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Geopolitics

  • China’s Pivot Toward Europe May Cut USA Out Of Deal

    November 18, 2014: it’s a day that should live forever in history. On that day, in the city of Yiwu in China’s Zhejiang province, 300 kilometers south of Shanghai, the first train carrying 82 containers of export goods weighing more than 1,000 tons left a massive warehouse complex heading for Madrid. It arrived on December 9th. Welcome to the new trans-Eurasia choo-choo train. At over 13,000 kilometers, it will regularly traverse the longest freight train route in the world, 40% farther than the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway. Its cargo will cross China from East to West, then Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland,…

  • The Russian Empire - Is Kazakhstan Next?

    Astana’s language and nationality policies have put Kazakhstan at risk of becoming a second Ukraine in 2015, according to Ilya Namovir, a Russian linguist who edits the “Russians in Kazakhstan” portal. The next twelve months are likely to be critical because, as a result of changes in laws and treaties, ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan will find it easier to move back to the Russian Federation and ethnic Kazakhs to move back to Kazakhstan. Moreover, the opening of a presidential election campaign in Kazakhstan will provoke the kinds of political declarations that will trigger concerns about the future among those ethnic…

  • Jordanian King Warns Of Impending World War III

    When OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, imposed an oil embargo on the West for its support of Israel in the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the French came out with a series of public service announcements on how to save oil. The 30-second ads gave consumers advice on various ways to economize gas and oil consumption. And the announcements would end with a voice saying: “In France we don’t have oil, but we have ideas.” Today, much the same can be said about Jordan. The country is the only one in the region not producing oil. Its neighbors –…

  • The Great South China Sea Hydrocarbon Grab

    In all of the struggles for territory in history, none has been quite as ambitious or unusual as a country trying to steal a whole ocean. But that is what China is actively doing in the ocean south of the mainland: the South China Sea. Bit by bit, it is establishing hegemony over this most important sea where the littoral states -- China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam -- have territorial claims. The importance of the South China Sea is hard to overestimate. Some of the most vital international sea lanes traverse it; it is one…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 21st November 2014

    Politics, Geopolitics and Conflict Under fire from the Islamic State (IS), Baghdad has cut a deal with the Iraqi Kurds, ending a long-running and intensifying dispute over unilateral Kurdish oil exports. This news has not only resulted in a jump in share prices for companies operating in Iraqi Kurdistan, but will also lead to another run on investment in Iraqi Kurd oil plays. Under the agreement between Baghdad and Erbil, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will give 150,000 barrels per day of oil exports to Iraq’s federal budget, and in return Baghdad will release $500 million in budget funds for…

  • Report Finds Gulf States Unstable Despite Resource Wealth

    Sectarian and ethnic tension, religious violence, and terrorism threats appear to be rising trends in the Gulf region according to a new study on the state of security in the Gulf by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The 200-plus page report released last week was prepared by veteran analyst Anthony H. Cordesman from CSIS, a highly respected Washington, DC, think tank. The report notes the alarming rise of politicized Islam in the Arab world. Even in Saudi Arabia, the so-called Islamic State has found many followers in spite of the fact that the self-proclaimed caliphate does not recognize…

  • Has The PRC Decided On Its Global Strategic Posture?

    Planners in the People’s Republic of China rightly see the need for a capable, blue water naval force to support and sustain the PRC’s rise as a global economic and strategic power. What has largely been missing, however, from the PRC’s maritime dialog is a philosophical framework which would contain, or viably enable, such a maritime projection. The PRC sees the necessity to replace or eclipse the United States as the dominant global sea power. However, mainland China’s rise to economic good fortune has depended — and continues to depend — on the concept of a free and open maritime…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 7th November 2014

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict We are closely monitoring oil developments in Somaliland, which threaten to cause instability in northern Somalia. Somaliland’s separatist administration is proposing an Oil Protection Unit (OPU), which could trigger all-out armed confrontation between Puntland and Somaliland over the disputed territory of Sool. A UN monitoring group is calling for the cessation of all commercial activity in the oil sector due to looming threats. The brewing conflict stems from Somaliland’s granting of oil exploration licenses to foreign companies—including Genel Energy, Rakgas, DNO and Ansan Wikfs—which is being challenged by the Somalia Federal Government and Puntland. Somaliland is…

  • Islamic State Looks To Mediterranean To Continue Oil Operations

    There is serious concern that the battle for control of Syria by the group calling itself the Islamic State may soon shift from the mountainous region where the fight for the border town of Kobani continues, as fresh troops from Iraqi Kurdistan known as Peshmergas, arrived via Turkey to assist their fellow Kurds in what is turning out to be one of the most vital battles of this war. The battle of Kobani, while still unresolved, has nevertheless had a desired effect of sorts: to keep units of the IS tied down in a battle of attrition. Which is perhaps…

  • How Safe Are Turkey’s Oil And Gas Pipelines?

    Bashar Assad is a man of his word. In 2011, when the civil war began in Syria, President Assad delivered a promise to the international community and a threat to his neighbors: the violence will spread.Today, Iraq is partially occupied by the Islamic State -- which can trace its beginning to the chaos of war-torn Syria -- Lebanon has been repeatedly hit by Syria-related violence, and border towns and villages along the Turkish-Syrian border have come under attack from various forces fighting in the country. Even Jordan is suffering under the weight of more than a million Syrian refugees who…