Archive for February, 2010

Why would Russia care about itty-bitty Israel, I’ve sometimes wondered, thinking in practical, political terms about end-times theology, Gog and Magog, all that. What would be the set up for such a move? A paragraph in an article offers one clue, to me at least.

The Biggest Abdication By The West Since The 1930s
By MARK STEYN online 02/19/2010

… In Eastern Europe, a nuclear Iran will vastly advance Russia’s plans for a de facto reconstitution of its old empire: In an unstable world, Putin will offer himself as the protection racket you can rely on. And you’d be surprised how far west “Eastern” Europe extends:

Moscow’s strategic view is of a continent not only energy-dependent on Russia but also security-dependent. And, when every European city is within range of Teheran and other psycho states, there’ll be plenty of takers for that when the alternative is an effete and feckless Washington.

To read the entire article:

(Reprinted from PressTV online article, 15 Feb 2010.)

The Islamic Republic of Iran has started drilling its first exploratory well in the Caspian Sea to search for oil in the resource-rich body of water.

“The Amir-Kabir semi-submersible drilling rig has started exploration drillings in the Caspian Sea. It will drill the country’s first exploratory well at a depth of 1,550 meters under the seabed,” North Drilling Company Managing Director Hedayatollah Khademi told the Mehr News Agency on Saturday.

In light of the great potential of the region, there is a very good possibility that the Amir-Kabir (formerly known as Iran-Alborz) semi-submersible drilling rig will help find new reserves of crude oil in the Caspian Sea, he added.

The drilling rig weighs 14,000 tons without its attachments and will facilitate exploration in deep waters in the southern part of the Caspian Sea.

According to estimates, the southern part of the Caspian Sea holds at least 32 billion barrels of oil reserves. Iran’s exploration efforts have so far led to the discovery of 46 oil fields in the Caspian Sea.

Iran has the world’s third-largest proven reserves of crude oil, mainly located in the southwest of the country and offshore in the Persian Gulf. (emphasis added)

Why does this matter enough for me to reprint it here? Because of where the Caspian Sea is, who the countries are that surround it, and what they are doing there as we speak. See my earlier articles about the Caspian Sea and oil.

Central Asian lake under threat
By Robin Forestier-Walker, Lake Balkhash, Kazakhstan
Al Jazeera online 19 Feb 2010

Balkhash basinBalkhash belongs to a string of lakes which play an important role in helping to regulate Kazakhstan’s largely arid climate. It is the end point of a river system known as the Ile Balkhash Basin that is home to more than three million people. The Ile river is fed by rainfall, snow and glacial melt from the mountain ranges which straddle China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan…

The drop appears to show that the lake has receded by up to two metres in the past five years. And in shallow areas of the lake, that regression could be even greater.

The UN acknowledged in 2004 that Balkhash was threatened by upstream extraction of water in Kazakhstan and China, largely for irrigation. China is developing the region of Xinjiang, which borders Kazakhstan. Tens of thousands of Chinese have been resettled and new dams are being built…

Central Asia has already experienced catastrophic loss of a water system. The Aral Sea is considered one of the greatest environmental tragedies of the 20th Century. Soviet irrigation led to its irreversible decline. Even today, vast quantities of water are drawn from the rivers that feed it and used for cotton cultivation by Kazakhstan and its neighbours, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

The Aral Sea is now a tenth of its original size. Where there was once water, there is now desert. Fertiliser and pesticide residues have contaminated the local population, and salt particles are believed to accelerate glacial melting in mountains thousands of kilometres away.

Scientific evidence looks certain to demonstrate that the same conditions of unsustainable water use that destroyed the Aral now threaten Balkhash. What is less clear is whether it will be enough to persuade the Chinese and the Kazakhs to co-operate and compromise in order to ensure the lake’s survival.

From Wikipedia:

It is the largest lake in Central Asia. It is a closed basin that is part of the endorheic basin that includes the Caspian and Aral seas.

How soon they forget…

Fars News 16 Feb 2010

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran is no threat to the regional countries, including the Persian Gulf littoral states, and this has been proved to everyone, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Tehran Majdi Ahmad Ebrahim Al-Zafiri stressed here on Tuesday.

“Some neighboring countries might have different views in this regard but generally speaking, all of them unanimously say that Iran does not pose a threat to any other country,” Al-Zafiri said in a meeting with Iranian officials in the southern province of Bushehr.

Iran tests new generation of centrifuges
Fars News 16 Feb 2010

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran announced on Tuesday that it has tested a new generation of centrifuges to promote the country’s nuclear fuel production capability.

“We have tested a new generation of centrifuges that is now in its final phases. Their capacity (to enrich uranium) is 5 times more than that of the existing centrifuges,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, speaking at a news conference with Iranian and foreign reporters here in Tehran today. “We will use them for (supplying) our power plants’ fuel in the near future,” the president went on to say.

(Bette: I doubt if I’ve ever agreed with anything this man has said in the past, but he may be right about one reason for the world’s interest in his region… gas and oil reserves from the Caspian Sea, especially considering which countries control them.)

Fars News 28 Jan 2010

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blasted the world arrogant powers for their attempts to dominate the resources in the Middle Eastern countries.

“The arrogant powers are after the precious resources of the Middle East region and that is why they interfere in this region’s affairs,” Ahmadinejad said… Referring to the arrogant powers’ meddling in Iran’s post-election events, President Ahmadinejad said, “The main objective of their interference and conspiracies was to dominate the Middle East region as it is the center of the world’s energy.”

“Middle East is the cradle of the world’s major civilizations and the crossroads of the world’s political relations. It is also the rich source of world’s energy and that is why the arrogant powers are to dominate it,” he added.