Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

You really can’t begin to understand conflicts in the Middle East without this specific issue — Oil. See my previous posts about the Caspian Sea.

PM Davutoglu calls TANAP project ‘dream come true’
World Bulletin online
19 September 2014

tanap-nabucco
Davutoglu describes the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline as a peace project connecting Caucasus to Balkans. The Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline, TANAP – a pipeline that will transport gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field to Europe through Turkey – will be a dream come true, Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday ahead of his official visit to Azerbaijan.

Following Davutoglu’s upcoming talks on Friday on bilateral relations and regional and international developments with Azerbaijani officials, the TANAP project foundations will be laid Saturday which Davutoglu described as a ‘peace project’ that will connect the Caucasus with the Balkans.

An estimated 6 billion cubic meters of gas will be delivered to Turkey and 10 billion cubic meters to Europe via the TANAP pipeline which is projected to be opened in 2018 and in which Turkey has a 30 percent share in the project.

Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz and Azerbaijan’s Minister of Industry and Energy Natig Aliyev signed the memorandum of understanding on the TANAP on 26 May, 2014.

http://www.worldbulletin.net/news/144684/pm-davutoglu-calls-tanap-project-dream-come-true

For more indepth, historical and detailed information, please see:

Turkey and the new energy politics of the Black Sea region
Black Sea News
25 February 2013

Eurasia-s-tit

Mitat CELIKPALA,
Associate Professor of International Relations at Kadir Has University, Istanbul

Turkey signed two significant energy agreements at the end of 2011. As a consequence, these accords set off a new competition for natural gas-centered energy projects around Turkey. Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Iran and the European Union are the main actors in this contest. This paper aims to assess all the related and ensuing developments in the Black Sea Region through the lenses of Turkey’s role, strategy and priorities….

BotasProjeE-s

central asian pipelines 3

Conclusion

In sum, the Turkey-centric energy game in the region embracing the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Middle East and Europe is reminiscent of the 2004- 2008 period, during which energy prices and the competition for constructing alternative pipelines peaked.

transportation-final-s

http://www.blackseanews.net/en/read/57572

Shades of Russia and Vladimir Putin

Turkey-and-Surrounding-CountriesEver since August 10, 2014 when the former Prime Minister was elected President of Turkey I have been more interested in the history and politics of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (pronounced ray’-chep tay’-ipp err’-do-wan).

He has a long history to study, actually. While he and his political party claim to be “secular” in their thinking about Turkey’s government and its future, his past actions and relationships declare a decided Islamic viewpoint. (His religion is Sunni Muslim.)

Take a look at this informative article from BBC news:

ErdoganObamaAndWivesProfile: Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The Turkish leader intends to enhance the powers of the presidency, which he could hold until 2023.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is arguably the most successful leader in Turkey’s democratic history. After 11 years as prime minister, he will now become his country’s first directly-elected president, in what has been until now a largely ceremonial role.

But critics have increasingly accused the 60-year-old leader of polarising the country – by brooking no dissent and harboring a secret agenda to turn Turkey into a religious society.

He has dominated the political landscape since 2002, steering his Islamist-leaning Justice and Development (AK) Party party to three general election victories.

For the complete article, see http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-13746679

For much, much more on his personal and political life, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recep_Tayyip_Erdo%C4%9Fan

Then just today, this somewhat troubling article appeared in my inbox:

Have Plans For The Antichrist Confederacy Just Been Announced In Turkey?
Prophecy News Watch online
September 04, 2014

QaradawiIn an amazing announcement that just came out today and was published throughout the Muslim world, including even CNN Arabic Version, The Chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi whose union represents the largest body of Muslim scholars worldwide and on their behalf just announced in Turkey that:

“The Caliphate in today’s age must be established through a number of several states that are governed by Shariah and supported by both, the rulers and the people in the form of a federation or confederation and not as it was in the past.” (emphasis mine)

By this, the Muslim union of scholars lead by Qaradawi is setting up the theological precedence by announcing that a future confederacy of Muslim nations must and will be established and centered in the land of the Muslim Caliphate in Turkey.

What Qaradawi is speaking of should be seriously noted since the interpretation of the prophecy of a future confederacy of ten-nations is found in four major passages of Scripture and is a determinative issue in any system of prophetic interpretation and are the key to the total prophetic outlook regarding this emerging Antichrist confederacy of different states mentioned in at least four major Scripture passages (Dan 2:31-35, 40-45; 7:7-8, 19-24; Rev 13:1-2; 17:3, 7, 12-16).

These passages either directly or by implication prophesy a ten-kingdom confederation, which will be an important aspect of the end-time political situation.

What we see here is the beginning embryo and birth of a grand idea set by between Erdogan and the spiritual head of the Sunni Muslim world in which its declared that such confederacy for the Caliphate will be established in Istanbul, Turkey as the center for all these different states…..

Qaradawi is currently paving the way for Turkey to ultimately invade Egypt… “He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushitese in submission.” (Daniel 11:42)

Read the entire article at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2014/September04/043.html

After reading all that, I searched for more information about Qaradawi and found this recent article (video) online:

Al-Qaradawi supports, praises Erdogan

Social media activists circulated a video of Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, calling for supporting Recep Tayyib Erdogan in the last presidential elections which Erdogan recently won.

Al-Qaradawi said Erdogan is supported by Allah, Jibreel (Angel Gabriel) and the righteous believers; while the all angels are his backers. He also described Istanbul as the capital of the Islamic Caliphate. (emphasis mine)

See more at:  http://www.el-balad.com/1106255#sthash.iQgR6yBe.dpuf

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on activities and developments coming out of Turkey in the days ahead.

(Update 29 June 2014 from Debka File online)

iraqsyriaFullMid East is sizzling: Armed US drones over Baghdad, Saudi, Jordanian tanks deploy
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis June 28, 2014 (IDT)

The Obama administration announced Friday, June 27, that unmanned aerial vehicles flying over Baghdad would henceforth be armed in order to defend the US Embassy in the Green Zone. The embassy was originally assigned the tasks of guardian of Iraq’s central government and symbol of post-Saddam national unity. These roles have remained out of reach ever since the Americans invaded Iraq in 2003.

Today, the armed drones overhead are reduced to holding back the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and its local Sunni allies from overrunning the Green Zone and seizing the embassy, most of whose 5,000 staff were evacuated as a precaution.

President Barack Obama has again decreed that no US soldiers will take part in combat in Iraq. Therefore, American military personnel on the ground will be there to guide the drones to their targets.

Those targets were defined Saturday, June 28, by Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, as striking at ISIS leaders and defending Iraq’s strategic facilities. He did not elaborate.

Debkafile reports that he was referring to the Haditha dam on the Euphrates. ISIS fighters have been battered the town of Haditha on and off for some days.

Its dam is the key to the water supply of most of Iraq, including Baghdad. With its capture, Al Qaeda’s affiliates will have gained control of northern Iraq’s oil refineries and pipeline networks.

US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jordan Friday laid out another piece of the Iraq-Syria imbroglio. He estimated that the Syrian rebel recruits enlisted from among the nearly one million Syrian refugees sheltering in Jordan could be deployed in Iraq for fighting ISIS.

His words were accompanied by the Obama administration’s application to Congress for half a billion dollars to arm and train such a force.

President Obama is therefore in the midst of yet another U-turn on the Syrian-Iraqi war scene – this one involving Israel too.

(Continued)
http://www.debka.com/article/24042/Mid-East-is-sizzling-Armed-US-drones-over-Baghdad-Saudi-Jordanian-tanks-deploy

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(Here’s some information you probably won’t read in the US mainline media. Long but well worth reading.)

King Abdullah calls up Saudi armed forces on high preparedness. Egyptian troops ready to fly to kingdom.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 26, 2014 (IDT)

Thursday, June 26, the day before US Secretary of State John Kerry was due in Riyadh, King Abdullah summoned a National Security Council meeting “upon the current security events in the region, especially in Iraq,” and ordered “all necessary measures to protect the kingdom against terrorist threats.” This meant a general call-up of military units for a high level of preparedness.

Debkafile’s military sources disclose that Egypt is assembling an expeditionary commando force to fly to Saudi Arabia and bolster its border defenses.

This flurry of Saudi-Egyptian military steps comes in the wake of intelligence gathered by Saudi reconnaissance planes showing Iraqi Al Qaeda-linked Sunni fighters (ISIS) heading for the Saudi border and aiming to seize control of the Iraqi-Saudi crossing at Ar Ar (pop: 200,000).

ISIS and its Sunni allies are still on the march after capturing Iraq’s border crossings with Syria and Jordan earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Kerry warned Mideast nations against taking new military action in Iraq that might heighten sectarian divisions. By then, he had been overtaken by a rush of events, as Debkafile reported this morning.

When the first of the 300 military advisers US President Barack Obama promised the Iraqi government arrived in Baghdad Wednesday, June 25, Iranian and Saudi Arabian arms shipments were already in full flow to opposing sides in embattled Iraq, Debkafile’s military sources report.

At least two cargo planes from bases in Iran were landing daily at Baghdad’s military airport, carrying 150 tons of military equipment. More than 1,000 tons were flown in this past week alone.

Tehran has replicated for the Iraqi army the routine it established for Bashar Assad’s army, furnishing its needs on a daily basis as per its commanders’ requests. Those requests come before a joint Iranian-Iraqi headquarters set up at the Iraqi high command in Baghdad for approval and the assigning of priorities for shipment.

At the same time, Saudi arms are flowing to the Iraqi Sunni tribes fighting alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) against the Iraqi army and the Shiite Nouri al-Maliki’s government.

They are coming in both overland and by airlift. Saudi arms convoys are crossing the border into Iraq with Saudi and Jordanian air force cover and heading north up to the Al-Qa’im district near the Syrian border. There, Sunni and ISIS fighters, after capturing this key Anbar district, have begun refurbishing the bases and runways at H-2, once one of Saddam Hussein’s largest airbases. Situated 350 kilometers west of Baghdad, this air base has two long runways and hangars for fighter planes and helicopters.

Debkafile’s military sources disclose that, on Tuesday June 24, unmarked civilian cargo planes landed at the base, bringing arms shipments from Saudi Arabia.

The response was swift. Syrian warplanes, on their first bombing mission inside Iraq, tried to damage the partially repaired runways at H-2 to prevent any more Saudi air shipments from landing.

Military sources in Washington confirmed Wednesday June 25 that those air strikes were conducted by the Syrian Air Force “in Anbar province” and left at least 57 people dead and 120 wounded – most of them Iraqi civilians. They declined to say what was attacked, referring only to ISIS-related targets.

That incident was a striking demonstration of the tight operational sync between the Iranian command centers in Damascus and Baghdad, which are attached respectively to the high commands of the Syrian and Iraqi armies.

This coordination offers Tehran the flexibility for its command centers in both Arab capitals to send Iranian drones aloft from Syrian or Iraqi airbases to feed those centers with the intelligence they need for the strategic planning of military operations to be conducted by the Syrian and Iraqi armies.

Iranian command centers in Baghdad and Damascus are fully equipped therefore to decide which Syrian, Iraqi or Hizballah force carries out a planned operation in either Syria or Iraq. Both are now pushing back against further ISIS advances towards its goal of a Sunni caliphate spanning both countries.

This is just what US Secretary of State John Kerry meant when he said in Brussels Wednesday June 25, after two days of talks in Iraq, that “the war in Iraq is being widened.”

He had good reason to sound worried. Shortly before he spoke, the first group of US military personnel, out of the 300 that President Obama had promised, had arrived in Baghdad. But neither Tehran nor Riyadh had consulted Washington before they organized heavy arms shipments to their respective allies in Iraq.

The Iraqi battle arena is become a veritable Babel of war. So far, six countries are involved in varying degrees: the US, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

http://www.debka.com/article/24034/King-Abdullah-calls-up-Saudi-armed-forces-on-high-preparedness-Egyptian-troops-ready-to-fly-to-kingdom

I’m still interested in the Caspian Sea. (See https://tapister.wordpress.com/category/caspian-sea-oil/) While oil and gas are still my primary interests, today I’m also curious about water. Who owns the water in the Caspian Sea? Can Iran just siphon it off, without getting permission from the other littoral states? Or the major gas/oil conglomerates operating there? I’ve done an internet search about it and really didn’t find anything that addresses that question. Here’s some of what I did find today.

Its Great Lake Shriveled, Iran Confronts Crisis of Water Supply
New York Times online
JAN. 30, 2014

LakeUrmiaIranLAKE URMIA, Iran — An abandoned ship rusts in the mud on the south shore of Lake Urmia, where only 5 percent of the water remains, Iranian environmental officials say. Morteza Nikoubazl for The New York Times.

After driving for 15 minutes over the bottom of what was once Iran’s largest lake, a local environmental official stepped out of his truck, pushed his hands deep into his pockets and silently wandered into the great dry plain, as if searching for water he knew he would never find.

Just an hour earlier, on a cold winter day here in western Iran, the official, Hamid Ranaghadr, had recalled how as recently as a decade ago, cruise ships filled with tourists plied the lake’s waters in search of flocks of migrating flamingos.

Now, the ships are rusting in the mud and the flamingos fly over the remains of the lake on their way to more hospitable locales. According to figures compiled by the local environmental office, only 5 percent of the water remains.

Iran is facing a water shortage potentially so serious that officials are making contingency plans for rationing in the greater Tehran area, home to 22 million, and other major cities around the country. President Hassan Rouhani has identified water as a national security issue, and in public speeches in areas struck hardest by the shortage he is promising to “bring the water back.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/world/middleeast/its-great-lake-shriveled-iran-confronts-crisis-of-water-supply.html?_r=0

Iran’s parliament approves project on transfer of water from Caspian Sea
Trend online magazine
Jan 23, 2014

Iranian parliament has approved the project on transfer of water from the Caspian Sea to the deserts in the country’s central parts, Iranian Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said, Mehr News Agency reported on Jan. 23. The minister noted that funds have been allocated from Iran’s state budget for this project.

Commenting on the Lake Urmia revival project the minister added that a committee was created for saving the lake. The committee will be chaired by Iranian First Vice President, Eshaq Jahangiri.

In April 2012 the former president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the foundation-laying of an irrigation system designed for transferring of water from the Caspian Sea. However Iranian MPs and some economic experts considered this project ineffective and demanded suspension of its implementation, after which construction was delayed.

The project for transfer of the Caspian Sea waters to the central regions of Iran includes: construction of hydroelectric power stations, a desalination plant, pumping stations, power lines, water pipes and tanks, according to the message.

The headquarters of Khatam-ol-Anbia, affiliated with the Islamic Republic of Iran Guard Corps (IRGC) will control the project’s realization, according to the message.

http://en.trend.az/news/politics/2233429.html

Deputy FM in Astana to Participate in Caspian Sea Working Group
Tasnimnews.com
January 29, 2014

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Deputy Foreign Minister for Asian and Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour left Tehran for Kazakhstan capital city, Astana, Wednesday to participate in the 35th meeting of the special working group of the Caspian Sea.

The working group session on the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea will be held in Astana for two days with the special representatives and deputies minister of the five littoral countries of the Caspian Sea.

The deputy foreign ministers of Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan will in the meeting discuss the latest developments regarding the legal regime of the Caspian Sea and prepare a report for the upcoming ministerial meeting due to be held in Russia this spring. Moscow will also host The Caspian Sea Littoral States Summit late in summer.

The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed water body on earth by area, variously classed as the world’s largest lake or a full-fledged sea.

The Caspian Sea Convention will determine the territorial rights of littoral states- Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan – as well as other matters related to the world’s largest landlocked body of water.

The Caspian Sea legal regime is based on two agreements signed between Iran and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1921 and 1940. The three new littoral states, established after the collapse of the Soviet Union, have not recognized the prior treaties, triggering a debate on the future status of the sea.

http://www.tasnimnews.com/English/Home/Single/263554

BP Starts Production at West Chirag in Caspian Sea
Wall Street Journal online
Jan. 29, 2014

CaspianOilFieldsLONDON—Oil major BP PLC said Wednesday that production has started at the West Chirag platform of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea, completing the Chirag oil project which was sanctioned in 2010.

West Chirag production began from a pre-drilled well called J05 on Jan. 28 and will increase throughout this year as other pre-drilled wells are brought on line, BP said without indicating volumes. However, BP said the new platform has a capacity for 183,000 barrels a day with a gas export capacity of 285 million standard cubic feet a day.

“The startup of Chirag oil project marks a major milestone in the development of the super-giant ACG [Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli field],” Gordon Birrell, BP’s Regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey said.

“To date the ACG field has produced over 2.3 billion barrels of oil and with future continual major investments in new technologies and facilities, like the one we have today started up, it will continue to produce as a world-class reservoir for many decades,”, Mr. Birrell added.

BP is operator of the field with a 35.8% interest. Partners in the field include SOCAR with 11.6%, Chevron CVX -4.14% Corp with 11.3%, Inpex Corp with 11%, Statoil AS STL.OS -1.46% A with 8.6%, Exxon Mobil Corp with 8%, TPAO with 6.8%, Itochu 8001.TO +0.56% Corp with 4.3% and ONGC Videsh Ltd. with 2.7%.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304428004579350491065104568

BP Seeks ACG Extension to Maintain Output at Largest Azeri Field
Bloomberg News
Jan 29, 2014

BP Plc (BP/) is seeking to extend its oil contract on the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field beyond 2024 to allow more investment and sustain output at the largest Azeri deposit after its local partner last year said there weren’t such plans.

The Caspian Sea field produced 32.5 million tons of oil in 2013, down from 32.9 million tons. While the new $6 billion West Chirag platform that started output yesterday will help offset natural decline, BP said at least one more is needed by 2021.

“We are talking to State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan about the next phase,” Gordon Birrel, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey manager, said in Baku, the Azeri capital. “But we have no fixed and agreed plans at this point. This field needs investment and at least one more platform to maintain production.”

West Chirag is estimated to produce about 60,000 barrels a day, or 3 million tons, this year, he said. The platform will have at least 14 wells, with six running this year, Birrel said. It’s the largest and most technologically advanced of the eight current platforms in Azerbaijan’s section of the Caspian Sea, he said. The site has a capacity of 183,000 barrels of oil a day.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-29/bp-seeks-acg-extension-to-maintain-output-at-largest-azeri-field.html

One day after it was first pumped to Israeli shores, valuable resource flows to processing plant for use in energy market
By Times of Israel staff and AP March 31, 2013, 11:08 pm 0

TamarLeaseNaturalGasRigMideast-Israel-Natrua_Horo-635x357Undated file photo of the Tamar Lease natural gas rig, located 90 kilometers west of the city of Haifa, northern Israel. (photo credit: AP/Albatross Aerial Perspective)

Natural gas from the offshore Tamar field reached Ashdod on Sunday night after it was pumped to Israeli shores for the first time Saturday, four years after its discovery.

The Tamar deposit, discovered in 2009 some 90 kilometers west of Haifa, holds an estimated 8.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

On Saturday, hailed an “important day for the Israeli economy” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, natural gas from the field was pumped to a newly erected facility on the coast of Ashdod, connected to the gas field via pipelines laid out on the ocean floor, 150 kilometers long and 16 inches wide.

On Sunday, the gas finally reached the Ashdod processing plant from which it will start to flow into the Israeli market.

This newly harnessed resource promises to be a major boon to both the country’s public and private energy needs.

The gas from Tamar is expected to help meet Israel’s energy needs for the next 20 years, Channel 2 said, and will save the economy some NIS 13 billion (some $3.5 billion) per year. Its ahead-of-schedule use will also save Israeli citizens some cash — lowering a planned rise in electricity costs to 6 percent, less than originally planned.

The Tamar deposit, and especially the heftier Leviathan, which was discovered in 2010, are expected to provide Israel with enough natural gas for decades and transform the country, famously empty of natural resources, into an energy exporter.

Leviathan, which boasts an estimated 16 to 18 trillion cubic feet of gas, is expected to go online in 2016, the approximate time when exports are expected to begin.

The discoveries are just a portion of the huge reserves in the Levant Basin, which the United States Geological Survey estimated in 2010 holds some 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/natural-gas-from-tamar-field-reaches-israel/

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Future War: Israel’s Massive Natural Gas Reserve Discoveries Draw Enemy Eyes
Massive Leviathan, Tamar Natural Gas Fields Poised to Transform Israel Into Energy Exporter
From The Hashmonean online
16 June 2010

Tamar&LeviathanMapFor 62 years we have made the desert bloom, innovating water & drip irrigation technologies which have literally changed agriculture and the planet itself. Sadly, our quest for the desert’s more famous yield – Oil has been less than fulfilling. Surrounded by the world’s largest energy exporters Israel until now has been no pun intended, dry.

The planet is addicted to oil, nearly everything today is seemingly petroleum based. But the age of big oil is slowly coming to an end. Oil is dirty as evidenced by the tragic disaster off the US Gulf Coast. Developed economies are scrambling to move and develop cleaner burning technologies to both supply our fuel, as well as skyrocketing global energy needs. Coal & Oil aren’t going anywhere just yet, but the next century may belong to Natural Gas as the new big boy of global energy.

Tamar & Leviathan

The last 2 years have seen blessings bestowed on the State of Israel with the discovery of massive natural gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean by Texas based Noble Energy & Israeli consortiums. Discoveries within arms reach of the Israeli coast and within our territorial waters. In 2009 the Tamar Israel discovery rippled across energy markets, Tamar discoveries can power 50% of Israel’s energy needs for the next 4 decades.

Now in 2010 a new unbelievably larger reserve named Leviathan may yield massive amounts of natural gas, estimated at possibly twice the size of Tamar! If Leviathan yields, it can transform Israel into a global energy exporter.

The Leviathan natural-gas site off the Haifa shore could be twice the size of the Tamar prospect, the largest gas discovery globally in 2009, and position Israel as a gas exporter in coming years, US oil operator Noble Energy Inc. said Thursday.

“Today is a day of celebration for all of us. The State of Israel is an energy independent country,” Yitzhak Tshuva, controlling shareholder of Delek Group, said Thursday. Delek is a partner in the Leviathan natural-gas find through its subsidiaries Avner Oil and Gas LP and Delek Drilling LP, who each own 22.67 percent. […]

“In March, when I was last in Israel, I said that Noble Energy planned to be here for decades to come,” Noble Energy chairman and CEO Charles Davidson said Thursday. “I am thrilled that today’s announcement substantiates the potential of a new and significant energy basin in the eastern Mediterranean, which, if successful, could position Israel as a potential energy exporter in future years.

“I would like to congratulate the State of Israel on the discoveries of the last year and a half, which have the potential to strengthen the economy and security of Israel. Noble is honored to be working with our Israeli partners in this historic development.” […]

Noble has to date been a gracious partner, aware of the delicate needs in Israel to both drive profit and secure the State energy wise. By the same token, Noble and its consortium of Israeli partners will require the State of Israel to tap these reserves. Apart from licenses, there are unique security needs, as well as substantial infrastructure investments needed which will largely fall on Israel to supply.

Lebanon & Its Embarrassing, Ugly Islamic Step Child – Hezbollah

Of course, If Israel has it, you can rest assured Hezbollah wants to lay its greedy little Islamofacist hands on it. The exploratory permits licensed to Noble and its partners where these discoveries are being made are clearly off Israeli waters.
tamar

The 2009 Tamar Discovery Off the Coast of Haifa

The Lebanese know that the messy little country they have thanks to their pals like Syria & Hezbollah will not draw the billions in foreign exploratory & drilling investment needed to tap whatever reserves may be off their own coast. That has not stopped Lebanon jealously eyeing Israel’s new reserves, or Hezbollah from issuing threats. After all, Israel belongs to them as per Hezbollah ‘logic’ – Muslim lands occupied by Zionist invaders!

Hizbullah: Israel’s gas belongs to us

Hizbullah claims that that the natural gas fields recently discovered in the Mediterranean, belong to Lebanon and warned Israel against extracting gas from them. Iranian English language paper “Tehran Times” quotes Hezbollah’s executive council chief Hashem Safieddine as saying that it would not allow Israel to loot Lebanese gas resources.

Earlier this week, Lebanese parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri told “AFP”, “Israel is racing to make the case a fait accompli and was quick to present itself as an oil emirate, ignoring the fact that, according to the maps, the deposit extends into Lebanese waters. Lebanon must take immediate action to defend its financial, political, economic and sovereign rights.”

Marine law expert Amir Cohen-Dor of the S. Friedman & Co. told “Globes” that the Dalit and Tamar gas fields are within Israel’s contiguous economic zone, and that under the 1982 UN Law of the Sea Convention, Israel can exploit resources in its economic zone.

Gas War Zone?

Both Hezbollah & the Lebanese Parliament which are today one & the same are getting in on the threats. Make no mistake, this is a threat against infrastructure, pipelines, rigs, shipping and investment needed to tap the reserves that will all be required in the future. The Lebanese have gone so far as to issue veiled war threats..

Lebanese daily “As-Safir” today accused Israel of stealing Lebanon’s natural gas.

Lebanese parliamentarians made similar accusations following the discovery of the Tamar and Dalit gas reserves in 2009.

“As-Safir” correspondent Halami Mussa wrote, “Israel plans to steal natural gas from the territorial waters of Lebanon.” He claims that “the reserves are located outside the territorial waters of Israel and are in Lebanese territory.” […] “a serious political and economic issue”, which could be cause for a diplomatic dispute between Israel and Lebanon.

Mussa said, “The area where the seismic survey was carried out is offshore from the coast of Lebanon, between the international border of Palestine and Cyprus.” He utterly ignores the presence of Israel, but says, “Israel, which received the mandate from Britain, which has no rights to Palestine, gave to some of the license to American companies without any right to do so.”

The Ministry of National Infrastructures Map of Petroleum Rights shows that the Tamar license, as well the licenses that make up the Leviathan structure are located west and northwest of Haifa, south of the Israel-Lebanese border

Potential for conflict is real

With Israeli sovereignty being questioned as usual by Islamists & terrorists, and Lebanon laying absurd claim to Israeli natural gas discoveries the potential for conflict is real. Israeli withdrawals from Lebanon have been certified by the UN, yet that did not stop Hezbollah from launching a war in 2006. The Israeli coastal demarcations are also clear, there is little reason to believe that will stop Hezbollah or its patrons from trying to initiate conflict, terrorism & violence either.

This is part and parcel of the Noble partnership with Israel. Infrastructure – both sea based and land based to process the LNG will need to be patrolled, secured. The State may even be forced into war to secure safe resource extraction.

Turkish Non-Delight!

The notion of Israel becoming an energy player will drive the Iranians and their lapdogs mad, that is to say on top of their already certifiable Islamist state of psychoness. Further, Turkish relations with Israel have been spiralling and it has less to do with Gaza aid flotillas, more to do with large economic interests such as these Gas discoveries.

Israel is poised to knock the Turks a few pegs down on the international scale if it starts exporting large quantities of LNG. This threatens Turkish LNG pipeline plans from Russia, potentially removing them from a profitable picture if Israel begins large sea based exports of LNG to Europe & Asia in the coming decades…

Peace and even clean burning energy in the Middle East does not come cheap.

http://hashmonean.com/2010/06/16/future-war-israels-massive-natural-gas-reserve-discoveries-draw-enemy-eyes/

What am I doing now? Hmmm.

Posted: January 29, 2013 in Egypt, Far East, Middle East, Syria
Tags:

29 January 2013

Being told I had retired a few years ago, a fellow asked me yesterday, “So, what are you doing now?” I said, “Nothing.” I knew he didn’t really want an answer and explaining would have taken me a while…

Watching and praying are what I spend a lot of time doing these days. (See Mark 13:37, but read the whole chapter to understand that verse.) Watching what is happening around the world, in a wide variety of aspects and praying about the various situations.

Here’s what I have done so far today:

Read the Morning News on paper
Worked the puzzles
Read a week’s worth of Jesus Calling devotions
Drank two cups of coffee, made a “grilled” cheese sandwich (in the microwave) for breakfast
Watched a few minutes of CNN / Fox News news on TV
To the computer, checked emails (mostly subscription news items)
Checked Facebook (which I use mostly for news articles)
Watched part of old Matlock and Burn Notice episodes while preparing and eating spaghetti for lunch

Back to the computer, read the following RSS feeds (I subscribe to others, but these I actually read.)

trifid_gendler_960Image actually from yesterday’s APOD article, beautiful.

Today: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html What would it be like to drive on the Moon? You don’t have to guess — humans have actually done it. Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charles Duke recorded video during one such drive in 1972, with a digital version now available on the web.

http://www.newsmaxworld.com/GlobalTalk/egypt-collapse-state-military/2013/01/29/id/487799 CAIRO — The head of the Egyptian military warned political conflict could lead to the collapse of the state and said protecting the Suez Canal was one of the main objectives of the army deployment to nearby cities shaken by violence.

http://www.space.com/19510-nasa-communications-satellite-network-tdrs-k.html A NASA communications network used to track satellites and spacecraft orbiting the Earth is about to get an upgrade with the launch of a new satellite on Wednesday (Jan. 30).

http://www.rferl.org/content/eu-ashton-iran-ahwazi-activists/24887263.html EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says she is greatly concerned that the Iranian High Court has upheld the sentences of five Ahwazi Arab activists who could face imminent execution.

http://www.voanews.com/content/rebels-torch-mali-library-of-historic-manuscripts/1592945.html Mayor Halley Ousmane of Mali’s fabled city of Timbuktu says Islamist militants torched a library containing thousands of ancient Arab manuscripts, as they retreated from the city this week.

http://www.wnd.com/2013/01/new-details-surface-on-iran-nuclear-explosion/ Sixteen North Koreans, including 14 technicians and two top military officers, are among those trapped after a Jan. 21 explosion destroyed much of Iran’s Fordow nuclear site, a source reveals. A senior researcher and director of the Centre for Arab & Iranian Studies in London, Ali Reza Nourizadeh, who has many contacts in Iran, confirmed that the explosion had trapped many inside.

http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/grand-mufti-approves-death-penalty-innocence-muslims-producers Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa has approved a death sentence delivered in absentia for seven Coptic Egyptian expats accused of producing and acting a movie deemed insulting to Islam. The amateur, 13-minute movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” sparked an uproar in several Islamic states.

http://chinadailymail.com/2013/01/28/china-carries-out-anti-missile-test/ Self-explanatory headline.

http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/28/yemen-u-s-intercept-ship-with-large-cache-of-illegal-arms/

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/01/2013129133917989266.html The bodies of at least 65 persons have been found along a river bank in Aleppo with single gunshot wounds to the head.

http://www.shabablibya.org/news/gunfire-blends-with-coffee-as-libya-seeks-tripoli-control

http://www.timesofisrael.com/stanley-fischer-resigns-as-bank-of-israel-head/

http://news.sky.com/story/1044320/mali-conflict-british-troops-to-train-forces

http://rt.com/news/israel-iron-dome-syria-929/ Israel deploys Iron Dome batteries amid Syrian weapons fears

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/01/29/aide-to-egyptian-president-morsi-claims-holocaust-us-hoax/ He claimed the 6 million Jews who were killed by Nazis simply moved to the U.S.

http://www.solarham.net/ Low solar activity today.

http://spaceweather.com/ A record-setting asteroid fly-by coming up.

Twitter: Feeds from news organizations mostly, listed are only the last hour’s worth. Those I wanted to know more about, I clicked on and read the article.

National Review
Washington Post
Politico
Associated Press
GlobalPost
Jerusalem Post News
Guardian World
New York Times
Al Jazeera English
AJELive re N. Korea
Reuters Top News
CNN Live
Talking Points Memo
TIME Ideas
The Hill
Roll Call Politics
Townhall.com
RedState
The Daily Caller
BBC News
BBC Africa
Capital Weather Gang
WSJ Washington Wire
WSJ Greater New York
BBC Breaking News
Middle East Voices
The Revolting Syrian (Syrian national tweeting about conditions on the ground)
NMSyria (ditto)
Omar (Syrian businessman who lives in Damascus – ditto)
Assia Amry (Libyan – ditto)
Sky News Newsdesk
WIRED Science
Erik K / Eruptions (volcanoes)
NASA Kennedy
Johnson Space Center
Space.com
Daily Galaxy
CERN re Aegis experiment installation
Live Science
DebkaFileNews (intelligence gathering, Middle East mostly)
TIME.com
Adam Beam (The State newspaper)
WPDE NewsChannel 15
CNN Politics
WORLD Magazine
Nicholas Kristof (NY Times columnist)
PostPolitics

There are quite a few others I get who don’t tweet as often as these.

So, that’s what I’m doing these days, among Bible study, writing blogs, doing housework, hosting / attending prayer groups, plus rehearsing new music and playing piano for church. And reading murder mysteries, spy novels, Smithsonian magazine, Charisma magazine, going out to lunch or dinner with friends occasionally. Movies, now and then.

Several articles about Bangladesh and Russia caught my attention today.

Russia grants Bangladesh $1 billion loan for weapons
MOSCOW | Tue Jan 15, 2013

PutinBangladeshPM(Reuters) – Russia, the world’s second-largest weapons exporter, has granted a $1 billion loan to Bangladesh for arms purchases, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday after talks with the country’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina. (She is a fascinating person in her own right; daughter of the country’s founder.)

“Our countries intend to broaden military-technical cooperation,” Putin said, referring to weapons sales and servicing. He did not specify what weapons or military equipment Bangladesh would buy from Russia.

Russia will provide a separate $500 million loan to Bangladesh to help build its first nuclear power plant, Ruppur, under an agreement signed after the meeting, Putin said. (See more below)

“We will not only provide the most up-to-date technology … but we will also provide financial support for the construction of the nuclear power plant at the initial stage,” he said.

The head of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, said technical and environmental assessments would be carried out this year for the plant, which is to have two 1,000-megawatt reactors and be completed in the early 2020s. He told reporters more loans would be required at later stages.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/15/us-russia-bangladesh-idUSBRE90E0HM20130115

“A separate part of the agreements saw Russia assign $500 million to finance the construction of Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Jan. 15 met the prime minister of Bangladesh for talks that included the signing of a $1 billion arms contract, the Asian nation’s biggest since its 1971 independence.

Bangladesh has recently been expanding its defense capabilities, building a new air base close to neighboring Myanmar and adding frigates to its navy.

“Our countries intend to expand their military and technological cooperation,” news agencies quoted Putin as telling Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during a Kremlin ceremony. “Russia will extend Bangladesh a credit of $1 billion, which will be spent on the purchase on Russian weapons and military technology,” the Russian leader said.

The arms purchase agreement included orders for armored vehicles and infantry weapons, air defense systems and Mi-17 transport helicopters, a source close to Russia’s state arms export agency told the Vedomosti business daily. The source said the purchase did not include any tank orders because Bangladesh had earlier obtained those from China.

Bangladesh also opted out of its initial plans to purchase eight advanced Mig-29 fighter jets because of their $500 million price tag.

A separate part of the agreements saw Russia assign $500 million to finance the construction of Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant, to be built at a site called Rooppur. The two planned Rooppur reactors are expected to cost $4 billion, with Russia also agreeing to continue financing construction after the first phase of the project is complete, news reports said.

Bangladesh’s military spending spree follows the recent discovery of offshore natural gas deposits (see next article), which Russian officials believe means it will have no problems repaying the credit.

A.N.M Muniruzzaman, an analyst at the Dhaka-based Institute of Peace and Security Studies, told AFP it was the biggest defense deal ever to be signed by Bangladesh, which gained independence in 1971.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130115/DEFREG03/301150005/Russia-Bangladesh-Seal-1-Billion-Arms-Deal?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

This follows Bangladesh’s recent purchase of tanks from China; click this link to read that article: http://thediplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2011/06/30/bangladesh-eyes-china-arms/

Gazprom International to start drilling in Bangladesh
Voice of Russia, RIA

Gazprom International, an overseas subsidiary of Russia’s Gazprom energy holding, will begin commercial extraction at the Titas and Shrikail gas deposits in Bangladesh in the coming weeks.

The last preparations are being completed. A total of 10 boreholes will be drilled in Bangladesh under a $193-million deal between Gazprom and two local companies, BAPEX and BGFCL/SGFL (subsidiaries of the PetroBangla state-owned national oil company).

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_01_15/Gazprom-International-to-start-drilling-in-Bangladesh/

Apparently Russia is expanding its trade with Bangladesh on several fronts, including the above. Read more:

Russia to expand trade with Bangladesh to $1 bln
Jan 15, 2013

Speaking after talks with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Moscow on Tuesday, Putin said that bringing bilateral trade to $1 billion was not unachievable, given last year’s increase of 20% to $700 million.

The two leaders issued a joint statement with Russia pledging to consider tariff privileges for Bangladeshi imports within the framework of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The document emphasizes the need for broader cooperation in the energy sector, including oil and gas exploration and development. Russia will loan Bangladesh $500 million for the construction of a nuclear power plant and $1 billion for the purchase of Russian weapons.

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_01_15/Russia-to-expand-trade-with-Bangladesh-to-1-bln/

asia-map2So – what is the strategic importance of Bangladesh to Russia and others? Location, location, location, maybe? Click on the map to enlarge. Look south of China, between India and Burma.

This paragraph from the Wikipedia entry on Bangladesh may contain more clues:

The United States is a major development partner of Bangladesh, giving over six billion dollars in aid since 1972. American companies are the largest foreign investors in the country, and the US is also the largest market for Bangladeshi exports.

The Bangladesh government is planning construction of the largest deep sea port in South Asia at Sonadia Island. The 500 billion taka project will be completed in multiple phases and enable Bangladesh to service the whole region as a maritime transport and logistics hub.

India, China, Bhutan, Nepal and other neighbouring countries (and Russia?) will be able to take full advantage of the strategic location and Bangladesh’s LDC (least developed country) status for exporting their goods, which are manufactured in Bangladesh.

Furthermore, with $7.5 billion a new international airport will be constructed.

Additional expressways, freeways, fly-overs, overhead rapid transit system, high-speed modern trains, metro rail system, and high-speed electric powered intercity rail network are all planned.

Several other points of interest to me from Wikipedia:

Bangladesh is the most densely populated large country in the world.

60% of the population are aged 25 or younger.

Bangladesh is the second largest Muslim populated state after Indonesia with over 150 million. Islam is the state religion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh

Egypt Independent online newspaper
30 November 2012

EgyptianAssembly2012NovEgypt Independent’s translation of the draft constitution will be updated throughout the day.

Constitution Preamble

We, the people of Egypt, In the name of God and with the assistance of God, declare this to be Egypt’s Constitution and the document of the pioneering, peaceful revolution, which was started by Egypt’s promising youth, protected by the Armed Forces, championed by the patient Egyptians who gathered in Tahrir Square on 25 January 2011 to assert their rejection of all forms of injustice, oppression, tyranny, plunder and monopoly, to fully proclaim their rights to a decent life, to freedom, to social justice and human dignity — all rights granted by God before being prescribed in constitutions and universal declarations of human rights;

A promise of a new dawn worthy of Egypt’s history and civilization, the same civilization that gave humanity the first alphabet, that opened the way to monotheism and the knowledge of the Creator, adorned the pages of history with creativity, established the oldest state on the banks of the timeless Nile, while from the beginning understanding the meaning of identity, and embodying the values of citizenship.

(Etc., Etc. – click on the link below to read the entire draft document. To me the most important paragraph is this one:)

Article 2

Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic its official language. Principles of Islamic Sharia are the principal source of legislation. (Emphasis added.)

http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/egypt-s-new-constitution-unofficial-translation

———————

(Many Egyptians do not wish this Constitution adopted:)

TahrirAnticonstitutionProtestersMarches arrive in Tahrir as protesters chant against draft constitution

Marches began arriving in Tahrir Square Friday afternoon for the “Martyrs’ Dream” mass demonstration, which many political parties, movements and revolutionary groups had called for against the most recent constitutional declaration.

http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/update-marches-arrive-tahrir-protesters-chant-against-draft-constitution

Thousands protest nationwide against Morsy, Constituent Assembly

Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets in various governorates Friday to denounce the constitutional declaration issued on 22 November, as well as the final draft of the constitution approved by the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly.

Protesters say President Mohamed Morsy’s decrees grant him unprecedented powers and make him a new dictator. They say the constitution was approved hastily and without the consensus of different political and social powers.

http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/thousands-protest-nationwide-against-morsy-constituent-assembly

Screenshot from one of the online news sources I read daily…


http://english.aljazeera.net

“You shall hear of wars and rumors of wars… nations shall rise up against nations, and kingdom against kingdom… all these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6-8

Middle East afire

Posted: September 14, 2012 in Egypt, Iran, Israel, Middle East
Tags: , ,

The 2012 anniversary of 9-11 brought violent, murderous protests across the “Arab Spring” nations in the Middle East.

Current “anti-film” protests include countries of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon and Jordan, while protestors in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines and Indonesia rallied after prayers. Protests were also held in Kenya, Nigeria, Yemen, Kuwait, and Qatar, among others.

While they were /are supposedly protesting against an anti-Muslim film, I believe these attacks against US Embassies and American personnel were pre-planned, if not coordinated. Why do I believe that? The beliefs of someone else — Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

After running afoul of the religious leaders in Iran, he is in somewhat of a dilemma at present, about to lose his influence when his presidential term ends in 2013. That means he needs to fulfill his “destiny” sooner rather than later — to bring about the return of the Hidden Imam by creating global chaos and especially the destruction of Israel and the United States.

Middle East unrest and The Hidden Imam (the 12th Imam)

The Shiite Muslim President of Iran, Ahmadinejad, is deeply committed to the Islamic Messiah (al Mahdi). He claims that he is to personally prepare the world for the coming Mahdi. In order to save the world, it must be in a state of chaos and subjugation. Ahmadinejad claims that he was “directed by Allah to pave the way for the glorious appearance of the Mahdi.”

… he proclaims he must prepare the world for the coming Mahdi by way of a world totally under Muslim control. He is working hard to bring about the world-wide horrors that must be in place for their al Mahdi to bring peace.

http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org/12th-imam.htm

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his Own Words
September 9, 2012

“Today, interactions in the international arena make it fully evident and clear that the leaders of this small [international Zionist] party make all of its decisions and imposes them on European leaders. [The Zionists] imposed World War I on Europe and today those countries are forced to admit their wrong doings. We are certain that the world will soon be rescued from the hand of the Zionists.”

http://www.adl.org/main_International_Affairs/ahmadinejad_words.htm