Saturday, September 10, 2011

A New Mediterranean Battlefield For Oil and Gas....plan “Barbarossa”...

A New Mediterranean Battlefield For Oil and Gas....
and plan “Barbarossa”... LOL

[Apparently we are witnesses to a bizarre reordering of global alliances. The massive Leviathan gas find in the eastern Med. is bringing-out the true nature of certain nations, namely Israel, Greece and Russia, along with Turkey and only God knows who else, at this point. In my mind, the Russians and Israelis have shared a secret friendship for many years, only seeing it come to light in the great avarice on display off the coast of Lebanon. Turkey's game and the hidden hand of the CIA are a bit harder to figure-out. If Russia and Israel are seriously pursuing the gas off Lebanon and Cyprus, and if Turkey is ready to play the wild card, challenging the Israeli/Russian/Greek claims to all the gas, does this place Israel and America on different sides? Have our Zionist parasites written America off as its host, judging us to be a dying Empire? Has the shitty little country, comprised mostly of Russian Jews, judged the growing gas and oil empire of their former homeland to be a superior "gravy train" in these troubled times?

As preposterous as most of this sounds to the rational observer (it sounds insane to me), but could it be possible that a combination of American economic collapse, Obama's pressure on Israeli fundamentalists, Arab revolutions and international pressure over Gaza, have so moved Netanyahu and his accomplices, as to push them into breaking the long-standing profitable alliance? Has the upcoming move on Palestinian statehood really created a new paradigm for Israel?

Is Turkey really on a break-out course, or is this all just another CIA psyop? How will the Saudis fit into all of this? Turkey's navy is much larger than that of Israel and Greece combined, but that is more than offset by the much stronger Israeli Air Force. If the whole ball game is really up in the air now, because of all these trillions of feet of Mediterranean gas, could it be possible that the much, much larger Russian Navy will come into play off the coasts of Lebanon and Cyprus? Another nightmare seems to be unfolding right before our eyes, doesn't it? Does all of this, together with the chaos unleashed in N. Africa, mean that the Empire has written-off Central Asia as the biggest game in town, or has it merely been turned-down to a slow boil, while the world catches on fire from what is being overcooked in the Middle East?]

By Iason Athanasiadis

Greece’s finances may be battered, so why is the country encouraging a controversial alliance with Israel? With a regional war on the cards for 2011 and Israel in search for allies, the burgeoning Greek-Israeli relationship features sophisticated airborne weapons systems, intelligence collaboration and the discovery of an enormous potential energy supply in disputed waters. Could the eastern Mediterranean be the next battlefield in the proxy war between Turkey, Israel and Iran?

ISTANBUL: A new eastern Mediterranean front has opened in the regional strategic conflict being waged between the US and its allies on one side and a loose alliance of actors including Turkey, Iran and Syria on the other.

The new alliance with Israel was midwifed last year in Russia during a reportedly chance restaurant encounter between Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. Russia’s Gazprom petroleum conglomerate was already eyeing the enormous energy reserves that had just been discovered under the eastern Mediterranean, estimated at 4.3 billion cubic meters of petroleum and a staggering 16 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. Fittingly, the field was named Leviathan.

The Greek-Israeli rapprochement was then nursed last June, after the bloody Israeli interdiction of a humanitarian flotilla headed to Gaza. Greece’s half-American prime minister is an admirer of the Jewish work-ethic and maintains advisers such as Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stieglitz. He exchanged visits with his Israeli counterpart over the summer even as he continued trips to countries such as Libya, courting Arab investment. As the number of Arab tourists in Turkey surged to over a million last year, Israeli arrivals in Turkey plummeted. Many followed the example set by their prime minister, who endorsed the new ties by taking his family on holiday to the Greek islands.

Now Israel is looking to extend a pipeline across the Mediterranean to Greece and jointly exploit Leviathan. Extending all the way from Israel’s coast to Cyprus and including portions of Egypt’s and Lebanon’s territorial waters, it is the largest deepwater natural gas deposit to be discovered in a decade. As regional tensions mount, the UN turned down a Lebanese request to resolve the dispute, the Iranian ambassador to Beirut declared that three quarters of the field belong to his host country and Turkey’s foreign minister refused to recognize a maritime border delineation agreement between Cyprus and Israel that would open the way to drilling. As state-owned Russian monopoly Gazprom shouldered its way into the fray, all the ingredients for the next regional conflagration clicked into place.

The energy-related tensions do not end there. In November, Turkey dispatched two oil-exploration ships into disputed eastern Mediterranean waters, prompting protests from Greece. In a traditionally tense region where Greek and Turkish fighters engage in daily mock dogfights, the potential for escalation is huge. An ongoing court case in Turkey charges members of its military with planning to foment a war with Greece as a pretext to carry out a coup against the incumbent government.

From a Greek perspective, engagement with Israel could attract Israeli investment and technological knowhow to its moribund economy, secure sophisticated arms-sales and win over an influential protector that can act as a foil to a newly-energized Turkey eyeing energy deposits in the Leviathan field and the Aegean Sea.

“Papandreou wants to attract the interest of Israeli business in the Greek economy and perhaps attract US business through Jerusalem,” said Sotiris Roussos, the head of the Center for Mediterranean, Middle East and Islamic Studies at Greece’s University of the Peloponnese. “He also wants to reintroduce Greece as a player with specific natural interests in the eastern Med.”

Greek-Israeli trade, currently approaching half a billion dollars a year, is increasing by 12 percent annually.

Tehran also seems perturbed. On a visit to Greece last December, former Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki offered Greece the status of “favored partner.”

But his words “were more rhetoric and flattery than structured plan,” said an informed Greek foreign ministry official. Mottaki offered no details of what Greece would gain in return for arguing Tehran’s corner in Brussels.

“We very politely said we would consider their offer and left it at that,” the official said, who also revealed that an Iranian embassy official had been caught trying to assess Athens Airport’s security procedures as a “NATO-standard international airport.”

In the same month as Mottaki’s offer, an Israeli delegation was in Athens to discuss “a new military partnership in the Mediterranean” while a Greek military official visited Israel, tasked with purchasing unmanned aerial vehicles and weapons systems for Greece’s F-16 fighter jets.

Greek-Israeli military ties were warming-up years before the political rapprochement. In 2008, Greece earned Iran’s ire when it opened up its airspace for Israeli fighter jets to train for a possible long-range strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Greece’s Russian-purchased S-300 air-defense system is similar to Iran’s.

“Tel Aviv is in need of air and naval space for the conduit of its military maneuvers,” said Ioannis Michaletos, a terrorism analyst, “and the Aegean and East Mediterranean is considered an ideal space for any kind of military exercise due to the challenge that islands and mountain ranges pose to any modern jet or radar equipment.”

The Greek media has been split over the new strategy, with one portion regretting the conclusion of a thirty year pro-Palestinian policy (Greece was the last western country to recognize Israel) and another appearing optimistic over where the new ties can take Greece.

“Any foreign attention is welcome,” said Amnon Sella, professor emeritus at the Hebrew University. “I can imagine that significant ties may evolve in the future.”

Until the Nazis occupied the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, it boasted Europe’s largest Jewish community of immigrants taken in by the Ottoman Empire after the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. But Greece held out from opening an embassy in Israel until 1990 against a background of anti-Israeli and pro-Arab political rhetoric championed by former Prime Minister Andrea Papandreou, the current prime minister’s father.

With a fresh Middle Eastern war widely expected in 2011, Israel is anxiously seeking out new allies in an ever more hostile region. Netanyahu warned Papandreou during their private meeting that Turkey has the capability and intention to acquire a nuclear arsenal. But an alliance with Greece that would also bring Israel closer to Cyprus would see Israeli and Turkish fighter jets eye-to-eye on the disputed island’s airspace.

Some Greek Cypriots view the prospect of a regional face-off with glee.

“The current climate supports the development of a powerful tripartite alliance between Israel, Cyprus and Greece, to which it would be wise to include friendly Egypt which has many reasons to be worried about Turkey’s neo-Ottomanist imperialism,” wrote Savvas Iakovidis in the Simerini daily.

Calmer voices such as Roussos, caution that “Greece has not the resources for a significant role in the Mediterranean. Its political elite is too absorbed by the IMF directives and badly injured by extensive corruption allegations to undertake initiatives regarding the Middle East.”

Under the new agreement, Israeli intelligence services are expected to expand their already significant presence in Greece, a country that hosts over a million mostly Muslim immigrants seeking to reach the northern European Union and has become a potential center for Islamic radicalism.

“Significant Iranian interests such as the presence of Saderat Bank and a large Shi’ite immigrant population prompt Tehran to direct intelligence cells to monitor dissidents in Athens,” said Michaletos. “The Israelis will also be interested in the Hezbollah cells operating in Athens, the strong business links with Beirut, ELPE’s (Greek Petroleum) purchase of Iranian oil and the speculated funneling of Iranian capital flows through Dubai to Greece by Greek-Arab banking interests.”

“You can be sure that Israel has considerable Mossad assets in Greece,” said Philip Giraldi, a former CIA analyst, “but it is more interesting still that they might be angling for some kind of energy deal.”

Iason Athanasiadis – Journalist based in Istanbul, who covers Turkey, the Middle East and Central Asia. Since 1999, he has lived in Cairo, Damascus, Doha, Sana’a and Tehran.

Does Turkey Really Intend to Protect Gaza Cargoes and to Stop Cyprus Gas Exploration?
[If the following report from Ferghana press is correct, and Turkey has decided to flex its military muscles in the eastern Mediterranean to not only protect Gaza aid convoys, but to prevent Israeli contractors from test-drilling off the coast of Cyprus, a lot of people are going to see their delusions blown out the window. (SEE: Greece, Israel agree on military cooperation ; Gazprom/Zionist Partnership On Leviathan ; The Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus Disagreement Over Mediterranean Gas and Oil) As you can see be these links, Israel could have a lot of explaining to do to the UN, for what could be about to transpire. Israel and Cyprus have just signed an agreement on military cooperation. Gazprom (Russian gas co.) announced that it intended to claim 50% of all gas from the Leviathan deposit (I suppose on grounds that about half of Israelis are Russian immigrants). If Turkey's press announcements are for real, then Turkey may be prepared to chart an independent course for itself, something neither the Zionist leaders of US and Israel could never accept.]

Turkey froze military and trade cooperation with Israel and has prepared a plan “Barbarossa”....

It's long past time for the U.S. to stop pretending to be the world's sheriff. We can't afford it, and I don't want to be in the position of having to choose between Los Angeles and Taiwan.

Getting involved in everyone else's business has gotten us 9/11 (stationing troops in Saudi Arabia, bias towards Israel), the first and second Arab Oil blockade, Gulf War I and II, the Afghanistan war, ballooning Homeland Security, DOD, and intelligence spending that has wasted trillions and resulted in the deaths of about 5,000 Americans and tens of thousands of others.Time for all the Rambo wanna-bees to get a job - if anyone would want them....

Add more troubles ahead from the Mediterranean to Africa to South America....

As soon as Brazil announced 2008 ,the discovery of a major oil deposit in its claimed "exclusive national maritime economic zone" of 4.2 million sqkm in the South Atlantic, the U.S. re-activated in 2008, the U.S. 4th Fleet, which it had de-activated in 1946, and organized U.S. Southcom, and formalized U.S. military bases in Colombia near the border of Brazil. Of course, Brazil will never be a military adversary, but de facto, Brazil is now the geopolitical adversary of the U.S. because it is the major component of an independent South America which is formalizing a geopolitical union that is opposing "foreign intervention"....

Noble Energy to ignore Turkish threats on Cyprus....

The real sick joke here is the fact that the americans/british/jews will get most of the pie.

The logical choice would be for Turkey and greece to form one nation along with cyprus and azerbaijan as well as north iraq, and share that wealth between this nation, instead of the snakes constantly getting their way.

This animosity and hatred between the greeks, Turks, cypriots, kurds, armenians etc only works to serve anglo-american interests, whose end goal is to make us all their b1tch.

As long as these nations remain divided, the outcome is obvious. The anglo-american establishment will destroy everything about us and they have done wonders as it is.

Greece exists, not through the self-determination of its own people, but rather through the political designs of an external entity. Such that a Greece cannot exist unless others foreign to the nation demand it. This alone, explains why Greece will always remain a political and economic failure.
Turkish Naval Buildup in the Eastern Mediterranean.....

According to Turkish daily Sabah, Turkey’s new strategic focus is shifting from the Aegean towards East Mediterranean. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had indicated earlier that Turkey would take steps towards ensuring freedom of navigation in Eastern Mediterranean, as a reaction to the Palmer report. In the following days it is expected that the Turkish Navy will start to assert its presence in larger numbers around Cyprus. Accordingly, more frigates, gunboats, submarines, naval helicopters and sentry jets will be allocated to what is called ‘Operation Barbarossa: Aegean Shield’. Additionally, Turkish Navy will now be in constant cruise in the Adriatic, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

According to the plan, Turkey will reinforce its earlier 2006 Aegean Shield operations initiated to protect the territorial waters around Ceyhan area, as the port city has become a major natural gas transportation hub. Based on the strategic concerns over the protection of the Ceyhan area and following Israel’s refusal to apologize over the death of 9 Turkish civilians in the Mavi Marmara debacle, Turkey has deployed 2 additional frigates, gunboats and sentry ships each. Also, in addition to Konya 3rd Main Air Force Command, Izmir 2nd Main Air Force command is now designated as the second air cover base responsible from the protection of the area.

Finally, the plan introduces constant cruise duty to the Turkish Naval Mission Group (Frigates Barbaros, Gelibolu, Gemlik and Kudret Gungor – 1st logistical support ship – 3 naval helicopters – underwater assault and defense elite commando units) which had visited Oman, UAE, Pakistan, India, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Jordan port cities in the last 3 months.

Noble Homer Ferrington rig

Cypriot Energy Service head Solon Kassinis expects exploratory drilling of Block 12 to start before October 1.

Adi Ben-Israel
Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) says that it will push ahead with its Cypriot offshore exploratory well at Block 12, in spite of warnings from Turkey not to do so. Block 12 adjoins Israel’s Leviathan field.The “Cyprus Mail” says Cyprus is stuck between a rock and a hard place in the Turkish-Israeli dispute. If President Demetris Christofias chooses to push ahead with drilling, he is essentially calling Turkey’s bluff. Failure to do so effectively acknowledges Turkey’s dominion over the island.

“Cyprus Mail” says that the heightened tension between Israel and Turkey comes on the back of repeated warnings by Turkish officials against Cyprus drilling in its exclusive economic zone. While some commentators believe the feud with Israel may be used as a pretext to build up naval patrols in seas between Israel and Cyprus, at a time when both latter countries are discussing collaboration on the extraction and distribution of hydrocarbon deposits in their respective marine zones, the paper says that current diplomatic thinking in the region is that Turkey has more important issues to contend with than create serious problems for the island.

Energy Service head Solon Kassinis told the “Cyprus Mail” that he expects drilling to start before October 1. Noble Energy will use the Homer Ferrington rig currently drilling in the Noa field offshore from Ashkelon in Israel’s exclusive economic zone.

Kassinis said, “I expected Turkey to bark but I don’t think they will do anything because what we’ve done is based on international law, and if they want to be considered a country that respects international law, when it has a network of (oil and gas) pipe lines, charging transit fees, how can it?”

Kassinis added that any fears from Noble Energy have been assuaged by the US Embassy in Nicosia which has told the company to go ahead and expedite the exploration process....

“Russia will send two nuclear-powered submarines to protect the island’s right to exploration in its maritime zone.”

Hurriyet Daily News

History has a habit of repeating itself, also in Cyprus. In 1964 escalating hostilities between the two communities led to the threat of war between Greece and Turkey. Both the United States and the Soviet Union were aware that they faced the most dangerous confrontation since the Cuban missile crisis the year before, but disaster was finally averted.

Now Greek Cyprus faces a new confrontation with Turkey, but this time with American, Russian, Greek and Israeli support. In 2007 the Republic of Cyprus concluded agreements with Egypt and Lebanon delineating their respective maritime boundaries and exclusive economic zones, and last year a similar agreement was concluded with Israel.

The bone of contention between Turkey and Greek Cyprus concerns the latter’s sovereign right, based on the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, to carry out exploration and drill for hydrocarbons in its exclusive economic zone. Turkey, which is not among the 162 states which have signed the convention, claims that it has rights in an area which runs from its southern coast to the northern coast of Egypt.

In November 2008 Norwegian exploration vessels were harassed by Turkish warships off the southern coast of Cyprus, which caused the country to block the opening of the energy chapter in Turkey’s accession talks. Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou accused Turkey of behaving “like the neighborhood bully,” and Turkey’s chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bağış, in turn said that “a small sunshine member state” was obstructing Europe’s energy needs.

Three years ago a U.S. company, Noble Energy, received a concession to explore for hydrocarbons in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, and accordingly plans to begin drilling for natural gas on Oct. 1. Last month Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu stated that Turkey would show “the appropriate reaction” if any further step is taken; meanwhile, an appeal to the United States to take action has been rebuffed.

Greek Cyprus has received support both from Russia and Israel and according to a recent report Russia will send two nuclear-powered submarines to protect the island’s right to exploration in its maritime zone. It is also reported that the Turkish navy and air force are planning exercises in the area beginning Sept. 15.

The Republic of Cyprus now has its back to the wall. With regard to the ongoing reunification talks, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has told the two leaders, Dimitris Christofias and Derviş Eroğlu, to reach convergence on all core issues by the end of October. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also made it clear that if a settlement is not reached by 2012, Turkey will consider “different alternatives.”

On July 11 another bombshell was dropped, almost literally. Some 98 containers of Iranian munitions, confiscated from a Cypriot-flagged Russian freighter on its way to Syria at the end of January 2009 and then stored in an open field, exploded. The explosion not only destroyed the nearby Vassiliko power station, which provided more than half Greek Cyprus’ energy, but also the Greek Cypriots’ confidence in their president.

A classified report leaked to the Greek Cypriot daily Simerini reveals that the government had received offers of help to dispose of the cargo from the U.S., Britain, France and Germany but refused. Instead, at a meeting between Christofias and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in September 2009, Christofias had assured Assad that the cargo would remain in Cyprus until it could be returned to either Syria or Iran.

According to a cable from the U.S. ambassador in Cyprus, since the election of Christofias in 2008, “we have witnessed an ideologically-motivated attempt to turn back the clock to the heydays of the nonaligned movement. He has publicly praised Fidel Castro, welcomed a new Venezuelan Embassy to Nicosia, lauded Iran, and vilified NATO and the Partnership for Peace.”

Next July the Republic of Cyprus will take over the EU term presidency, so it would be unfortunate if the island once again becomes the scene of a Cold War-style confrontation.

*Robert Ellis is advisor to the Turkey Assessment Group in the European Parliament.

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