follow us like us subscribe contact us
Loading, please wait

Geopolitics

  • The True Legacy of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez

    Venezuela’s President, Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, succumbed to cancer on 5 March. Vice President Nicolás Maduro announced on state television that Chávez died in Caracas at 4:25 p.m. local time, telling journalists that Chávez died "after battling a tough illness for nearly two years.”His deification and demonization has already begun, and one can expect an ungodly scuffle behind the scenes in the coming weeks over the country’s energy reserves, the largest in the Western hemisphere.That Venezuela is richly endowed with petroleum assets is verified by no less an authority than the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which in 2011 stated…

  • Pakistan Thumbs Nose at U.S. on Energy

    Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari may head to Iran next week for the formal launch of the construction of a natural gas pipeline that's been in the works for roughly 20 years. Once dubbed the Peace Pipeline, the project would bring natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in the Persian Gulf to Pakistan. Washington objects to the pipeline in favor of a rival project from Turkmenistan. Asked about the opposition, the Pakistan president said nobody can interfere with the project's development. With elections coming later this year to Pakistan, however, the project may be as much about energy…

  • Reshaping the Syrian Battlefield

    As the war in Syria moves into a third year, there are serious concerns that the violence will spread throughout the Middle East.  No one seems to have the answer how to bring the war to an end, but now the Saudis are going to try.When the appeals for protection from the brutality of the Al-Assad regime came from the tribes in Syria, their kinsmen in the Gulf States could not ignore them.  The blood ties are broad and deep; and the appeals came at the opportune moment for the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia…

  • Turkey’s Dreams of Being Energy Hub Strengthened by PKK Negotiations?

    While the western media remains largely fixated on the existential Iran nuclear threat and the gory slow-motion Syrian civil war, other momentous events are occurring in the world’s most volatile region, with potentially enormous consequences for the west’s addiction to Middle Eastern oil. One of the most brutal Middle East insurgencies, largely overlooked by the Western media, involved Turkey and the Marxist Kurdish separatist Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan (Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK).The Turkish government, led by Islamist Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is apparently considering negotiations with jailed PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan. Ankara’s outreach initiative has enormous energy implications, as…

  • RUSSIA-ISRAEL: New Oil & Gas Geopolitics in the Mediterranean

    Bottom Line: Russia’s announcement this week that a Gazprom subsidiary had signed a deal for Israel’s offshore Tamar gas field will exponentially strengthen Gazprom’s prowess in the massive Asian LNG market. (Israel has yet to approve the deal, but it will—it’s needs the money for infrastructure and it needs the deal for a new geopolitical landscape). Analysis: What Russia has right now is a single LNG plant in its Far East (Sakhalin-2), supplying LNG to South Korea and India (though it plans to build another plant in Vladivostok). With the Israel deal, it will gain direct export access to Japan,…

  • CAMEROON: Mali-Inspired Kidnapping Wave Begins

    Bottom Line: The kidnapping of seven French nationals in Cameroon, near the border with Nigeria, is only the start of what will be a wave of kidnappings across the region—and the catalyst is the French intervention in Mali. Analysis: On 19 February, seven French citizens—including four children aged 5,8,10 and 12—were kidnapped outside the Waza National Park in northern Cameroon by Nigerian-based Boko Haram Islamist radicals who are offering up their release in exchange for the release of militants being held in Nigeria and Cameroon. On a video released by the kidnappers, alleged Boko Haram representatives also note that their…

  • COLOMBIA: Oil Production Up, but FARC Still Targeting Infrastructure

    Bottom Line: Colombia’s oil production is up to an average of 1.01 billion barrels per day as of January 2013—the first time it’s surpassed the targeted 1 billion barrel mark. For 2012, crude output was at about 940,000. This represents a sizeable gain that is in part due to the gradual effects of more market-friendly terms for producers and in part due to gains in weakening rebel groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). While FARC has been weakened, it still poses an major problem and guerilla-style retaliation has the group targeting oil infrastructure and Colombian security installations…

  • MALI: As Predicted, French Buried in Mali Long Term

    Bottom Line: The Islamic insurgents (from three different groups) have demonstrated that they are capable of holding back French and Malian forces in Mali’s north. When the French gain ground, it’s only temporary, and the Islamists fight back with full force and terrorist tactics. Analysis: The past two weeks have seen a suicide car bombing kill six Malian government allies in the city of Kidal and an attack on Gao (the northern capital). The target in Kidal was a checkpoint manned by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a secular Tuareg group that is at odds with…

  • Be Careful: Russia is Back to Stay in the Middle East

    Russia is back.  President Vladimir Putin wants the world to acknowledge that Russia remains a global power.  He is making his stand in Syria.The Soviet Union acquired the Tardus Naval Port in Syria in 1971 without any real purpose for it.  With their ships welcomed in Algeria, Cuba or Vietnam, Tardus was too insignificant to be developed.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia lacked the funds to spend on the base and no reason to invest in it.The Russian return to the Middle East brought them first to where the Soviet Union had had its closest ties.  Libya…

  • TURKEY-ISRAEL: Gas Pipeline Rumors Are Geopolitically Tectonic

    Bottom Line: Israel and Turkey are flirting with the idea of building a gas pipeline from Israel’s Leviathan Basin directly to Turkey to supply European markets. For gas-starved Turkey, this is a geopolitical quagmire that involves Israel, Iran, Syria, Qatar, and Cyprus. Turkey is keeping silent on the deal, but our intelligence sources say it is seriously being considered, despite media reports to the contrary.  Analysis: In early February, Israel proposed the construction of a pipeline under the Mediterranean Sea to southern Turkey to market its gas to Western Europe. Turkish officials have conceded that the Israeli proposal has been…