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Syria - the center of the gas war in the middle East
Material posted: Publication date: 03-02-2013

The militia of the media against Syria, and military action against it directly associated with the global scramble for energy, as evidenced in our published article, Professor Imad, Swabi.

At the very moment when the Eurozone is facing destruction, when due to acute economic crisis, the debt of the United States increased to 14 940 billion, and their influence is waning the face of emerging powers BRICS, it is impossible not to agree that the key to economic prosperity and political dominance is control over the main energy source of the 21st century: gas. That's why, being in the middle of the biggest on the planet gas field, Syria is under the gun. The war of the last century were fought over oil, now begins a new era, the era of gas wars.

After the destruction of the Soviet Union, the Russians realized that they had exhausted the arms race, and they do not have sufficient resources necessary for any industrialized country. On the contrary, the United States failed to achieve economic prosperity and to decide foreign policy without much effort due to its presence for several decades in the areas of oil fields. For this reason, the Russian, in turn, has also decided to access to energy resources, both oil and gas. Considering that the oil sector, due to the completeness of its international section, has no prospect, Moscow made a bet on natural gas, its production, transportation and marketing on a large scale.

The start was given in 1995 , when Vladimir Putin set to Gazprom a new challenge: to move from development of its oil fields gas fields of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran (marketing) and the Middle East. Of course, the projects North stream and South stream will forever remain a credit to Vladimir Putin for the removal of Russia in the international arena and exert pressure on the European economy, as it is for decades to come will be, depending on the gas, as an alternative or Supplement to oil, but with a clear priority of gas. After that, Washington had to create a competing project, Nabucco, to compete with Russian projects and not miss out of control that will determine the strategy and policy for a hundred years. In the 21st century, gas will be the main source of energy simultaneously as an alternative to diminishing world oil reserves and as an energy source. Therefore, the control over the world's gas fields by the old and emerging powers is becoming a source of international conflict, manifested at the regional levels.


The stages of the great gas game

A glance at the map of gas fields and pipelines, we see that the major gas reserves and access to them are concentrated in the following areas:

  1. Russia: Vyborg and Dzhugba
  2. Annexed By Russia: Turkmenistan
  3. Close to Russia: Azerbaijan and Iran
  4. Separated from Russia: Georgia
  5. Eastern Mediterranean: Syria and Lebanon
  6. Qatar and Egypt

Moscow began to work in two strategic areas. The first is a long – term Sino-Russian project, based on the economic growth of the Shanghai bloc, and the second provides for the control of gas fields. With this purpose, were laid the foundations of projects Nord stream and South stream, opposed to the American project Nabucco, supported by the European Union and is designed for gas of Azerbaijan and the Black sea. These two initiatives followed strategic course and the control of Europe and gas fields.

For Russia...

The Nord stream pipeline directly connects Russia with Germany via the Baltic sea to Greifswald bypassing Belarus.

The gas pipeline South stream starts in Russia, passes under the Black sea to Bulgaria and further to Greece and the South of Italy, on the one hand, and Hungary and Austria, on the other hand.

For The United States...

The Nabucco gas pipeline coming from Central Asia and the surrounding area of the Black sea, passes through Turkey where are the storage, then crosses Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, up to Austria and from there diverges to the Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. Initially, he had to pass through Greece, but this idea was abandoned under pressure from Turkey.

Nabucco is seen as a competitor to the Russian project. Its construction was originally planned for 2014 but due to technical difficulties postponed for 2017. As a result, the gas and the battle turned into a success for the Russian project, but now everyone is trying to expand the project to new areas.

This concerns, on the one hand, Iranian gas, which the United States would like to use in the Nabucco project, by combining with the Erzurum field in Turkey and, on the other hand, gas deposits of the Eastern Mediterranean: Syria, Lebanon and Israel.

However, in July 2011, Iran signed several agreements to transport gas through Iraq and Syria. So Syria becomes a major center for the storage and production of natural gas, together with gas reserves in Lebanon. Now this is a brand new geographical, strategic and energy space, including Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The obstacles that this project was more than a year, gives an idea about the intensity of the fighting which broke out over control of Syria and Lebanon.

As for Turkey, she feels she will be excluded from this gas war, due to the fact that the Nabucco project is delayed two other projects, the Nord stream and South stream, do not touch it, and the gas of the Eastern Mediterranean became her inaccessible due to its remoteness from Nabucco.


Axis Moscow – Berlin

30 March 2006, former German Chancellor was appointed to head the consortium on building of gas pipeline Nord stream. For their projects, Moscow has created in 90-ies the company Gazprom. Germany, which once and for all wanted to be free from the effects of the Second World War, took part in it in terms of equipment, monitoring of the Northern pipelines and storage sites for North flow within their zone of influence, in particular in Austria. Joint stock company Gazprom was established in collaboration with Hans-Joachim göring, close to Moscow, a German, a former Vice-President of the German industrial gas company, which oversaw the construction of gas pipelines in the GDR. Until October 2011 it was headed by Vladimir Kotenev, former Russian Ambassador in Germany.

Gazprom signed a large number of transactions with German firms, among which in the first row are those who collaborate with the Northern stream , such giants as the energy company E. ON and BASF; despite the fact that E. ON signed provisions to guarantee preferred rates in case of increase in gas prices, which to some extent comes down to "political" subsidies of the German companies of the energy sector of Russia.

Moscow benefited from the liberalization of European gas markets and have achieved separation of distribution networks from production facilities. After was turn the page of disputes between Russia and Berlin started a new phase of economic cooperation based on reducing the burden of a huge debt, pressing on the shoulders of Germany, and debt of the whole of Europe, from the American yoke. Germany believes that all of the German area (Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland) should be the heart of Europe and not have to experience the consequences of aging of the entire continent and the decline of another superpower.

German initiatives include Gazprom joint venture Wingas with Wintershall, a subsidiary of chemical company BASF, which is the largest oil and gas supplier in Germany and controls 18% of the gas market. Gazprom provided its main German partners of unequal participation in the Russian assets. So BASF and E. ON each control approximately quarter of the Yuzhno-Russkoye oil and gas field, which is the resource base for Nord stream; it is no mere coincidence that the German partner of Gazprom under the name of "Gazprom Germany" will own 40% stake in the Austrian company Austrian Centrex Co., specializing in gas storage and designed to extend in the direction of Cyprus.

This expansion does not suit Turkey, which is experiencing a severe need in its participation in the Nabucco project. Her role was to be in the storage, the commercialization and transit 31 and then 40 billion cubic meters of gas per year. This project more and more compels Ankara to the decisions of Washington and NATO despite the fact that its accession to the European Union several times was rejected.

Strategic communication for gas to the extent determined by the policy of Moscow that the recent lobbying of the German Social-democratic party of the Federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, a major industrial base and centre of the German conglomerate RWE, the electricity supplier and subsidiary of the energy company E. ON.

This influence was acknowledged by Hans-Joseph fell, in charge of energy policy in the green Party. According to him four German companies related to Russia play a leading role in the definition of German energy policy. They rely on the Committee of economic relations of Eastern Europe, that is, enterprises that are in close economic contact with Russia and countries of the former Soviet bloc. This Committee has a very complex network of influences on Ministers and public opinion. However, based on the need to increase "energy security" in Europe, in Germany against the growing influence of Russia prefer to keep a modest silence.

It must be emphasized that Germany believes that the policy of the European Union to resolve the Euro crisis could eventually hinder the Russian-German investments. This argument, along with others, explains that she is in no hurry to save the Euro, weighed down by European debt, and that the German unit was able to pay its debts. Moreover, every time Europeans oppose its policy against Russia, Germany declares that the utopian plans of Europe are not feasible and may push Russia to sell its gas in Asia, jeopardizing Europe's energy security.

Common Russian-German interests are grounded in the legacy of the cold war, in which Germany is home to three million Russian-speaking, forming the largest after the Turks Diaspora. Putin has a lot of experience in using the network of former officials of the GDR, who took care of servicing the interests of Russian companies in Europe, not to mention the recruit former Stasi agents. These include, for example, the Director of personnel and Finance of Gazprom Germany and the financial Director of the consortium Nord stream, Warning Mathias, who according to the newspaper Wall Street Journal have helped Putin recruit spies in Dresden, when he was a young KGB agent. But we should recognize that Russia's use of old ties was not considered reprehensible in Germany, because the interests of neither the one nor the other was not infringed.

Project Nord stream, the main link between Russia and Germany, was recently inaugurated by the completion of the laying of the first pipeline at a cost of 4.7 billion euros. Although this pipeline connects Russia and Germany, Europeans have recognized that it guarantees energy security, while France and Holland were quick to say that it is about "European" project. In this connection it should be mentioned that Mr. Linder, Executive Director of the German Committee on economic relations with the countries of Eastern Europe, said, not even smiling, that this "project is a European, not German, and that he will not put Germany even more dependent on Russia." This statement testifies to the anxiety, which causes the growth of Russian influence in Germany, because the project Nord stream is structurally nothing like the Moscow plan, not a European one.

Russia can block the flow of energy through Poland in a few other countries at its discretion and to sell gas to the highest bidder. However, the importance of Russia for Germany is that the latter is a platform from which Russia can develop its continental strategy. Gazprom Germania is a party to 25 multimodal projects in the UK, Italy, Turkey, Hungary and several other countries. This allows us to Express the assertion that Gazprom after a certain time has to become one of the most significant companies in the world, if not the most significant.


To draw a new map of Europe, and then around the world

The heads of Gazprom not just designed and implemented their project, they made it so that blocked the way for the Nabucco project. So Gazprom holds in his hands 30% of the project on construction of gas pipeline to Europe, following almost the same path as Nabucco, and for a recognition of its participants the project is in order to show his power, braking and even blocking the Nabucco project. In addition, Moscow hastened to buy up gas in Central Asia and the Caspian sea with the aim to strangle and at the same time laugh over Washington in the political, economic, and strategic plan.

Gazprom operates gas facilities in Austria, i.e. in the strategic outskirts of Germany, takes own facilities in the UK and France. However, the most important are gas storage facilities in Austria; they will serve for redrawing the energy map of Europe, and to implement the gas supply in Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Italy and Germany. These structures need to add gas storage Katrina, which Gazprom builds in cooperation with Germany, in order to be able to export gas to the countries of Eastern Europe.

Gazprom jointly with Serbia built storage for gas supplies to Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Serbia itself. Research on reliability has been conducted on storage methods, similar to the Czech Republic, Romania, Belgium, Britain, Slovakia, Turkey, Greece and even France. Gazprom thus strengthens the position of Moscow, which supplies Europe 41% of it consumed gas.

This has a significant impact on relations between East and West as to the short and long term. It also heralds the sunset of American power embarking on the deployment of the missile shield, seeing the establishment of a new world order, the main stronghold of which will be gas. This is also due to the intensification of the struggle for the gas of the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean sea in the middle East.


Obstacles for the Nabucco project and Turkey

Having neither the resource base nor to certain consumers, Nabucco is constantly pushed for time. Nabucco was to ensure the transit of gas to a distance of 3,900 kilometers from Turkey to Austria, and supply to European markets is 31 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from the middle East and Caspian basin. The willingness of the NATO coalition - United States – France to end the obstacles that are erected against their gas interests in the middle East, based on the fact that they needed to ensure the stability and the goodwill of the local population to the facilities and investments in gas production. Syria responded by signing the contract for the transit through its territory and Iraqi territory by Iranian gas. Thus, the fight for Syrian and Lebanese gas comes down to the question, whose resource base will become the gas: Nabucco or Nord stream ?

The Nabucco consortium consists of several companies: German (REW), Austrian (OML), Turkey (Botas), Bulgarian (Energy Holding Company) and Romanian (Transgaz). Five years ago, the initial project cost was estimated at $ 11.2 billion dollars, but she may grow to 21.4 billion dollars in 2017. It raises many questions regarding its economic viability given that Gazprom was able to conclude contracts with the countries which were to provide the resource base for Nabucco, and the latter can now only rely on the surplus of Turkmenistan, especially after the fruitless attempts of mastering the Iranian gas. This is one of the little-known secrets of the battle for Iran, which crossed the red line with his call to USA and Europe by choosing Iraq and Syria as the way to export its gas.

Thus, the best hope for Nabucco remains in the Azerbaijan gas field Shah Deniz, has become almost the only resource bases of this project, which seems to be approaching its end before it begins. This explains the haste in the signing of contracts conducted by Moscow, for the purchase of resources originally intended for the Nabucco project, on the one hand, and the difficulties faced by the Americans in trying to impose political conditions of Iran, Syria and Lebanon, on the other hand. In the meantime, Turkey is diligently trying to claim their share in the Nabucco project or signing a contract with Azerbaijan for the purchase of 6 billion cubic meters of gas in 2017 or by the annexation of Syria and Lebanon in the hope to prevent the transit of Iranian oil or to seize a part of the Lebanese-Syrian gas reserves. Externally, the role of which was occupied by the gas in the new world order, is expressed through the provision of certain services, from military support to opposition forces to provide areas for placement of strategic missile defense.

But perhaps the main danger for the Nabucco project represents the Russian attempt to disrupt the project the conclusion of the Gazprom contracts more profitable for the Nord stream and South stream than Nabucco. This will neutralize the efforts of the United States and Europe, will reduce the impact and harm their energy policy in Iran and/or the Mediterranean. In addition, Gazprom could become a major investor and contractor for new gas fields in Syria and Lebanon. No coincidence that on 16 August 2011, Syrian Oil Minister announced the discovery of a gas well in Qara, near HOMS. Its performance can reach to 400,000 cubic meters per day (140 million cubic meters per year), excluding gas Mediterranean sea.

Projects Nord stream and South stream thus reduced the political influence of America and it is today, is deplorable. Hostility between the States of Central Europe weakened, only the United States and Poland seems not disposed to give it up. At the end of October 2011, they announced a change to their energy policies after the discovery of coal deposits in Europe, which should reduce their dependence on Russia and the Middle East. This project seems ambitious, but in the long run, due to the fact that it is necessary to perform many procedures for its use. This coal lies at a depth of several thousand meters under the sediment layer and gas release it is necessary to use the technology of hydraulic fracturing under high pressure, not considering risks to the environment.


The Participation Of China

The Shanghai cooperation organization, which includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Chinese-Russian cooperation in the energy sector is the engine of the strategic partnership between the two powers. According to experts, it is the basis of the double veto on a resolution on Syria.

This cooperation applies not only to energy supplies in China on favorable terms. China is directly involved in gas distribution through the acquisition of assets and structures, in addition to the joint control of distribution networks. In parallel, Moscow is demonstrating flexibility in relation to the price of gas with the condition of obtaining access to the very best of China's domestic market. According to the agreement, Russian and Chinese experts will continue to collaborate in the following areas: "Coordination strategies in the energy sector, forecasting, search, and market development, research on energy efficiency and finding alternative sources of energy."

Other common strategic interests concern the risks in respect of the project of "missile shield" of the USA. Washington not only got involved in Japan and South Korea, but also sent in early September 2011 invitation to India to become a party to it. So when Washington gives you the full progress of its strategy in Central Asia on the Great Silk Way, both countries, this raises the same concern. This strategy is not different from the one used by George Bush (the project of Great Central Asia) to eliminate the influence of Russia and China, in collaboration with Turkey to resolve the situation in Afghanistan until 2014, and to impose military force of NATO dominance in the region. Uzbekistan has already hinted that he could accept NATO on its territory, Vladimir Putin decided that to thwart the plans of the Western invasion and to prevent the undermining of Russia, could the expansion of the customs space Russia – Kazakhstan – Belarus cooperation with Beijing.

An overview of the mechanisms of current international struggle allows you to get an idea about the process of forming a new world order based on military superiority, and its main pillar is energy and, primarily, natural gas.


Syrian gas

The so-called "Syrian revolution" is just a umbrella, masking the Western military intervention to seize gas fields . When Israel started in 2009 to oil and gas extraction, it became clear that the game introduced the whole Mediterranean basin, and Syria will be the object of attack, or the whole region will live in peace, for it is believed that the 21st century will be the century of clean energy.

According to the Washington Institute for near East policy, a think tank of the American Israel public Affairs Committee, the Mediterranean basin contains the largest gas reserves, and most of them are located in Syria. The same Institute has suggested that the struggle between Turkey and Cyprus escalated due to the fact that Turkey cannot come to terms with the loss of the Nabucco project (despite the signed with Moscow the agreement on the transit of the Northern part of the gas flow through Turkey).

The disclosure of the secret of the Syrian gas allows one to realize the enormity of the stakes on Syria. Who controls Syria will control the entire middle East. And after Syria, the gate of the Middle East, he will receive "the key of the House under the name of Russia", as claimed by the Empress Catherine II, and also the key from China, via the silk Road. Thus he will gain the ability to control the world because this century is the century of Gas.

For this reason, the signatories of the Damascus agreement for Iranian gas through Iraq and access to the Mediterranean sea, opening a new geopolitical space and cutting the lifeline project, Nabucco, said that, "Syria is the key to a new era".

Imad Fawzi, Swabi


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