey and Azerbaijan have been at the centre of those efforts. Continue reading

Russia will likely benefit from US-Iran deal

Iranian Diplomacy’s exclusive interview with Fyodor Lukyanov, columnist for Al-Monitor and editor of the journal ‘Russia in Global Affairs’

– Many in Iran believe that Russia was the winner in Iran’s isolation and the sanctions against this country. Do you agree with such an assessment? With an improvement in relations with the West, do you predict that Tehran would distance itself from its look-to-the-East policy and prefer the European markets to Russia for its energy?

– Relationship based on inability of one of the partners to choose cannot be sustainable. Yes, Russia benefits from absence of Iranian oil and gas on certain markets, but it no strategy at all. Russia is facing huge challenges with the need to diversify its economy, to find new markets in the East, and there is not a right approach to rely on expectations that powerful competitors are removed from the market. Continue reading

Armed Caspian becomes dangerous

At the end of September – early October, Russia and Iran will carry out joint military drills in the Caspian Sea to train maritime security-enforcement operations. Iranian military attaché to Moscow Col. Suleiman Adeli said: “Iran and Russia want Caspian states to maintain maritime security without interference of foreign states. They consider presence of foreigners a source of tensions and conflict.”

When they mention “foreign interference”, they usually keep the US in mind. Although, it is not only the US that has political, military-strategic and economic interests in the region. The EU and China have own palates. The reason why Caspian states arm themselves is terrorism, extremism, separatism and expansionism of the West. These are the new threats of the Caspian Sea. The US strategy in the Middle East remains a sensitive issue for the Caspian Sea, but the steps made in the Middle East to disrupt the balance of power by pressing on Syria may cause problems for all Caspian and Trans-Caucasus states. Continue reading

Six Balkan countries agree on new routes for energy imports into Western Europe, sign cooperation agreement

Greece could very well regain its footing within the EU should this materialize. It could also serve as the cooridor to Europe for oil and gas deposits within the contested Cyprus region, which was also recently wrestled away from the Turks and Russians by the EU.

On May 23, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Croatia signed a memorandum on cooperation in the implementation of projects concerning the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the Ionic-Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) in Tirana, the capital city of Albania. Montenegrin Foreign Minister Igor Luksic, Vice Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zlatko Lagumdžija, Albanian Foreign Minister Aldo Bumçi and Croatian Deputy Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Joško Klisovic represented their respective countries at the meeting. Continue reading

Russian gas pipeline could doom Europe’s Nabucco plan

Europe’s grand plan for the gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea was derailed with the 2008 Soviet invasion of Georgia. That was the true intention behind the war and not a handful of unruly politicians or military provocations from a nation not much bigger than Israel, with half the capability. Putin himself said the war was pre-planned (Additional source here). Create the crisis and provide the solution — energy dependancy on Russia in this case. That was (and still is) the aim.

  • Europe, U.S. support for Nabucco weakened
  • Azeri consortium expected to pick winner in June
  • Gas due to flow to European Union from 2019

VIENNA/BRUSSELS, May 28 (Reuters) – Europe’s grand plan for a gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea that would make its eastern states less reliant on Russia may have been fatally undermined by Russia’s even bigger project.

As Azerbaijan nears a decision on which pipeline to choose for its future exports, the Nabucco plan that was long the European Union favourite could lose out to the more modest Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) across Greece to southern Italy. Continue reading